About Us


Stefanie MacEwan & Justin Vandebelt

Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue is lead by Stefanie MacEwan, a provincially licensed wildlife custodian. She is also 1 of 3 internationally certified wildlife rehabilitators in Ontario, 1 of 30 in Canada. As a CWR her knowledge of wildlife rehabilitation and standard of care is amongst the highest in the world.

Stefanie graduated from the University of Guelph with a BSc., majoring in zoology. Stefanie has dedicated her life to both exotic, domesticated, and native wildlife, with over 20 years of experience.

Stefanie MacEwan & Justin Vandebelt, Founders

Without the help and support of her husband, Justin Vandebelt, Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue would not be able to accept the large numbers of sick, injured, and orphaned wildlife.

After years of balancing a full time job and everything that the wildlife hospital needed to grow, Justin joined us full-time in 2020 as the Director of Operations. He not only builds enclosures, but also maintains the grounds, guides wildlife experiences, and even heads into the community to bring education to life.

Justin also leads his team of volunteers in the construction of Soper Creek Wilderness Villas and the WILD Winter Festival of Lights!

Wild Child #1

WILD Child 1 & 2

WILD Child 1 & 2 are the driving force behind Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue. Watching their passion for all forms of wildlife validates the mission of Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue's educational programming.

Wild Child #2

Nicole Countway

Director of Wildlife Rehabilitation


Nicole Countway has been part of the Soper Creek Wildlife Family since May 2018. She is the Director of Wildlife Rehabilitation at Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue, overseeing the care of animals in rehabilitation as well as the training and education of volunteers.

Prior to beginning at Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue she completed a Bachelor of Science Honors in Zoology at the University of Guelph in 2016, and a Wildlife Conservation Technology Diploma at Holland College in 2018.

Nicole joined the team at Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue as a Wildlife Educator, traveling around Ontario for various educational experiences. Nicole was also a co-director for the summer camp programming offered at Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue for summers 2018 and 2019. Throughout her time at Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue Nicole has also played a large role with care of the educational animals as well as educational programming throughout all seasons. She is a Jane of all trades!

Marisa -Website

Marisa Kinnear

Executive Administrator
Wilderness Villa Co-Ordinator

Marisa started at Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue as a volunteer in spring 2021 and officially joined the team as a staff member the following year. Marisa works in the Admissions Office, answering our wildlife emergency hotline and admitting patients into our wildlife hospital. She also helps coordinate our volunteer program, our day experiences and our corporate sponsorships.  Marisa is the smiling face that will greet you each time you visit Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue.


Shawna Shiel

Education & Experience Co-Orindator

Shawna is the Education & Experience Coordinator here at Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue which means you may see her out in the community, at your school or here at Soper Creek overseeing our large camp programs! She started with Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue in November 2022 with a diverse background in education, facilitating groups in all kinds of settings about many topics.

She has experience educating about camping best practices, fishing in Ontario and even reptiles and amphibians! Shawna graduated with a Bachelor of Science from McMaster University before deciding that a life spent working outdoors was much more for her. Shawna then graduated from the Ecosystem Management Technician Program at Fleming College and has been educating about the natural world around us ever since!

Shawna is excited to work with our community to create programs for all kinds of groups and to help create a memorable camp experience for the many campers we will see throughout the summer.


Evan Zylstra

Permanent Animal Care Technician 


Evan is the Permanent Animal Care Technician here at Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue. He will be managing the care of all of the Animal Ambassadors who call Soper Creek their home! He started in January 2023, making him the newest member of the WILD family.

Evan is a reptile enthusiast with a number of reptiles of his own, and is excited to work with all of our ambassadors- furry, feathered and scaled! Having a background in reptile and amphibian conservation and fieldwork, animal care experience as well as an avid camper, Evan has a wealth of knowledge about the natural world around us and animal care experience to add to our team.

You will likely find him around our property caring for the many animals we have, creating unique enrichment items or maybe even out at an event in the community!


Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue is Durham Region’s only Wildlife Rehabilitation Center and Outdoor Education Facility.  Although our vision has two paths, they merge together, supporting the ideas and passion of each other.

As a wildlife rehabilitation center, we care for sick, injured, and orphaned wildlife with the goal of releasing them back into their natural habitat. Each animal, no matter how big or small plays a very important role in our ecosystem. Their involvement in the web of life affects the way humans live, the food we eat, and the earth as a whole.


As an outdoor education facility, the goal of our Nature Center is to create a hands-on learning experience for people of all ages. Located on 15 acres of the Oak Ridges Moraine visitors to our nature center will be immersed within Ontario wildlife. This journey will allow visitors and students alike to explore the natural wonders of the forest. Guests will venture to meet our permanent resident animal ambassadors, hear their story of why they can’t be released back into the wild, and share an interactive experience with them. We strive to provide an experience that provides our animals with positive interactions, and our guests and students an opportunity to share their love of all animals. Despite our animal ambassadors having a rough start to life, they have found their forever home, safe within our forest.

Whether it is the animal patients we are admitting into our rehabilitation center, or the permanent residence that call Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue home, the animal care standards they receive are above standards. We strive to ensure both the mental and physical well being of each animal is being recognized and cared for. All wild lives matter.

At Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue our educational programming focuses on Canadian wildlife. Providing our community with the opportunity to interact with native wildlife in all forms; from the calming forest, vital plant life, keystone animal species, we create an environment that nurtures our back to the roots, hands-on learning. Soper Creek Wildlife Rescue teaches empathy, improves mental health and overall wellness, reduces anxiety, encourages positive social interaction, and helps to encourage a sense of compassion for other living things.

Children taking a tour