Susan B. Eirich, Ph.D., Executive Director
“When I was about five years old I remember asking my mother about why animals didn't have equal rights to humans. Studying for my PH.D in psychology, a scrawny kitten crawled on the farm where I was living and I experienced the deepest love of my life. I hadn't even had an affinity for cats. It was the beginning of growing into an awareness of the profound connection that is possible with animals that continues to expand and amaze me.” Living with bears and wolves, cougars and coyotes, foxes, badgers, buffalo and more, Susan uses this unique opportunity to deepen and share her understandings of wild animals, with the goal of forging a richer relationship between these wonderful creatures and humans. A licensed psychologist, biologist and educator, she has taught at universities around the world, worked in maximum security prisons, developed a university counseling center, directed a Nature Conservancy Preserve, and lived in remote corners of Nepal, the Mid and Far East, the Northwest Territories and the Amazon rainforest. Her goal is always to see through other’s eyes as a way to enhance understanding between cultures, peoples and species. She founded Earthfire in order to give a voice to wildlife and help people find their own natural voice. As Executive Director Susan ensures that the focus stays on heart, soul and the animals, while still maintaining a viable, professional organization. She develops the educational programs, oversees animal welfare and personally researches and attends to all medical care.
Jean Simpson, Wildlife Expert
When Jean was five he drew a picture of himself walking in a park in France with animals following him. His mother said they always did. Studying to be a vet in Paris, he realized that he wanted a deeper relationship with animals than that would allow. He moved to the Rocky Mountains and taught himself how to train wolves through living with and understanding them. This led to a career training wild animals for movies, where he developed techniques based on reward and an amazing grasp of each species and each individual of that species. In 1989 he founded The Wild Bunch Ranch so that he could train based on his unique understanding of each species, and each individual of that species. He has trained and consulted on feature films, documentaries, commercials and still shoots, and worked with many of the most famous wildlife artists and photographers in the country. He is known in the industry for his humane training methods, his safety record, the beautiful condition of his animals, and his ability to get outstanding performances from them. Jean brings his talents in understanding and handling wild animals to Earthfire, as well as serving as consultant on animal welfare, safety and animal home design. To see how he works with Humble Bumble, the learning-disabled grizzly bear, or Pinkerton the blind lynx, is an enlightenment. The knowledge and thought he gives to designing homes and playgrounds for the animals gives us delightful insight into their emotional and physical needs and pleasures.
Amanda Head, Website Coordinator
Amanda Head, graduate of University of Washington in International Studies, wildland firefighter, snowboarder, and person who knows how to live life, serves an integral and multiple role at Earthfire. She brings her organizational and creative abilities to bear on ably managing the new website, as well as helping with the animals for education programs. Amanda volunteered in the non-profit community before joining Earthfire.