Sea Turtle Hospital Staff

Catherine Eastman Sea Turtle Hospital Program Coordinator

Catherine Eastman

Sea Turtle Hospital Program Coordinator
904-461-4028 | cbeastman@whitney.ufl.edu
Catherine Eastman (Cat) has been working with sea turtles in Florida since 1998. Growing up on the Atlantic Coast (in almost every state), Cat has always had a love for the ocean and its inhabitants. She started her career with sea turtles while studying at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. There, she joined the sea turtle conservation program at Gumbo Limbo Environmental Complex as a marine turtle specialist. She transferred to University of North Florida to finish her degree and accept an Environmental Educator position at the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve. She taught environmental education to K-12 school kids and led beach and upland nature hikes to adults and undergraduates. During that time, she and her husband incorporated a conservation non-profit to help support sea turtle nesting beach work and research. When Cat is not working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and son (and golden retriever) at the beach and running.

 

Brooke Burkhalter, DVM Sea Turtle Hospital

Brooke Burkhalter, DVM

Sea Turtle Hospital Veterinarian
904-461-4025 | bmburkhalter@whitney.ufl.edu
Dr. Brooke Burkhalter graduated from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine in 2002. She is a senior veterinarian at St. John’s Veterinary Hospital, caring for beloved furry family members and injured wildlife from our community. Brooke has a lifelong love and admiration for all marine life, but a very special passion for sea turtles. She became inspired to become an advocate for sea turtles while on a trip to Hawaii. Under the mentorship of Dr. Terry Norton, Brooke has been volunteering at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center in Jekyll Island, Georgia, assisting in the treatment of sick and injured sea turtles. She is also a volunteer member of the Vilano Beach Sea Turtle Patrol, helping to protect nests and hatchlings along our beaches. Brooke is very excited to join the team at the Sea Turtle Hospital at Whitney Lab as the lead veterinarian. There is a tremendous need within our community to provide medical treatment and rehabilitation for turtles that strand in our region, as well as education about these majestic creatures. Brooke is married with a young daughter, two dogs, two cats, two gerbils and several aquariums. She often has a variety of orphaned wildlife babies being rehabilitated. Brooke enjoys running, kayaking, fishing, snorkeling and everything Disney.

Rachel Thomas, Veterinary Care Manager Sea Turtle Hospital

Rachel Thomas

Sea Turtle Hospital Veterinary Care Manager
904-461-4025 | rsthomas@whitney.ufl.edu
Originally from central Pennsylvania, Rachel Thomas obtained her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. While still in school, she completed an internship with the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center on Topsail Island, North Carolina. It was there she realized her passion for marine animal conservation and rehabilitation. After graduating from college, she was a husbandry intern at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center (GSTC) on Jekyll Island, Georgia, for eight months before being hired on full time. Rachel worked as a Rehabilitation Technician at the GSTC for six years, gaining skills and knowledge relating to chelonian husbandry and rehabilitation. She is excited to be on the ground floor with a new facility and is already to help the Sea Turtle Hospital at Whitney Lab become a top notch rehabilitation, research and education facility.

 

Steven Nelson, CVT Sea Turtle Hospital

Steven Nelson

Sea Turtle Hospital Certified Veterinary Technician
904-461-4025 | nelsonjr@whitney.ufl.edu
Steven Nelson is a member of the Sea Turtle Hospital team on a part-time basis. He provides coverage as a consult/relief Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT). Licensed nationally and in the state of Florida, Steven earned his baccalaureate degree from Saint Petersburg College. Steven has a diverse background in wildlife and zoological medicine and rehabilitation and a strong passion for reptiles (particularly turtles). He currently works full time as a vet tech at Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Prior to Disney, Steven was employed by the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, on Jekyll Island, Georgia, and Mystic Aquarium/Sea Research Foundation, in Mystic, Connecticut. Steven enjoys spending his “free time” (when not rescuing sea turtles and other wildlife) spoiling his golden retriever, Ryder; and two cats, Sully and Birch. He also enjoys traveling; particularly to Vermont to visit family, ski, hike and kayak.

 

Devon Rollinson

Sea Turtle Hospital Veterinary Technician
904-461-4025 | devonrenee@whitney.ufl.edu
Devon Rollinson is a Connecticut native but has lived in St. Augustine since 2010. After receiving a degree in Wildlife Care and Biology, she worked at several animal hospitals, marine parks, wildlife rehab facilities and animal rescue organizations throughout New England and Hawaii, which lead her to realize that veterinary medicine was her calling. After moving to Florida, Devon began her career as a veterinary technician. She has a keen interest in and extensive experience with marine life. A self-described “Turtle Nerd,” Devon enjoys being a member of the turtle patrol and has worked with members from a local animal hospital to help injured and ill wildlife. In addition to veterinary medicine, Devon is devoted to conservation and looks for new ways to inspire young children to feel the same.

 

Ann Osborne

Ann Osborne, DVM

Sea Turtle Hospital Relief Veterinarian 
904-461-4025
Dr. Ann Osborne graduated from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine in 2008 and currently practices small animal medicine at Moses Creek Animal Hospital in St. Augustine. Her passion for conservation and marine life began as a child growing up in Brevard County, one of the busiest sea turtle nesting beaches in the country. She majored in wildlife conservation and ecology as an undergraduate at UF and developed a deep interest for scientific and clinical research. During veterinary school, her favorite patients were three loggerhead sea turtles she worked with while on her zoology clinical rotation. Ann enhanced her veterinary education with supplemental courses in marine mammal and reptile medicine, which fueled her motivation to work with marine life and pursue a research project studying sea turtle plasma protein levels. This work, published in the Journal of American Veterinary Medicine, remains the clinical standard for sea turtle blood protein reference ranges. Ann is excited and honored to be a part of the Sea Turtle Hospital team, helping to improve the health and rehabilitate sea turtles as well as gaining a better understanding of disease processes, including fibropapillomas in sea turtles through research. Ann lives in St. Augustine with her husband, two young daughters and two dogs.

DSC00864

Sea Turtle Hospital Founding Trustee Committee

 

  • Nancy Condron
  • Marcella Matthaei
  • Martha Dobes
  • Craig Barszo
  • Linda Myers
  • John Perkner
  • Maximillian Polyak, DVM, Mphil