Board of Directors & Staff

Kari Bunkers


I am a retired Mayo Clinic physician and although I live in Owatonna, my husband Brian and I spend most weekends and a good share of the summer at our cabin on Crooked Lake.

I am a lifelong animal lover. I previously served on our local Humane Society Board. I love to volunteer with feeding and caring for the animals at Wild and Free and feel strongly about the appropriate and compassionate care of all animals. I am excited and honored to be on the board.

Nicole LeBlanc

Vice President

I grew up in central Minnesota where I currently live with my Husband and our wild clan of three cats and three dogs. In 2016, I earned a bachelors in Social Work from St. Cloud State University and am employed in the Mental Health field. I developed a love for animals in my teenage years and have been taking in less fortunate critters since.
In 2018 my husband and I discovered Wild and Free and fell in love with the organization immediately. We very much enjoy the hustle and bustle of baby season every year. In 2024, I wanted to take my involvement further by becoming a board member. It has been a pleasure to see the organization grow over the years and look forward to helping continue this growth for years to come.

Kristy Davis


I have spent the majority of my career in the technology space working for the University of Minnesota, Wells Fargo and other large organizations. I enjoy working with engaged, innovative individuals who are passionate about doing good work and making a positive difference.

I have been involved in animal related charities for 20+ years so the opportunity to join the Wild and Free board and help support rehabilitation efforts was a no-brainer for me. I am married, live on Bay Lake, and have 2 spoiled dogs at home.

Dana Botz


I am a retired nursing faculty member. I have volunteered at Wild and Free since retirement, and most recently, joined the Wild and Free board as secretary. When I'm not volunteering at Wild and Free: I make wishes come true as a Wish Granter for Make A Wish MN; I set up camping events for women with Girl Camper – Minnesota; and I serve as the directory of Camp Invention at Onamia Elementary. In my free time, I spend time with my husband, my four beautiful grandchildren, and Duke the Pomeranian.

Dwight Danielson

Board Member

My wife Connie and I have lived in the Deerwood/Crosby area since 1990. We moved to the area to allow me to take a job with Minnesota Automation, currently called Graphic Packaging International and we are now both retired. Wildlife and the outdoors have always intrigued me and having the opportunity to observe wildlife in their natural habitat is very important to me. Being part of a team that rehabs orphaned or injured animals with the goal of returning the animals to their natural habitat feels like a good fit.

I enjoy hunting upland game, fishing, building things, and photography. I am pretty good at working with my hands and contribute what I can to make the Wild & Free facility a success.

Nancy Hansen

Board Member

I spent my career as a business owner in the manufacturing field. Once I sold my part of the business, I was blessed through my move to Bay Lake (where I now call home). Here I have the freedom to help my husband with his business.

I have been passionate about animals since I was a little girl. After I moved to Bay Lake I found out about Wild and Free. I immediately volunteered to help with the animals. After 7 months I was elected to the board of directors for Wild and Free. I help the animals heal and assist in the mission, direction and growth of Wild and Free.

Jon Davis

Board Member

I am the Associate Director of Treasury services at UHG. I have spent much of my career in finance and banking. I am an avid fisherman and enjoy time at my home on Bay Lake doing just that.

As an outdoors person I am happy to support such a great organization that helps injured and orphaned wildlife.

Skol Vikings!

Peter Max

Board Member

After transitioning from Lakeville to Garrison in 2015, my family and I have wholeheartedly embraced the allure of the northern wilderness, forging a deep connection with its pristine landscapes and vibrant ecosystems. This appreciation galvanized my decision to join Wild and Free’s board in 2023.

On the professional front, I spearhead projects as a Principal Engineer at Optum, with a specialized focus on Prompt Engineering. Beyond the technical nuances, my expertise augments Wild and Free's operational robustness, underpinning my steadfast commitment to the noble cause of animal rehabilitation.

Debbie Eskedahl DVM

Organization Founder, Master Wildlife Rehabber

Katie Baratto DVM

Master Wildlife Rehabber

I was born and raised in Deerwood, MN and have been working at the Garrison Animal Hospital and volunteering for Wild and Free since high school. After years of coming back to work and volunteer on weekends through college, I graduated from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine and started full time at Garrison Animal Hospital as a veterinarian. During those years I also worked my way up to status of Master Rehabber with the DNR and USFWS, and donate my time and services to Wild and Free. I love working directly with the animals, but also enjoy longterm planning for everything I know our organization can do for our native wildlife and environment.  When I’m not working or feeding wildlife I enjoy gardening, reading, volunteering at church and camping with my husband and daughter.

Grace Frickenstein

Wildlife Program Coordinator

I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, and developed a love of archery when I was in 5th grade. Over the years, I competed in state and national tournaments, eventually landing myself a spot on the USA Compound Archery Junior Dream Team. After I turned 18 and aged off the team, I made the decision to hang up my bow and go to college. My years of spending time doing 3D shoots in the woods and hunting with my uncle - and a natural love for animals - led me to seek out a natural resources degree, and somewhere with less concrete and more pine.

I am a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point with a degree in Wildlife Ecology and Management with emphasis on Captive Wildlife. I started out as an intern at Wild and Free in the summer of 2023, and now I am here permanently as the wildlife program coordinator. Wild and Free is my happy place, and I am excited to do my part in helping the organization grow and carry out it's mission.