Our Leadership


SONJA WINGARD / Director & Founder

In 1999, Sonja Wingard, Abby Soley, and Gwen Hunter started ANT with encouragement from Catholic Community Services. Sonja, BSN, is ANT’s Executive Director, and brings more than 30 years of experience in working with people and animals as a registered nurse, 4-H leader, equine specialist, and riding instructor. Read More

JULIA CLIFFORD / Assistant Executive Director / Development Coordinator

I am thrilled to be ANT’s new Assistant Executive Director. I want to help ANT continue to touch lives because we can change the world. It takes time; it takes a team and the community; and it starts with one person -- that person is you! Thank you for being a part of ANT as a volunteer, donor, visitor or participant. I so look forward to meeting you and hearing your story.

JESSIE PEMBLE / Office & Social Media Manager; Mobile ANT Coordinator

Jessie received her bachelor’s degree in Therapeutic Recreation from WWU in 2017, where she also minored in Spanish, both of which inspired her to serve marginalized communities through meaningful experiences. Having attended ANT Day Camp as a youth, Jessie felt drawn back to the farm to help other families access the healing programs and special animals, and she loves witnessing the tender relationships that develop between horses and participants. Of the many hats she wears at ANT, Jessie’s favorite is as a mentor in the New Horizons Recovery Program, where she helps teen women find new paths to sobriety. Off the farm, she is a cyclist and mountain biker and can often be found chasing her chocolate lab down the trails of Galbraith Mountain. A Bellingham native, she loves swimming in Chuckanut Bay, playing music at Taylor Dock, and hunting down the best local bakeries.

SHANNON MCCUNE-DICKERSON / Program Coordinator & Instructor

As Program Coordinator, Shannon welcomes new participants and their families to ANT with empathy and compassion. As an instructor, she calls upon her education background to provide youth with the highest quality programming, always with an emphasis on fun. Fun fact: You can see Shannon larger than life on our Mobile ANT van!

Haley Didier / PATH Certified Instructor

Haley is not only one of ANT's instructors, she is also an amazing artist, friend, and animal caretaker.

JACK AGUIRRE / Therapist

Joaquin (Jack) Aguirre M.A., LMFT is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who enjoys blending Equine Therapy at Animals as Natural Therapy. He has provided counseling to at-risk children/adults and their families for 22 years in hospitals, foster care and private practice settings. He also holds certificates in Biofeedback and Stress Management and as Trauma Response Specialist.

Kelsy Hartmann / Feeder & Barn Manager

Kelsy started working as one of ANT’s feeders in the summer of 2016. She is almost finished with her Bachelor’s Degree in Biology with a Pre-Vet emphasis at WWU. Her experience with farm animals before coming to ANT was limited, but Kelsy has learned so much from the all the amazing people and animals here. Her dream is to be a veterinarian with her own small farm someday!

BETTY BARATS / Volunteer Coordinator

Betty is our volunteer Volunteer Coordinator! She is a retired Special Education teacher and administrator, who now welcomes new community members to ANT. Betty tireless works to ensure that the farm is staffed by capable and committed hands.

SUE SWANK / Bookkeeper

Besides lending her talents as a bookkeeper, Sue also mentors for our youth programs!

Emily Gordon / Feeder

Emily has been part of the ANT team since March, 2015. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor's Degree in Biology at Western Washington University, with plans to become a veterinarian. Emily came to ANT with 10 years of equine experience, and was drawn to the inspiring and impactful way ANT uses the natural teaching of the horse to touch the hearts of the community. You may find her feeding the animals and mucking stalls the pens, mentoring youth during Day Camp, or volunteering at ANT events.

Celeste Hufford / Feeder

Certified Riding Instructors:

Sonja Wingard (PATH, CHA, and EAGALA)
Haley Didier (PATH)
Shannon McCune Dickerson (PATH and CHA)
Amanda Martin (PATH)

Horse Trainer:

Trisha Pendelton


Celeste Hufford
Emily Gordon


Sue Swank

Office Manager:

Jessie Pemble

Our Animals:

Horses, llama, dogs, goats, rabbits, chickens and a cat!

Our Volunteers:

More than 60 fabulous volunteers mentor program participants and care for the animals each week!  Check out our Volunteers Page to learn more.

Our Donors:

Business, Individual and Foundation Supporters help all year long through their donations.

Our Supporters