Our Team

Katherine Fumai
Katherine Fumai
Office Administrator

kfumai@riverheadfoundation.org

 

    • Katherine joined our team in June of 2017. She is responsible for managing the day to day operations and administration for the Foundation. Katherine is passionate about animals and conservation efforts.  She started her career at an environmental not-for-profit organization and after obtaining her Master’s in Public Administration, she worked in management positions in a couple of for profit organizations. Katherine is now happy to be back in the not-for-profit world and be a part of an organization that is helping support the community and environment.
Pedro S. Baranda
Pedro S. Baranda
Rescue Program Director

pbaranda@riverheadfoundation.org

 

  • Pedro is a Marine Biologist who has worked in 12 different countries with marine animals as a researcher, rescuer, rehabilitator, and even as a marine mammal trainer. He has founded two stranding networks: one in Mexico and other in the Bahamas. His conservation efforts have led to the total ban of sea turtle hunting and shark sport fishing in Bahamian waters. From below-zero temperatures in Icelandic fjords to misty sand beaches in Ireland, rocky shores in British Columbia or scorching tropical beaches in the Caribbean, he has always followed his passion for marine life. When he is not looking after his animals, on board a vessel, or training new interns, staff and volunteers, you can find him scuba diving, strolling along a beach looking for animals, hiking in the forest, or at his studio painting, drawing or carving wood.
Maxine Montello
Maxine Montello
Rescue Program Supervisor

mmontello@riverheadfoundation.org

 

    • Maxine joined our rescue team in March of 2017. She comes to us with a unique background in both wild and captive animal experience. Maxine has her Masters in Environmental Science/Wildlife Ecology from Pace University. Her passion has always involved the conservation and preservation of marine ecosystem and species. Over the years, she has been involved in various research projects that promote the health and future of the Long Island Sound. Since 2010, Maxine has been a Co-Principal Investigator working with a field team in the Caribbean. Her studies have focused on the ecology and distribution of nesting sea turtles on the island of Barbuda. The team has also been involved in numerous projects which include; reef surveys, biodiversity of local flora and fauna and water quality of the lagoon. When Maxine is not in the field you may find her in the classroom teaching Animal Behavior and Conservation Biology courses to college undergraduates. In her spare time, she enjoys being outside and exploring new areas. She is also a proud “mom” of two bearded dragons!
Ellen Davignon
Ellen Davignon
Stranding Technician

edavignon@riverheadfoundation.org

 

    • Ellen graduated from the University of New England in 2013 with a BS in Animal Behavior. While going to classes she worked at the University of New England’s Marine Animal Rehabilitation Center for four years until graduation where she started volunteering at Buttonwood Park Zoo and the National Marine Life Center. In the spring of 2015 Ellen spent two weeks in Laguna Beach, California working at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center helping with the California Sea Lions and Elephant Seals. Afterwards Ellen started interning at the Alaska SeaLife Center in the Husbandry Department. She worked primarily in Mammals and Avian. After her time in Alaska Ellen moved back and started working at the New Bedford Veterinary Hospital as a veterinary technician. While working at the veterinary hospital Ellen was then offered a temporary job at the Alaska SeaLife Center working in the Wildlife Response program as a Animal Care Specialist working primarily with Northern Sea Otters, Steller Sea Lions and Harbor Seals. After completing that position Ellen has now become a part of the Riverhead Foundation team.
Kristina Hansen
Kristina Hansen
Stranding Technician

khansen@riverheadfoundation.org

 

    • Kristina is a Long Island native with a passion for the conservation of marine animals and the environment they live in. She started as a volunteer with RFMRP in 2006. After graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marine Vertebrate Biology from SUNY Stony Brook, Kristina became a stranding technician with the foundation in August 2013. During this time she has been fortunate to work with two cetacean species, plus a dependent seal pup and several non-releasable animals. She loves being able to give sick and injured animals a second chance at life. When Kristina is not responding to stranded animals; she spends her free time at the beach, kayaking, horseback riding, and country line dancing.
Daphne Shen
Daphne Shen
Stranding Technician

dshen@riverheadfoundation.org

 

    • Daphne grew up loving marine life and has always been fascinated with learning about the animals that live in the ocean. She attended Cornell University and received her BS in Biological Sciences with a concentration in Marine Biology in 2015. Daphne started as a volunteer with the Riverhead Foundation and then joined the team as a stranding technician in August 2016. She loves seeing rehabilitated marine mammals and sea turtles return home to the ocean, but has also been fortunate enough to work with several non-releasable animals at our facility. While volunteering at the Foundation, Daphne also worked as a wildlife management intern at Fire Island National Seashore, where she monitored threatened and endangered species (such as the piping plover). Although marine animals have always been her main interest, her experiences working with various species have led to a general passion for wildlife conservation. In her free time, she enjoys reading, crocheting, and exploring the outdoors.

 

Alyssa Kelley
Alyssa Kelley
Administrative Assistant

akelley@riverheadfoundation.org

 

    • Alyssa has been a wildlife enthusiast all her life and enjoys nothing more than to learn about every creature that crosses her path. Her passion is the study of animal behavior and the Riverhead Foundation has proven to be a wonderful opportunity to observe animals during the rehabilitation process. Previous subjects of study during her time in graduate school include greater flamingos & Eurasian oystercatchers, though her ultimate goal is to study killer whales. Some of the best experiences Alyssa has had working with the Foundation so far include attending seal & sea turtle releases, participating in Behind-the-Scenes tours, and hearing stories from the public about how marine life has touched their lives in some way. In her free time, you’ll find her at the dog park with her family and pack of three pups or burying herself in her favorite books and movies.
Nicole Valenti
Nicole Valenti
Education & Volunteer Coordinator

education@riverheadfoundation.org

    • Nicole graduated from Stony Brook University with her BS in Marine Vertebrate Biology. Growing up on Long Island, and always being on the water, inspired her love for the ocean and all of the marine life within it. She became a volunteer for the Riverhead Foundation in 2013 after taking classes at Stony Brook University led by Riverhead Foundation staff. While volunteering on our Rescue Team, Nicole was working as an animal care technician for Weill Cornell Medical College in Manhattan. Nicole joined us as staff in April of 2016. She enjoys educating volunteers and the community about the marine life that we see in NY waters, the challenges they face, and how we can help. When she’s out of the office you can find her on the beach, buried in a good book, or scuba diving.