Meet the Officers, Board Members and Founders

Elizabeth Chitwood is the founder and director of Elephantopia. Having lived in South Africa in 2009, she came back home to the US with a passion to raise awareness about elephants, the ivory trade and human-elephant conflict. Elephantopia started as a personal blog and is now a 501c3 nonprofit volunteer-run organization seeking to Save Elephants and Build Community with people like you. Elephantopia partners with the GRI Elephant Orphanage in Zambia to raise funds to cover all expenses for Kavalamanja, an orphaned elephant victim of the ivory trade. Join the herd and get involved with us!

Founder and Director Elizabeth Chitwood

Founder and Director Elizabeth Chitwood

Meet the 2016 board:

We meet every month on the third Tuesday at 9pm EST. Our meetings are open to the public, and our minutes are available for you to review. Interested to attend a meeting or read the minutes? Click HERE for details.

Brian Nickel is our new president. He currently is a teacher at Liberty Middle School in Ocala, FL. He is a proud member of the Gator Nation with a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology. Outside of work, he can be found fishing, drumming, or cheering on his Cleveland sports teams.

Janelle Hedges is continuing as role of secretary. She is Records Manager at Allen Boone Humphries Robinson LLP in Houston, TX. A graduate from Stephen F Austin with a degree in psychology, her passions include animal and wildlife conservation. She volunteers at the Houston Zoo and is a vocal elephant advocate with Elephantopia.

Joel Schrank is our new treasurer. He is a Customer Care Trainer at Infinite Energy in Gainesville, FL. He graduated from Concordia University Wisconsin with a degree in theology. When he’s not in the office, he can be found playing keyboard or guitar in local bands, riding his motorcycle and helping running social media for Elephantopia.

Drusti Naik Klein is a director on the board. She is founder of Harry & Albert’s Paws with a Cause. She lives in Northern Virginia and has a passion for animal rescue and leads rescue operations on weekends. She’s eager to help make this planet a better place — one person/animal at a time.

Founding Partners:

Katharine M Bartlett

Barbara Garrett

Janelle Hedges

Marat Karpeka

Dustin Keele

Frank Kam Lee

Lytha Miller

Paul & Linda Steinbart