President's Message


The launch of BirchBark Foundation is a dream that's been germinating for some time.

After decades of veterinary practice on the Central Coast, I reflect on how lucky I am to work in an area full of people who love animals, and on the remarkable demonstrations of the human-animal bond I’ve seen over the years.

One of the most challenging parts of my job is watching people say goodbye to a savable pet because of a financial obstacle. BirchBark is the result of a dream to help those people keep that wonderful bond with their pets by helping to remove all or part of the financial obstacle. At the same time, we offer information to help people be the best caregivers and health advocates they can for their pets.

I'd like to extend a huge thank-you to all those who've encouraged and supported us as we've developed BirchBark Foundation. We couldn't have gotten here without the support of our Founders Circle, Associate Member hospitals, the generosity of our friends & supporters, our volunteers and the community members who have helped us in countless ways.  Thank you all!

Dr. Merrianne Burtch, DVM, DACVIM
Founder, BirchBark Foundation

Board of Directors

Merrianne Burtch, DVM, DACVIM
Founder, Board President

Kellie Murphy
Board Vice-President

Alyssa Plicka, CPA
Board Treasurer

Darlene Sawyer
Interim Executive Director & Board Secretary

Betsy LeClerc
Board Member

Nicole Schowalter
Board Member

Daniela Apostol
Board Member

Anne Young
Board Member

Management Team

Nicole Tanner
Director of Operations

Sarah Weagle
Helpline Coordinator

Kimiko Marr


Julie Ann Lozano
Community Outreach Coordinator

Terri Drake, LMFT
Grief Support Facilitator


Advisory Board

Merry Trucksis, Trucksis Ent. Inc.

Merry Trucksis, Trucksis Ent. Inc.

Ron Wormser, Author & Consultant

Ron Wormser, Author & Consultant

Alan Stark, CPA, MBA, CITP

Alan Stark, CPA, MBA, CITP


Recognizing those that
make our work possible.

Our mission has been supported by numerous individual donors, businesses, community groups, schools and nonprofit organizations. Without their generosity, our ability to help others in our community would be compromised. 

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