In 1978, Dianne Nelson co-founded and has since operated the Wild Horse and Burro Sanctuary in Shingletown, CA. She is the current President of the non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation, resides on the premises, and directs daily operations.
Though most of her life has involved working with animals - from ranching to removing feral goats from San Clemente Island (under government contract) - the vast majority of her time, energy, and resources have been dedicated to protecting and preserving one of America’s last living links and symbols to its rich heritage, the wild horse.
Dianne is intimately acquainted with wild horses and their needs as well as the importance of a healthy, ecologically sound environment to sustain them and other species. Her knowledge and experience, coupled with a deep love, desire, and dedication to promote a quality life for wild horses and to protect the ranges they inhabit are evident to all who meet her.
Throughout her life, Dianne has worked with countless organizations focused on the issues surrounding wild horse management on public lands. In her search for solutions to the problem of population control of wild horses and burros, Dianne worked with researchers from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and University of California, Davis to investigate temporary sterility in mares. Dianne served as the Wild Horse Representative on the Modoc/Washoe Experimental Steward Program Steering Committee. She has collaborated with researchers/projects in order to document the intricate and unique social structure, biology, and native intelligence of wild horses and has demonstrated, through the Wild Horse Sanctuary, that wild horses can co-exist on the open range in ecological balance with many diverse species of wildlife.
Dianne is thrilled to share the beauty and majesty of the animals who call the Sanctuary home as well as the working, replicable model for the proper and responsible management of wild horses in their natural habitat. The Sanctuary welcomes visitors, volunteers, and researchers from across the U.S. and around the world.
Elizabeth Palmer became involved with the Wild Horse Sanctuary shortly after her first trail ride weekend — a birthday present from friends — in 1997. She joined the WHS board in 2000 and currently serves as the Sanctuary’s Vice President. Her Bay Area law career began in 1994, and she is now a senior business attorney with the wine country law firm Dickinson, Peatman & Fogarty, where her practice includes a broad range of business and taxation matters, such as mergers and acquisitions, private securities offerings, partnerships, joint ventures, financing, purchases, sales, and equine-related businesses.
Although a long-time Dressage rider, Elizabeth’s no stranger to western saddles, from her first pony ride at the age of two to the Colorado guest ranch where she and her husband were married between trail rides and cattle round-ups. She feels privileged to have worked with Dianne, the board, and the volunteers over the years, contributing her expertise and experience to ensure the Sanctuary’s future.
Elizabeth lives in Santa Rosa, California. She is a current board member and past board chair of the American Red Cross of Sonoma, Mendocino & Lake Counties, a member of the Sonoma County Horse Council, and former business and law columnist for North Bay Biz magazine.
Jill Tobia began volunteering at the Wild Horse Sanctuary in 2007 and was asked to join the Board of Directors in July of 2010 where she now serves as Secretary/Treasurer. Jill earned her Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from California State University, Sacramento and is currently a Budget Analyst for the California Department of Justice. She specializes in strategic planning, project management, marketing, public relations, and customer service. It's an honor for Jill to work alongside Dianne and the other members of the board to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Sanctuary.
A horse enthusiast since birth and a wild horse advocate since 2000, Jill is thrilled to share her knowledge, expertise, and passion for nature and wild horses with others. She lives in Sacramento, CA with her two adult children, cats, dogs, and three horses - adopted as weanlings from the Wild Horse Sanctuary.
Doug Juenke, s a real estate broker and co-owner of For Sale by Owner Real Estate in Redding. After playing 12 seasons of International Professional Baseball, he and wife, Liz, settled in Redding and opened their real estate business. Doug says, "Redding is quite literally one of the most beautiful places on earth and has everything we wanted in a community".
Doug served as president of the Shasta Board of Realtors Board President in 2012, was the Region 2 Realtor Regional Chair in 2014, and for three years was a leader for the California Association of Realtors Distressed Property Task Force, which advised banks and government on short
sales and foreclosures.
For the past eight years, Doug has pursued his passion for auto racing and has had the opportunity to drive some of the most exotic cars in the world - Lamborghini, McLaren, Porche, Aston Martin and Ferrari. As a driving coach for Hooked On Driving, Doug has helped hundreds of people drive their own cars "at the limit". Wife, Liz, shared her passion for the Wild Horse Sanctuary with Doug in 2011, and he became hooked on horses, too!
Doug joined the Wild Horse Sanctuary board in February, 2017 with the idea that sharing his business planning skills, knowledge of Shasta County and surrounding areas, and passion for preserving America's western heritage would help the Sanctuary in its efforts to serve wild horses and the community for years to come.