Board of Directors

American Friends of Durrell (AFD) is run by a small Board of Directors, all of whom are US citizens and who work for AFD on a pro bono basis.

 
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+ Lee Durrell

Lee Durrell, as widow of Gerald Durrell, brings a particular standing and expertise to AFD. She received a Ph.D. in Zoology from Duke University in 1979 and worked alongside her late husband in the field of species conservation, popularizing it through books, radio and television. Lee assumed the mantle of Honorary Director of Durrell from Gerald, an ambassadorial, unremunerated position, which allows her great familiarity and insight into the operations of Durrell. She serves as a Director of AFD and acts as its President. In line with AFD's conflict of interest policy, Lee has agreed not to vote on any matter involving a conflict of interest between her duties as President and Director of AFD and her honorary position with Durrell. Please click here to see an article about Lee in Memphis Magazine by Anne Cunningham O'Neill, July 2013.

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+ Gwyn R. Fisher

Gwyn R. Fisher is the Greater Memphis Regional Director of Economic and Community Development for the State of Tennessee, where she focuses on helping make Tennessee the #1 state in the Southeast for high quality jobs. She is the former Executive Director of MPACT Memphis, a nationally and internationally recognized organization dedicated to engaging and supporting Memphis’ diverse young professionals. Gwyn is an attorney by training, and has published in several legal journals. She serves on the Board of Directors for River City Capital and is a founding member of GiVE365, an endowed fund providing member-driven grants. Gwyn is a graduate of the Delta Leadership Institute, CompleteTennessee Leadership Institute, Commissioner’s Leadership Academy, and Leadership Memphis. She serves as a Director of AFD.
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+ Harriet McGeorge

Harriet McGeorge is a registered landscape architect with more than four decades of practical experience, operating her own design firm (McGeorge and Associates) since 1989. She graduated from L.S.U. in 1978 with a B.A. in Landscape Architecture. Harriet has participated in numerous studies on zoological park design, including gorilla habitats in association with the Dallas Zoo. She has maintained a keen interest in Durrell for many years and is familiar with its conservation projects. Harriet serves as a Director of AFD and acts as its Secretary.
 
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+ Wendy Shea

Wendy Shea, a graduate of Vanderbilt University and the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, is a retired attorney with extensive experience in healthcare and general corporate law. She previously served as Vice President General Counsel for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, a world-renowned pediatric cancer research and treatment center in Memphis, Tennessee. She also has non-profit business management experience as the former Executive Director of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Memphis and Shelby County, Inc. She continues to be actively engaged on a volunteer basis with various community organizations focusing on the needs of abused and neglected children in the child welfare system. Wendy serves on the Board of Directors of AFD.
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+ Milner Stanton

Milner Stanton was an investment banker/analyst in the Fixed Income Banking Division of Morgan Keegan & Company, Inc. for 19 years before retiring at the end of 2006. Morgan Keegan (now Raymond James) is a full-service brokerage and investment banking firm and one of the largest such firms off Wall Street in the nation. Milner was responsible for the structuring and execution of bond issues for numerous state and local jurisdictions and their agencies as well as for hospitals, educational institutions and both large and small corporations. She graduated from Vanderbilt University with a B.A. in Economics and from the University of Kentucky with an M.B.A., concentrating in Finance. She serves as a Director of AFD and acts as its Vice President and Treasurer.
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+ Pauline Clayton LeBlond

Pauline LeBlond, was born in Zimbabwe and immigrated with her family to South Africa in 1987. In 2003, Pauline graduated from Brenau University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. She wanted to explore more in the world of veterinary science and completed an Associate’s degree as a Certified Veterinary Technician from Bel-Rea Institute of Veterinary Technology in 2005. Once catching the bug of veterinary medicine, she craved more and proceeded to complete a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from St. George’s University in 2012 with completion of her clinical year at LSU. She is currently a lead Veterinarian at Memphis Animal Clinic with Southern Veterinary Partners. In her spare time, Pauline is a docent at Memphis Zoo; whereby she reaches out to the community to aid in the mission of preservation of wildlife and conservation through educational programs organized by the Memphis Zoo. Pauline serves on the Board of Directors for American Friends of Durrell.
 

Durrell’s Royal Patron

 
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Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal is the Patron of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. Admiring her spirit, Gerald Durrell approached the young Princess Anne to invite her to become the Trust's Patron in 1972. She agreed to take on the role, with one condition - that the Trust make the role a demanding one! She has worked tirelessly on behalf of Durrell's mission to save species from extinction, visiting the headquarters in Jersey every few years. She has also visited Durrell's Field Programs in Mauritius, Brazil and Madagascar, and met many graduates of Durrell Conservation Academy in their home countries to discuss their work.

 

Durrell’s Ambassadors

 
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+ Henry Cavill

Henry Cavill, now known to the world as 'Superman', became Durrell's Ambassador in 2014. He was born in Jersey and as a child spent many happy hours at Durrell Wildlife Park. On becoming Ambassador, Henry said, "I'm enormously proud to be part of a team that makes such a huge positive impact on the world. Durrell is an organization with a mission I can really get behind. I feel that saving the diversity of life on our planet will be seen as increasingly important in the not-too-distant future. I genuinely believe that Durrell provides hope for those endangered animals that others may have given up on already. It 'does the seemingly impossible'; I would be truly humbled if I help to make that possible."
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+ Milo Parker

Milo Parker plays the young Gerald Durrell in the television series The Durrells, demonstrating a keen interest in animals both on and off the set. He agreed to become Durrell's Ambassador in 2015, saying "It's a massive honour for me to join the Durrell family as their new Ambassador. Their conservation work around the world is extraordinary and I look forward to supporting them in this vital work. I have visited the Wildlife Park headquarters in Jersey and was amazed at the commitment of the staff and the breadth of the operation behind the scenes. I'm truly humbled to have the opportunity to contribute in my small way."
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+ Monty Halls

Conservationist, explorer and TV presenter, Monty Halls was inspired by Gerald Durrell, who, he says, “set me on my way as a young naturalist, with his books creating the spark that ignited my career in conservation. To be asked to be an Ambassador for Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust is a huge honour.” Monty presented a television series in the UK called ‘My Family and the Galápagos’ in which he looks at the magical Galápagos Islands through the eyes of his young children. Monty is President of the Galápagos Conservation Trust, one of Durrell’s main partners.
 

Durrell’s Heroes

 
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Carl Jones is Durrell's Chief Conservation Scientist and Scientific Director of the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation. Carl has committed his life to developing the pioneering techniques by which he has saved more critically endangered species from extinction than anyone else. These include the kestrel, pink pigeon and echo parakeet from Mauritius, the warbler and fruit bat from Rodrigues, Telfair's skink and Gunther's gecko from Round Island near Mauritius and a host of others. 

Carl's innovative work continues to this day, especially in the restoration of island ecosystems, the example of Round Island regarded as a groundbreaking model. His platform expanded enormously when he was recognized as the winner of the 2016 Indianapolis Prize, the Nobel Prize for animal conservation. See www.indianapolisprize.com

 

Disney Conservation Heroes

 

Three members of Durrell’s Field Program have each won the Disney Conservation Hero Award for their remarkable efforts to save endangered species: Juliette Velosoa of Madagascar for her field work on the Madagascar big-headed turtle, Ernest Bekarany, also of Madagascar, for his successes in breeding the ploughshare tortoise, and Parag Deka of India for what he has done to save the pygmy hog.

 
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