2019 Pegasus Wings Awards
The goal of the Pegasus Foundation is to give Great Ideas Wings through focused grants and recognition of outstanding individuals and programs that have made a significant difference for animal protection. The Pegasus Foundation helps organizations achieve their potential by forming partnerships, leveraging resources, and educating the public.
Our sixth Pegasus Wings Awards ceremony took place on May 1st 2019 at the historic Cosmos Club in Washington DC. We were honored to have Montel Williams, host of the Montel Williams Show and animal welfare advocate as our Master of Ceremonies. We recognized the following exceptional individuals for their outstanding achievements in animal welfare and habitat protection:
Peter Knights, the CEO of WildAid, is an acknowledged leader in international conservation and protection of our most imperiled endangered species. Under Peter’s leadership, WildAid’s Demand Reduction program has blended the star power of international celebrities (including Prince William and Leonardo DiCaprio) with over 250 million dollars of donated media space to promote the WildAid message: “When the buying stops, the killing can too”. And the results speak for themselves and the animals they’ve saved. As well as contributing to the protection of manta rays and whale sharks, WildAid’s shark campaign led by Yao Ming has contributed to a 50-70% decline consumption of shark fin in China, and an 81% decline in shark fin imports over three years. WildAid’S campaigns have also resulted in the banning of ivory sales in China, a more than 70% decline in the price of ivory, and a more than 60% decline in the price of rhino horn in China and Vietnam.
Jason Paterniti is the founder of the GEOS Foundation (GEOS) a 501 c 3 Public Charity. GEOS provides funding and infrastructure support to promising individuals and projects who are focused on protecting endangered animals and our shared cultural and natural habitat. Since 2009, GEOS has directly or indirectly allocated over $2.5M in funding to projects ranging from rhino translocations in Botswana and counter poaching units in Mozambique to establishing Tobago’s first virtual nautical archeology museum and the discovery and recording and preservation of at risk Mayan ruins in Guatemala and pre-Pharaonic civilizations in Egypt. Jason is a partner in a private Investment management firm and brings his expertise in capital allocation to the field of conservation.
Katrina Bergman, Dr. Greg Mertz and Zach Mertz
Katrina Bergman is the CEO and a board member of New England Wildlife Centers – Thomas E. Curtis Wildlife Hospital and Education Center in Weymouth and Birdsey Cape Wildlife Center in Barnstable. She is the co-founder of the Thomas E. Curtis Wildlife Hospital and Education Center, which is the first-in-the-nation wildlife hospital and education center built to Leadership in Environment and Energy Design (LEED) specifications. She serves as trustee on the Ahimsa Foundation, is an advisor to the Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team and other grassroots nonprofits. Katrina holds a Bachelor of Science in Speech degree from Emerson College, Magna Cum Laude, 1987.
Dr. Greg Mertz is Chairman of the Board of the New England Wildlife Center. He is an educator, writer and veterinarian for wildlife and non-traditional pets. Greg received his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Tufts-Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in 1988, where he later became an instructor in large animal anatomy and reptile anatomy. He also was a Course Director, Lecturer and Lab Coordinator at Mt. Ida College School of Animal Science. He founded the Odd Pet Vet, which focuses on exotics, in 1995. The practice was purchased by The New England Wildlife Center in 2008 and continues today.
Zak Mertz is the Executive Director of the Cape Wildlife Center and the Assistant Director of New England Wildlife Center. Zak is a licensed Wildlife rehabillitator and has worked in wildlife hospital management and as a veterinary technician for over a decade. Zak also holds a masters of Science from UMASS Boston with a concentrationin hydrology and marine sciences, and serves on the board of the Hingham Land Conservation Trust.
Without their leadership the Cape Wildlife Center would no longer be. We are truly grateful for their hard work and perseverance.
Melissa Rubin has an extensive background in animal protection including animal care, rescue, sanctuary, advocacy, welfare and wildlife rehabilitation. She serves as the Senior Vice President of Animal Response, Care and Sanctuary at the Humane Society of the United States. She is responsible for the HSUS’s four affiliated animal care centers, the HSUS Animal Rescue Team, Pets for Life and the Rural Area Veterinary Services. She also serves on the board of directors for The Fund for Animals, the South Florida Wildlife Center and Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. In her capacity at the HSUS, she is also responsible for the direct care programs, which provide intensive care to over 30,000 animals each year. This includes wildlife rescue and rehabilitation, animal sanctuary, veterinary services in rural communities, rescue and confiscation of suffering animals on large scales from cruel and neglectful situations, assistance to law enforcement agencies in prosecution efforts and permanent placement of such animal victims upon successful conclusion of these criminal cases. Melissa was orchestrated the transfer of the Cape Wildlife Center to the New England Wildlife Center in 2018.