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Our Team

Our team has over 80 years of combined raptor rehabilitation experience and holds rehabilitation permits from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the US Fish & Wildlife Service.


We are also permitted to possess non-releasable raptors for use in educational programs. 


James Manley 

Executive Director

James began his work with raptors in 2006 volunteering and training at Wings of Wonder under the close supervision of founder Rebecca Lessard. He has been involved in education programs, rehabilitation work, and various building projects throughout the years. He has held his own state and federal rehabilitation permits since 2009.

James is a falconer and enjoys many other outdoor activities the area has to offer including hiking, canoeing, kayaking, biking, and camping.

Chris Johnson 

Assistant Director

Shortly after retiring from the National Park Service in 2013, Chris began volunteering at Wings of Wonder. He received his Basic Wildlife Rehabilitation certificate. For the next 6 years, Chris gained outstanding instruction and invaluable experience caring for and rehabilitating raptors under the tutelage of mentor Rebecca Lessard. Chris earned his own Federal and State permits allowing him to assume the care of two WOW education raptors (Pearl a red-tailed hawk and Jaeda, an American Kestrel). When Rebecca retired from raptor rehabilitation, Chris joined James Manley to help create SRC.

Our Board


Rebecca Lessard

Rebecca is an internationally respected expert in the field of raptor rehabilitation and education with over 30 years of experience. She obtained a B.S. degree in Biology from Bemidji State University in Northern Minnesota and worked a variety of mammal research jobs.

Rebecca founded Wings of Wonder, a state and federally permitted 501c3 non-profit raptor center. She is legendary for her educational programming and introduced over 10,000 people each year to the wonders of raptors.

In 2021, she started working with the Little Bay Bands of Odawa Indians to design and create the first tribal eagle aviary East of the Mississippi.


Susan Stamy

Susan founded the Braveheart Raptor Center near Twin Lakes, MI in 1991. She specialized in caring for birds of prey, or raptors, and is licensed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“It’s a miracle that these birds are even alive,” she says. “It goes to show just how strong they are ... how strong their will to live is.”

Chris Johnson 

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