Larry was born in Buffalo, New York and spent his high school and college years living with his family in the Finger Lakes region of central New York – where winters were spent shoveling snow and skating on ice, and summers were divided between performing in theater around the region and boating on the lake with his friends. He moved to Charlottesville in the 1980s to study English at the University of Virginia. After graduate school, he worked for 20 years as a freelance consultant for a wide array of local, national, and international clients. He wore a lot of hats, working at times as a technical writer, a corporate governance analyst, a broker of charter yacht vacations, a branding and communications consultant for corporations and non-profits, a journalist, and a documentary filmmaker. Prior to coming to the Wildlife Center, he served for five years as Director of Communications and Foundation Relations at the Virginia Institute of Autism. His work at the Wildlife Center involves helping to drive strategic initiatives and opening up access to new audiences and new supporters. Larry and family have enjoyed camping in national parks, including an epic, three-week, 5700-mile road trip to Badlands, Yellowstone, and Grand Tetons.
Meet the Staff
Larry GarretsonDirector of Strategic Advancement
Kelly MatherlyFundraising Coordinator
Kelly volunteered at the Wildlife Center when the new facility first opened in Waynesboro in 1995 and became a permanent staff member with the development team in December 2001. During her time at the Center, Kelly has had the opportunity to support and enrich the essential relationships with the Center's supporters through open house tours, environmental education programs, Gala organization, animal releases, and the personal acknowledgement of contributions. Kelly received a B.S. in forestry and wildlife from Virginia Tech in 1998 with a focus on environmental education and human dimensions related to wildlife and natural resource management. Kelly enjoys spending time with her family and pets as well as traveling, reading, kayaking, and cooking.
Kristen SluiterSpecial Projects Coordinator
Kristen began at the Wildlife Center in 2008 as front-desk coordinator, responding to wildlife inquiries and admitting patients. In 2009, she became the special projects coordinator as a part of the development team. Kristen is largely responsible for planning the Center’s annual Gala & Benefit, assists with grant applications and fundraising, plus any other “special projects” that arise. Kristen holds a degree in biology from James Madison University. She enjoys cooking, hiking, reading, traveling, and spending time with her husband and two children.
Ashlee OttDevelopment Associate
Ashlee graduated from Bridgewater College with a degree in environmental science in May 2021. Ever since she was a young girl, Ashlee had a soft spot in her heart for all animals. As she got older, that passion for animals turned into a shared passion for conservation. Prior to coming to the Wildlife Center, Ashlee followed the Center’s work and even obtained a certification through the Wildlife Care Academy in 2017. She lives in the small town of Grottoes with her husband, along with their spoiled bearded dragon, Pepé. In her free time, Ashlee enjoys camping, birdwatching, tending to her plants, baking, and painting.