This year our team has evolved into quite the crazy cook county chelonian crew!

Katelyn Deppe, a second year veterinary student, is back again except this time she’s lost her scales and grew a shell as she begins a new project centered on painted turtles. Her can-do attitude and outgoing personality keeps our communication on point and keeps the team working together like a brand new machine. With a full year under her belt, she has risen to the challenge of working on two projects and showing the ropes to the first years. She is an excellent person to turn to for wildlife information and has a knack for bringing the best out of people! 

Jaime Lyke, a first year veterinary student, makes her debut this summer. Her project is centered around collecting vitamin D and calcium levels from blanding turtles. Being the newest member to the Cook County Crew, she approaches each day full of optimism and is ready to learn! Whether it’s handling her first 20+ pound snapper to getting a blood sample from a turtle no larger than oreo, Jaime has already shown what a great addition to the team she will be!


Together Jaime and Kate make up the engine of this conservation operation, as we fly through samples each week we begin to see truly how many animals we’re making an impact on! We plan to bring you along each week this summer so that you can experience all the ups and downs with us through this blog!


In addition to the veterinary student dynamic duo (but not any less important), we are joined by:

Dr. John Winter, a 3rd year wildlife veterinary resident, back for his 5th summer of turtle team shenanigans. Here again as a mentor in all things veterinary, John is basically the backbone of our entire operation as he is always there to teach, lend a hand, and partake in all things turtles!

Paul, our trusted veteran USDA biologist, is our go-to master-trap setter! He has all the knowledge of where to place our traps and what substrates/diets are favorable for each of our 7 species of turtles! If John was the backbone to our team, then paul is the power that keeps us going! 

Paige, a USDA wildlife technician, joins the crew this year too! With previous research experience with painted turtles, Paige is a perfect addition to our crew! From her intense tetris truck bed packing skills to her consistent support both physically with sampling and mentally as we face challenges! With Paige’s love/passion for her position, she has instantly become not only a staple member of our team but also the optimism that keeps us encouraged every day!

Jessica, our county wildlife technician, is the paddle that keeps us smooth sailing!  Her experience in the human medical field as well as with wildlife comes in handy with analyzing samples and data. She is always happy to lend a hand and share her expertise in animal restraint/handling. We are so lucky to have such a supportive technician dedicated to the team! 

The team enjoying an ice cream party for Paige’s birthday (-Dr.Winter) From Left to Right: Paige, Jess, Kate, Jaime, and Paul.

Dr. Winter looking very excited while holding his cup of coffee.