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Danni Townsend O'Neil - Co-Founder

Director/Operations Manager

Wildlife Rescuer & Carer

Once in a while a 'new timer' peeks its head around the corner, one that leads us down the lens of curiosity, and all for the better! Welcome to creative mind and wildlife carer, Danni Townsend O'Neil; a women who's artistic quirks and passion for her beloved animals is nothing short of contagious and captivating.

While Danni's multi-faceted nature stems from her success as a photographer, creative director, founder and head designer of multiple fashion houses, she is now officially chuffed to be fulfilling her long-life passion as a full-time wildlife carer in Myrtleford Vic.

Confident yet quietly petrified of anything less than loving, Danni is a master observer of human nature and animals, a women who is a permanent fixture within the wildlife collective and the long-term vision of ROWA.


Emili Rackemann - Co-Founder

Co - Founder

Emili's love for her rural upbringing and connection to animals has never failed in providing her with an inquisitive mind. Born and raised on a remote cattle station in Central Queensland, it's fair to say Emili has come full circle, retiring from the stock saddle into the gentle side of life, in what she defines as a colourful realisation. With a deep passion for animals accompanied with her successful music career as a classical pianist and composer, Emili believes the power of sound is a vital component towards guiding humanity into a more harmonious and joyous collective, enabling one to share a more compassionate view of our connection to animals and nature. While her life-map stood as a unique contribution within the wildlife collective, her previous experience in small business, education and event management played a vital role towards the establishment of ROWA, in turn gifting a strong foundation for the organisation to continue evolving in the hands of ROWA's dedicated team. 

While Emili is now devoting her time to her music career, her love of community, wildlife and ROWA will continue.


Dr. Jennifer Ford


Community Engagement & Education Manager

Jennifer is a zoologist with extensive experience spanning animal welfare, conservation, policy, research and education. Her passion for animals has led to a diverse and interesting career. Her PhD research investigated animal welfare in zoos and visitor education. After came roles in both national and international NGOs including:

World Animal Protection Asia-Pacific, RSPCA Victoria and World Wide Fund for Nature – Australia. Education and training has also thread through much of her career, with over 10 years in universities, and other education institutions. Jennifer is also an experienced speaker, and loves nothing more than sharing her stories and passion for animals, including orangutans.  Jennifer, like many, has been drawn to the Alpine region, and spends as much time as she can at her home near Bright.


Chris Lehmann


Chairperson/Wildlife Advisor

Chris grew up on a traditional milk & beef farm in the Murray Valley of Victoria. Living in the bush and being close to animals has strongly influenced his path in life. Thus began a holistic approach to environmentalism coming from the base of the right of all living beings to be free of cruelty or domination by humans.

After a successful IT career, Chris made the move to follow his passion. This decision led to a successful role in wildlife rescue and rehabilitation across North East Victoria. He met Glenda Elliott (who started Kangaloola Wildlife Shelter at Yackandandah) and became part of the small team caring for hundreds of animals. He has now worked at the Shelter and been a wildlife rescuer for over 15 years. Chris is also involved in advocacy aimed at solving the big problems, whilst staying grounded in the daily needs of animals Chris Lehmann that require care.


Nikki Stringer

Accounts Officer

With a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Graduate Diploma in Science (Environmental Management), Nikki's passion for both worlds offers ROWA unique strengths. Although an experienced sailor and skier at heart, drawing birds and insects equally led Nikki from working in habitat restoration around Melbourne to residing in the beautiful community of Harrietville. Although Nikki's love for fine art and extreme sports leaves her content, her on par experience in Environmental Management continues to fuel her deep love of nature and Australian wildlife.


Zoe Birnie

Business and Grants Officer

Hi, my name is Zoe and I grew up in the Dandenong Ranges in Victoria and was an animal person and outdoor enthusiast from a young age. My love of animals drove me to study Zoology, where I developed a keen interest in Australian mammals. I currently work in the not for profit sector at an environmental organisation where I am very lucky to combine my Zoology knowledge with sustainability principles to deliver projects with environmental and social benefits.

I recently moved to Myrtleford with my partner and our two dogs, Remi and Winston and I am so grateful to have found ROWA and to work with such an inspiring and compassionate group of people to help support our native wildlife. My role at ROWA includes providing care at the nursery and grant writing and reporting. For all grant enquiries, please email

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