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The residents of the Primate Rescue Center are looked after for by an experienced team of boardmembers, a knowledgeable staff and a dedicated team of volunteers and interns.
Meet the people who make miracles possible - all day, every day, 365 days a year!
The five individuals who comprise the Primate Rescue Center's Board bring with them decades of experience with animal handling, business, finance, and ethics. Most importantly, each board member believes strongly in the PRC's mission and helps strengthen the organization as a whole.
April's involvement with primates began in 1987, while she was Executive Director of SAVTA - the Safe & Vault Technician's Association. Her future husband, Clay Miller, brought home a young macaque named Gizmo, and the rest is history! Born in New York City, April never imagined a career with animals, nor a future in Kentucky, but after 30+ years in the Bluegrass region, and nearly the same amount of time working with primates, she says "I wouldn't trade this life for anything!" April is proud to also be a founding member of the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance. She looks forward to the day when keeping primates as pets is unthinkable, and primate sanctuaries are no longer needed.
Clay's fondness for animals was evident from an early age. Nearly every childhood photo features an animal (or three), and his schoolmates best remember him as the kid who brought his pet rat "Sniffles" to school in his shirt pocket. He went on to a successful career in the family's safe lock business, but his Nicholasville farm was home to a variety of species - many of whom had the good fortune to wander in. Of his decision to purchase young macaque Gizmo those many years ago, he says "It was a foolish mistake, but look at all the good that's come from it." When he's not building primate enclosures, he enjoys time with his children, grandchildren, and a collection of early Ford automobiles.
Lynn has been involved with the PRC for so long that she’s not even sure when it all started! Her whole life seems to have been dedicated to caring for animals. She was raised on a dairy farm and attended Eastern Kentucky University before she started rescuing farm animals. Lynn has spent the last three decades as a Horse Identifier for Sales at Keeneland Association, where she also runs the Ship-In and Receiving Barn for races. Lynn shares, “I really enjoy the PRC and what a good job April has done with it.” Originally from Lincoln County, she currently lives in our town of Nicholasville on a 51-acre farm.
Jack, a board member since the early 2000’s, first had experience with primates due to his career involvement with research on animal cognition. This led to his corresponding ethical and environmental concerns about how primates should be treated. "Primates are sentient, intelligent, social creatures,” Jack explains, “and the PRC gives them respect, dignity, and a safe and interesting environment to live in." He lives in Lexington, Kentucky, where he teaches philosophy at Transylvania University.
Lisa’s ties to the PRC stem from her years working alongside our co-founder Clay Miller at Lockmasters Technologies Inc., where she is Chief Financial Officer. She joined the PRC board in 2010. “I've lived on a farm my entire life.” Lisa says, “It's so great to be involved with a place that gives animals a safe haven to enjoy a natural environment after being deprived of it for various reasons.” A native of Kentucky, Lisa earned her BA in Accounting from Eastern Kentucky University and lives nearby in Stanford.
The Primate Rescue Center staff truly makes us shine. From the grounds crew to the caregivers, our team works day in and day out to ensure that sanctuary residents are happy, comfortable and well cared for. With backgrounds in psychology, biology, education, animal studies, agriculture, and more, our staff's talents provide a perfect mixture of expertise and passion to help primates.
Sanctuary Manager Eileen Dunnington joined the PRC staff in January 2004 upon the completion of her fall internship here. A native of nearby Lexington, Eileen graduated magna cum laude from the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Her introduction to the center’s chimpanzees and monkeys cemented her lifelong interest in working with animals.
Melanie Parker, a Primate Caregiver and the PRC's Volunteer Coordinator, grew up caring for horses, cows, and goats on a farm in Lewisport, KY. She has been a member of the PRC staff since June 2006. Melanie graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a minor in Chemistry, and she previously worked in the Education Department at the Louisville Zoo.
Matt Howard, who joined the PRC's Maintenance and Grounds Keeping department in September 2010, graduated with a degree in Agricultural Economics, magna cum laude, from the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture. Matt grew up surrounded by animals on a farm in rural western Kentucky.
Laura Clifford has had a life long interest in primates, which lead her to complete an internship at the PRC in the summer of 2011. In August of 2013, Laura made the move from Texas to Kentucky to join the PRC Staff as a Primate Caregiver and the sanctuary's Instagram Coordinator. She graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.
Becca Banks has been interested in animals since childhood. Her passion for the natural world was cemented by her time spent at Eastern Kentucky University as an Animal Studies major. Born and raised in Nicholasville, she grew up just ten minutes away from our center. Her time with us started in June 2015, when she completed a summer internship. Six months later, she was hired on as a Primate Caretaker. Her favorite part of the job is tending to all of the incredible beings that call the PRC home.
Erika Fleury started at the PRC as an intern in 2006 and later returned in 2013 to assist the organization from a distance, as a freelance associate from her home in Los Angeles. Erika graduated from University of Delaware with a major in English and a minor in Philosophy. In 2013 she published her book, Monkey Business: A History of Nonhuman Primate Rights, with the PRC’s late macaque Boo featured on its cover. Erika is also the Program Manager of the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance.
The Primate Rescue Center is lucky to have a web of loyal volunteers, interns, and off-site participants across the country who assist with everything from daily tasks to special events. The veteran volunteers pictured on this page have been with the PRC for at least one year, but most have been with us for many more!