Our Mission

Through rehabilitation, education, and research programs, Freedom Center for Wildlife, Inc. strives to increase public knowledge and appreciation towards the conservation, protection and preservation of native New Jersey habitats and animals.

Board of Directors

Ruth Brooks is the Founder and President of FCW. She has over 25 years of wildlife experience, and she is a licensed wildlife rehabilitator and registered veterinary technician. Prior to opening FCW in 2006, Ruth managed the clinic hospital for a large wildlife refuge, honing her skills and gaining experience in all aspects of running a busy center. She made the decision to open her own facility, knowing that southern New Jersey has very few licensed wildlife rehabilitators. FCW is able to provide services to the public and the wildlife of this area.

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Dmitry Cherkassky, PhD. is the Secretary of FCW, and obtained his Ph.D. in Computer and Information Science from the University of Pennsylvania in 2001. His expertise is in statistical decision theory. He has been involved in wildlife rehabilitation since 2001. In the past, he participated in various citizen science projects, including shorebird surveys to help track the migration of birds along the Atlantic Flyway. Currently, he is a member of the Green Team for Sustainable Voorhees.

Katie “Froggie” Czekaj is the Treasurer of FCW. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in Psychology from Rutgers University and an Associate’s degree in Biology from Rowan College at Burlington County. She is currently pursuing a career in veterinary medicine. A former 911 police dispatcher and veterinary receptionist with a menagerie of rescued pets at home, she thrives on serving both the people and animals in her community.

Susan Reel-Panish is a registered architect with undergraduate and graduate degrees from Washington University in St. Louis. She has over twenty years of architectural experience including custom residential, school, hospital, and nursing home design. She has practiced architecture in New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Susan spent a year on staff at the Philadelphia nonprofit: Foundation for Architecture. While there, she worked in the nationally acclaimed “Architecture in Education” program, and on FFA’s annual fundraiser Beaux Arts Ball. Susan came to Freedom Center for Wildlife by way of an injured baby bunny in her backyard.

Susan J. Tyson, VMD, MS grew up in Pennsauken, NJ and has advocated and cared for wildlife since she was young, bringing injured wildlife to the vet and local rehabilitators. Dr. Tyson is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, she also spent time at LSU in their Bird, Zoo and Exotic Mammal Hospital. Following veterinary school, she completed a focused exotic animal internship at the University of Pennsylvania’s Exotic Companion Animal Medicine and Surgery Service. She has done work with Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research and is the veterinarian for Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. Dr. Tyson is the veterinarian and owner of Avian & Exotic Medical Surgical Center in Philadelphia. She enjoys providing medical care to our rescues and education animals.

Francis Osenbach, Emeritus, is a founding Board Member and comes to us with over 50 years of engineering experience and business management. He has already provided FCW with capital necessary to begin our organization, and has assisted in the construction of several animal enclosures.