In order to keep the Madison Area Herpetological Society running smoothly, there has to be people leading it. This is what our Board Members do. Each one runs a particular part of our organization in order to keep us moving in the right direction. These individuals are dedicated to educating the public and we appreciate all of the time they put in to help our cause. Below is contact info for each member, and a short bio. If you are interested in any position, elections are held at the last meeting of the year. If you’d just like to help out, feel free to contact a board member and find out how you can get involved!

 

Executive Director

Ryan McVeigh

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Ryan founded the Madison Area Herpetological Society in 2010 to share his love of reptiles with all around him and help educate people on their proper care. Before then, Ryan had done school shows and worked in a pet store educating young kids about the wonders of the reptile world and how to keep them properly. His love of reptiles started when he was only 4 years old as he was always chasing and catching frogs, salamanders, and garter snakes. Ryan has been keeping and breeding reptiles for the past 25 years. Ryan currently holds positions as the Wisconsin Representative for the United States Association of Reptile Keepers, Director on the board for Friends of Scales Reptile Rescue, holds a seat on the Reptile Subcommittee for the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, and works closely with many other reptile related conservation and educational non-profits. Ryan graduated with a Masters from the Milwaukee School of Engineering and worked until 2015 as a Project Engineer. Starting in 2015, Ryan became the Marketing Brand Manager for the Zilla Reptile Products where he leads the innovation and direction of the brand and products created. As time goes on his love for these animals, spreading education about their captive care, and his passion for conservation continue to grow!
 

 

President – Madison*

Rebecca Wyman

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Rebecca first got into reptiles while she was in college, she wasn’t allowed to have pets so she started looking for one she thought she could convince her landlord to let her have. She wasn’t able to convince her landlord to let her have a reptile while in college, but in October of 2010 she got her first ball python. Her reptile collection has since snowballed and she now has over 30 snakes and close to 20 geckos. She currently breeds ball pythons and crested geckos, but in the future will be adding fat tail geckos and boas to that list. Outside of reptiles, she works full time as a computer programmer.
 

 

Vice President – Madison*

Tanya Habel

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Tanya has been interested in the outside world and all the amazing animals in it as kid. She would watch painted turtles and look for toads all summer long. Tanya first got into reptiles as pets through her husband, Matt. Matt got a pair of ball pythons from his cousin early in their marriage and the two of them never looked back. Since then their collection has grown and includes a variety of snakes, geckos, lizards, turtles, insects and more! In the last few years Tanya has started volunteering with MAHS and found that she loved educating people about reptiles too.
 

 

Secretary – Madison*

Ginger Larsen

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Ginger joined the Madison Area Herpetological Society about two years ago. Their first meeting had a talk by Rob Carmichael in which they held a baby crocodile for the first time. The rest is history. Although they've loved animals their whole life, they hadn't considered keeping herps until the last few years. Most of the reptiles Ginger keeps personally are snakes, but they also have two geckos, a salamander, axolotls and African Clawed Frogs (along with an assortment of tarantulas). They have an ever growing fondess for garter snakes. One of Ginger's favorite things about herpetology are the endless opportunities to learn more. Outside of MAHS, their other interests include roller derby and plants.
 

 

Event Coordinator – Madison*

Eric Roscoe

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Eric graduated in December 2010 from UW Stevens Point with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biology with an emphasis on herpetology. He has always liked and been interested in all animals in general, but particularly reptiles and amphibians, since the age of 5 or 6. For him, it all started when he caught his first wild garter snake at a petting zoo in northeastern Wisconsin, which kicked off his interest in reptiles. He has also always loved dinosaurs and Jurassic Park as well from an early age. From there, he had always wanted a snake of his own, and for his 6th birthday, finally got one. After that, he began reading any books on them he could find, going to local pet stores, and reptile shows, and of course, enjoyed finding them in the wild whenever he could. The thing he likes most about these animals is just the diversity of different species and always learning more about them. Eric is currently interested in, and has a wide range of knowledge and experience with a variety of reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates, but is most interested in snakes, particularly the different boas, pythons, and colubrid species. He enjoys hiking, field herping, and spending time in the outdoors in different areas of Wisconsin and anywhere else he can every year, and also serves as an active state ambassador on local, state, and federal ordinances, legislation, and regulatory matters through USARK (United States Association of Reptile Keepers).
 

 

Library Coordinator – Madison*

Richie Braatz

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Richie’s love for reptiles started at a very young age. So young that he doesn’t truly remember what sparked his passion for these animals. It’s just always been something that has been apart of who he is. When he was a kid you could find him waist deep in the local lake catching turtles and bringing home snakes and hiding them in his room. His main focus has always been geared towards working with venomous reptiles and large constrictors.
 

 

Young Explorers Coordinator – Madison & Milwaukee*

Erica Mede

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Erica joined the Madison Area Herpetological Society in 2015 after being invited to speak at the MAHS hosted Midwest Herp Symposium. In 2017 she made the plunge into a position on the board after serving on several not for profit boards including Friends of Scales Reptile Rescue, Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians, and Chicago Herpetological Society. Erica is a certified veterinary technician for over 10 years dedicated to the care of exotic and zoological species. She has a strong desire to lead the next generation of Young Explorers into the world of responsible and ethical captive herpetile care and conservation!
 

 

Member at Large – Madison*

Sam Massey

Sam had to wait to move out of their parent's house to get their first snake, but it was one of the first things they did, and 13 more snakes, three geckos, a lizard, and a frog quickly followed. Sam got involved with MAHS in Spring of 2018, and they love doing outreach events and sharing their pets and their passion with as many people as possible. They're currently planning a sand boa breeding project and generally enjoying their personal zoo.
 

 

Member at Large – Madison*

Joel Patenaude

Joel Patenaude grew up in Mount Horeb and was catching frogs, turtles and snakes at Stewart Park at an early age. He never really grew out of his fascination with reptiles, and is currently keeping carpet pythons, hognose snakes, uromastyx, pancake tortoises and crested geckos. Patenaude is a Madison-area journalist and semi-retired amateur endurance athlete.
 

 

President - Fox Valley*

Taylor Perry

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Taylor works full time as a licensed sales agent with Unitedhealthcare insurance company. She has been with the Fox Valley chapter since its inception and loves doing events and meeting new people. She first got into reptiles in 2014 when she got her first bearded dragon. She also has experience working with snakes, iguanas, skinks, basilisks, and water dragons. Her passion is still with bearded dragons and loves to treat (spoil) her reptiles as her children.
 

 

Event Coordinator- Fox Valley*

Miranda Evans

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Hi, my name is Miranda Evans. I am the events coordinator for the Fox Valley area. During college, I worked with a couple of professors and students at the Animal House of UW-Platteville. We did education and outreach for unusual animals. I think reptiles are amazing animals that people just don't understand. When I held my 1st ball python, I was scared but then I felt how it moved and how cool it's scales were. Now I absolutely love them and want others to see how cool reptiles can be. I loved being active doing these kind of events and cant wait to continue with MAHS.
 

 

Young Explorers Coordinator – Fox Valley*

Charles Branstrom

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Charles first got into reptiles in 2004 when he got his first ball python while in tech school. Over the years he has kept everything from ball pythons to geckos to yellow anacondas. In recent years, he has kept a variety of snakes. His current passion is helping to fix local animal laws so everyone can enjoy the love of animals without fear of losing them. Charles is currently a heavy truck mechanic by trade.
 

President – Milwaukee*

Bill Stewart

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I am Bill Stewart, and I am the president of the Milwaukee Chapter of MAHS. I have acted as the vice president and events coordinator since the Milwaukee Chapter started, and have been an active member of MAHS for 5 years. Aside from MAHS, I own a therapy clinic in Kenosha, WI. I am also a volunteer with Friends Of Scales Reptile Rescue and the Assistant Lab Tech at Zilla Brand. I started loving reptiles in the same manner as most. I was fascinated with dinosaurs as a kid, then found a garter snake when I was 5. That's it. Reptiles have been in my life since age 11, when I got my first anoles as pets. At age 15 I got my first job and bough a gray rat snake with my first paycheck. Reptile care and husbandry is my major focus in this hobby, ensuring that we, as responsible keepers, are providing the best possible care for our animals.
 

Vice President – Milwaukee*

Barry Vandergriff

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Hi, I’m Barry, the Vice President of the Milwaukee chapter. I’ve been working with reptiles for 25 years, since my parents gave me a Japanese Fire Belly newt. I love working with either the obscure and odd species, or the super common ones from your backyard (American Toads are the BEST!!!). I joined MAHS in 2018, and love the idea of coming together with other herpers as we educate and inform the public about these amazing animals. I’m passionate about trying to overcome the common myths and misconceptions, especially since growing up in a “all snakes are bad” family.
 

Secretary – Milwaukee*

Mariano Escobedo

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Hello, my name is Mariano Escobedo and I’m the secretary for the Milwaukee Herpetological Society. My passion for reptiles started in a very funny way. As a young child, my mom used to scare me with stories of a boogie man who would take me if I misbehaved, and “had lots of snakes” in his house. The story backfired since I started questioning what was so scary about snakes. This made me become fascinated with them. I asked a lot of questions and read a lot. By the age of 5, I was catching little lizards in my native San Luis Potosi, Mexico. I joined MAHS not just for the reptiles, but in order to find people who shared my interest and passion for reptiles, since I was always the oddball in my social circles. My main interests in herpetology are large varanids, as well as boids. Professionally, I hold a Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology and worked in the diagnostics, biotech and pharmaceutical industries for over 10 years. Eventually, I went back to school and became a certified teacher. I presently teach 8th Grade Dual Language, with a passion for STEM. I share my passion for science and particularly for herpetology with both my students and my children, Mariano and Esmeralda. My goal is to gain enough experience to one day work in the herpetology industry.
 

 

Library Coordinator– Milwaukee*

Rex Rassch

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Rex with Black Cataphractus
While having countless interests and hobbies, Rex's earliest memory in life is being fascinated by all animals. Due to the fact that it is impractical and unlikely for children to keep rhinoceroses or giraffes Rex gravitated towards caring for reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates in order to satisfy his passion for the exotic and the unusual. This interest has led Rex on a life-long pursuit to be around and learn about animals as much as possible as well as share his profound interest with others. He has been fortunate enough to be a regular animal presenter at the Wehr Nature Center, the Mitchell Park Domes, and the Riveredge Nature Center. In the spring of 2014 Rex graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point with a degree in Biology , where he was also a member of and officer for the Stevens Point Herpetology Society. Along with maintaining a small menagerie and a feeder insect supply company, a constant area of focus (if not compulsion) for Rex has been expanding his personal zoological library. While some may find his enthusiasm for the printed word a tad alarming, he feels his eccentricities can easily be summed up under the term "Book Collector."
 

 

Event Coordinator – Milwaukee*

Sarah Shlensky

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While Sarah always had an interest in reptiles, her true love for these animals evolved after seeing so many end up in animal rescue. She realized that there was a major need for education on captive care for reptiles and felt compelled to do something. After becoming a member of the Madison Area Herpetological Society in 2018, she began to volunteer for various community events. She has a strong passion for promoting responsible pet ownership and conservation. One of her favorite things about MAHS is how supportive this organization is with educating others in the hobby. Sarah is also active with Friends of Scales Reptile Rescue and volunteers as their Adoption Coordinator. After graduating in 2013 with a degree in Communication, she now works for Lululemon and is also a freelance writer.
 

 

Member at Large – Milwaukee*

Megan Schmidt

Although raised to love all things fluffy growing up volunteering for dog rescue and working for my mom’s grooming salon, I always leaned towards the “weird animals” growing up playing with bugs, catching frogs, and religiously watching Crocodile Hunter. I received my first snake when I was 10 years of age, and I still have that same corn snake to this day.... along with 20+ more herps. The animals that others feared always interested me most. You can find me helping out Dan at Animal House or tucked away in my basement nerding out over my hognose snakes and other creepy crawlies.
 

 

Member at Large – Milwaukee*

Justin Kubeck

My name is Justin Kubeck and I have been active with the milwaukee chapter of MAHS since the fall of 2019. My passion for reptiles started when I was nine and has lead me to work with many types of snakes, lizards, geckos, frogs and invertebrates. Along with keeping these animals I work with them and the public to encourage education and conservation. These animals have helped me realize my love for education and working with the public.
 

 

* Board Member Positions