Patrick comes to us with equal parts experience and enthusiasm. Having worked with animals since a teenager, Patrick has enjoyed a career as both a kennel attendant and a veterinary technician. His love for animals is also reflected in his personal life where he is the caretaker to Bear (a Black Lab), Catti B (a tuxedo cat), two horses (Neon & Harmony), many chickens and saltwater fish. A Jacksonville native, Patrick enjoys taking advantage of the great local fishing opportunities, both inshore and off. Football (in particular, The Green Bay Packers) is another passion as is spending time with friends & family. Since joining our team, Patrick has been instrumental in adding fun new features to the resort as well as maintaining a positive and cohesive work environment for our staff. His passion for animals and consideration of others makes Patrick a very special part of the Birch Island family.
Coming to us with an impressive background of diverse experience and achievements is Elise. Originally from New Jersey, Elise moved to Jacksonville in 2011 to reunite with her high school sweetheart whom she is now married to. After earning her associate degree in nursing, she became an RN for 15 years. In addition to her human caretaker role, Elise also spent time as a veterinary technician and received her certification in pet grooming. In 2012, she started a non-profit dog rescue called “Animal Alley” which helps homeless and at-risk shelter dogs. Currently, Elsie lives with her husband and two Chihuahuas Diva & Tinker. She has five grown children and a grandson. In her spare time, Elise indulges her musical side by playing keyboards and African drums. She also expresses her creativity through painting and crafting, plus loves horseback riding and camping. Birch Island is fortunate to have such a generous, well-rounded team member who genuinely adores all our resort guests.
Leila is originally from Wisconsin and moved to Jacksonville in 2014. Having developed her excellent customer service skills in the food & service industry, Leila now enjoys using them in an environment she truly loves. Growing up, she was always surrounded by animals. Dogs & cats were part of her family and she also got to help with pigs, horses, cows & chickens on various small farms. Leila now has a dog named Archer and considers the guests at Birch Island’s resort her extended family. When time allows, Leila is busy renovating her house or enjoying creative crafts like painting, making jewelry, gardening and DIY projects. A fan of scientific oddities and interesting stories, she also likes true-crime podcasts. Leila genuinely loves being a part of the Birch Island team and being able to spend time with both our human and animal guests. Her fun smile and upbeat spirit are enjoyed by all who come across her!
Taylor is a Jacksonville native with a passion for animals. She has a special connection with horses, having been around them for over twenty years and currently owning two, one of which is a mini. Besides horses Midas & Noel, Taylor also shares her home with three chickens, eight cats and a sugar glider named Miley. Having been in the pet care field for several years, Taylor has been a wonderful addition to our team with her experience, kindness and patience. When she has spare time, Taylor loves to travel, watch horror movies and play video games.
CJ has a background as a pet care specialist and a love for animals, especially rescues. Born & raised in Jacksonville, his fur family includes a Golden Retriever named Max, a rescue mix named Duke and Katie, an adopted kitty. Our canine campers adore CJ’s enthusiasm and good nature, which help him create special bonds with many of our resort guests. CJ also has a creative side which he embraces through music, in particular guitar and piano. Playing video games and skateboarding round off his interests and keep him young at heart.
Resort & Spa Receptionist
Sydney is one of the smiling faces at the desk of our Resort & Spa. An animal lover, Sydney shares her home with two cats (Tupac & Biggie), an English Bulldog (Knox) and a Chiweenie (Charles). She has experience in the pet daycare field working at another resort in Grand Forks, ND before moving to Jacksonville. Sydney also worked at the Jacksonville Zoo prior to joining our team. She loves that she can spend time outdoors here with her husband and dogs, exploring beaches, parks & restaurants.
Andrew tells us that he truly enjoys Birch Island’s “positive, fulfilling work environment” as one of our canine camper consultants! And lucky for us, he is a contributor to that atmosphere. A Jacksonville native, Andrew is currently attending UNF pursuing his Bachelor’s degree and is a huge fan of his hometown team, the Jaguars. When he’s not entertaining our resort guests, he spends time with his own two dogs (a Boxer/Pit mix and a Border Collie/Huskey mix). Andrew had worked as a kennel technician elsewhere before joining us in October of 2019. His interests range from writing fantasy fiction & philosophy to hiking with his girlfriend & dogs to exploring abandoned buildings.