Staff Bios

Staff Bios



Linda Elliott

President and Center Director 

Linda holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Biology, with over fifteen years as a Wildlife Rehabilitator, Certified Oiled Wildlife Responder, and International Wildlife Responder. She has earned 40-hour Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) certification, and has accumulated over two decades of experience as an educator, supervisor and emergency response manager.  Linda has been and continues to be a leading member of an international wildlife emergency response team participating in eighteen international rescue operations to date and is also the only oiled-wildlife rehabilitation manager in the State of Hawai‘i.  Linda works on wildlife recovery and conservation projects in partnerships with Hawai‘i government agencies and nonprofits and has participated in a half-dozen Hawai‘i wildlife conservation projects in 2010 that included teaching wildlife response courses to the Wildlife Agencies throughout Hawai‘i, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Learn more about Linda

Rae Okawa

Development Coordinator

Rae holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences from Cornell University and a Masters of Environmental Studies degree from the University of Pennsylvania.  She is also a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Aloha Chapter. Rae was born and raised on Oahu where she developed a passion for native birds early on.  During her school years, she was especially inspired by her work with the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology and the Nature Conservancy of Hawai‘i.  She is a self-proclaimed “bird nerd” and is extremely happy to be back home in Hawai‘i.

DSC_4012Danette Colovos

Administrative Manager

Danette was born and raised in Central Oregon. She has an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science from Central Oregon Community College. She has over 20 years of banking and office experience. Danette decided she was ready for a change of scenery and weather, and moved to beautiful Hawai‘i, where she has fallen in love with all of the native wildlife. She is very excited to be a part of the Hawaii Wildlife Center’s team.


Samantha Christie

Wildlife Rehabilitation Managersc

Sam’s fascination with wildlife began as child, watching Animal Planet and exploring the outdoors of suburban New Jersey whenever possible. Her interest led her to the University of Delaware where she received her bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Conservation. She first began rehabilitating wildlife in 2009 at Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research, Inc. in Delaware. During her 6 years at Tri-State, Sam found her passion to be in the recovery of animals that have been negatively impacted by human activity. She worked in the Wild Bird Clinic, learning the techniques and skills of wildlife rehabilitation for over 80 species of native birds. Most recently she was the Senior Coordinator of Tri-State’s Oil Spill Response Team, responding to dozens of oiled wildlife incidents in the U.S., training wildlife responders around the country, and working with industry and natural resource agencies to enhance oiled wildlife preparedness. Her desire to work with imperiled species has brought her to the Hawaii Wildlife Center where you can find her treating Hawaii’s injured native wildlife and working to promote environmental stewardship on the islands.

awbioAlexis Wessels

Wildlife Technician

Alexis was born and raised in New Hampshire where she has fostered an admiration for wildlife from a young age. Her passion brought her to the University of Maine where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology. During the summer of her freshman year, Alexis volunteered in South Africa at a cheetah reserve, gaining hands on experience with an array of African wildlife.  After college, Alexis began her rehabilitation experience at the Center for Wildlife in Maine as an intern. Here, she acquired the fundamental skills of caring for 190 species of injured and orphaned New England birds, reptiles, and mammals. Alexis then moved to Sanibel, Florida to intern at the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife. During her time at C.R.O.W., she dove deeper into wildlife care learning invaluable skills of diagnostics, wound management, and treatment plans. Most recently, Alexis returned to Maine and the Center for Wildlife where she was hired as a medical clinic apprentice. During this time, she really learned all the ins and outs of the clinic from responding to the Wildlife Hotline to training incoming interns, all the while caring for the 1,700 patients admitted annually. Alexis is excited to begin her new adventure here in Hawaii and to be a part of HWC’s team.