TOWNSEND, TN – Appalachian Bear Rescue announces the appointment of five new members to its Board of Directors, as well as the full slate of officers and board members for 2018/2019.

Joining the ABR Board of Directors are Teresa Brinson, Phil Colclough, Jerry Cunningham, Scott Kirkham, and Sam Venable.  All five of our newest board members embody the spirit of community and bring talent, expertise and energy to our organization. We feel very fortunate to have them on our team.

Teresa Brinson, Accountant at Ingram, Overholt & Bean, P.C., Alcoa, TN, since Sept 2007.  Before moving to TN, Teresa was a Senior Acctant at Davidson & Nick, CPAs, in Naples, FL, from 1988 to 2007.  Teresa served as the Treasurer of Little River Watershed Association in Maryville, TN, from 2008 to 2015 and since 2012 has served as the Treasurer of Experience Your Smokies Tennessee.

Phil Colclough, Director of Animal Care, Conservation and Education at Zoo Knoxville. Phil served as the primary investigator of a number of field projects involving Hellbenders, Timber Rattlesnakes and Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes. Graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in Anthropology in 1995 and is an avid whitewater kayaker and open water swimmer.

Jerry Cunningham, A graduate of University of Tennessee and University of Tennessee Law School, Jerry is a former Blount County Mayor, Captain USMC, Vietnam Veteran, Former United States Attorney and practiced law for 38 years.  Jerry currently farms and raises Belgian draft horses, has three children and five grandchildren and married to Janis Kleppe Cunningham for 50 years.

Scott Kirkham, an Automotive Journalist and writer with an underlying passion for charity, animals and writing.   Scott held the position as a Human Resources Specialist for 10 years, primarily in Background Investigations while assisting with employee retention and hiring initiatives. For the past 7 years Scott has spent his time pursuing a freelance writing career.

Sam Venable, a member of Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame and East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame, has written 13 books and has co-authored an additional 5.  He entertains as part of the “Talk is Cheap” comedy troupe.  Sam, along with wife Mary Ann, serves on the Board of Friends of Seven Islands State Birding Park, and on the Board of Friends of the Cumberland Trail.  Sam received his Journalism degree from UTK, with a minor in Forestry and Wildlife.  Though “retired” from the Knoxville News-Sentinel as its Outdoor Columnist for 15 years, he continues to write two columns per week.

The current Board Members are:

Jack Burgin, Chairman

DiAnne Wilson, Vice Chair – Community Outreach

SJ Geis, Secretary

Joey Holt

Ed Owens

Kathy Sherrard

Dana Dodd, Executive Director


ABR cares for orphaned and injured black bear cubs for return to their natural wild habitat; increases public awareness about coexisting with black bears; and studies all aspects of returning cubs to the wild.

*To date Appalachian Bear Rescue has assisted more than 260 black bear cubs and yearlings. (July 2017 data)

For more information on Appalachian Bear Rescue (ABR), visit our website:


Dana Dodd, Executive Director

Telephone: (615) 630-8428