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Our Team


Amy Baxendell-Young


Amy began her career with us as a member of the Animal Care Team in July 2016, after moving to Canada from Sydney, Australia in 2014. She attended the University of Western Sydney where she graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Animal Science. Her extensive career has involved working with five of the eight extant species of bears, which include Sun bears, Asiatic Black bears, North American Black bears, Brown bears and most recently, Polar bears. 

Over the years, Amy has played a role in all aspects of The Habitat, including conservation projects, education and fundraising. A highlight for her was taking part in Polar Bears International's (PBI) 2019 Climate Alliance program. Since then, Amy has also been chosen to be a Field Ambassador for PBI.


Amy was promoted to the position of Manager in March, 2022. While the bears will always be her number one passion and priority, she has used her experience and passion for the Polar Bear Habitat to help strengthen and further the centre, in order to continue providing the best care for polar bears in need. 

Paige Jessup

Guest Services Team Leader

Paige originally joined the guest services team in September 2022 on a part-time basis. Prior to moving to Cochrane, she graduated from Fleming College with a fish and wildlife technician diploma.

Paige utilizes her interest in wildlife and welcoming demeanor to not only greet our visitors, but to provide them with knowledge about the bears and the Centre they call home.


Kearin Goff

Animal Care Team Leader

Kearin began working at The Habitat in June, 2021 after attaining her Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Guelph, majoring in zoology. She was quickly promoted to the  Team Leader position in March of 2022. 


Kearin was drawn to The Habitat for our naturalistic approach to animal care and focus on conservation. She is passionate about animal welfare and advocating for wild polar bears.


In addition to providing exceptional care to our bears every day, Kearin has taken on the role of Chair Person for the PBH Education Committee. With the assistance of this committee, Kearin is working to improve and expand our educational programming.


Click here to read more about Kearin! 

Gail Palmer

Animal Care Team

Gail joined The Habitat team in May, 2022. Gail holds a Fish and Wildlife Technician diploma from Fleming College and has worked with animals for most of her career and personal life.


As an avid dog-sled racer, Gail brings with her many years of experience with behavioural training. During her first year as part of the animal care team, Gail has used her behavioural skills and calm demeanour to build a strong and trusting bond with the bears. 


Austin McIntosh

Animal Care Team 

Austin first joined the Polar Bear Habitat team as an intern in August of 2022, but was promoted to fulltime in May, 2023. Having attained his Fish and Wildlife Technician diploma from Fleming College, Austin has progressed quickly within the animal care team.  

Austin is enthusiastic about wildlife conservation and he spends much of his free time observing and photographing wildlife. His interest in arctic conservation has driven Austin to take a leading role in outreach campaigns such as Arctic Sea Ice Day and Polar Bear Week.  

Brooke Etherington

Animal Care Team

Brooke is one of the newest members of the Animal Care Team, having joined us in May, 2023. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science from Carleton University in 2021, Brooke's area of focus has been in  conservation and research of aquatic environments.

Brooke is looking forward to continuing her pursuit of conservation biology, now focusing on arctic ecology. In her spare time, she enjoys being outdoors with her rescue dogs. Her personal experience with behavioural training and managing chronic medications for her rescue dogs, as well as professional experience in the veterinary field will be advantageous to her during her time at the Habitat.

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