Napa CART brings together volunteers with a broad range of relevant skills, including veterinary, operations, incident management, volunteer coordination and financial experience.
President and Board Member
Claudia Sonder, DVM is a 1995 graduate of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. She served as the Director of the Center for Equine Health at UC Davis from 2012-2016, and worked to improve Disaster Preparedness for horse owners and veterinarians during her tenure, in collaboration with IAWTI and BARTA. Dr. Sonder is an owner at Napa Valley Equine and has practiced in the Napa Valley since 1997. She sits on several boards serving equine welfare, and has responded to multiple large scale disasters.
Vice President, Secretary and Board Member
Saanen was born and raised on a farm, where her family raised dairy goats, saddle horses, donkeys, a mule, chickens, cows, pigs, llamas, sheep, and farmed with draft horses. Her family founded and has directed Vine Village since its inception in 1972 and she is currently Associate Director, Certified Administrator, and Client Care Manager of Vine Village, Inc. She attended local schools and graduated with honors from the University of California, Berkeley, where she was a member of the Cal softball team.
Treasurer and Board Member
Large Animal Shelter Coordinator
Sheila Edgington is the Treasurer and Board Member of Napa CART. She is a Senior Underwriting Analyst with The Doctors Company and has been Treasurer and Board Member for Napa Valley Horsemen’s for the past 7 years. She has a passion for helping animals and was excited to volunteer with a group of like minded people. Sheila was born and raised in Napa and resides with her husband, 2 children, 4 horses, 2 mini goats, and 30 animals on a small farm in the Coombsville area.
Field Operations Co-Leader
Advisory Board Member
Mike, along with his wife, Nancy, and their daughter, Saanen, has been involved with Napa CART from the beginning. He accompanied Dr. Claudia Sonder to Lake County during the devastating Valley Fire in 2015 and was very active in Napa CART’s efforts during the Wine Country Complex Fires of 2017.
In 1976, Mike purchased a team of Belgian draft horses and used them on the Kerson ranch and in parades. A Belgian/quarter horse cross foal was born at their ranch and lived there to the age of 33. In 2000, Mike adopted Ruby, a mustang filly from the BLM Wild Horse and Burro program. Mike trained Ruby and rides her and a fine mammoth donkey named Spike. Both Mike and Nancy became active BLM wild horse program volunteers, gentling and training many mustangs for adoptions. They have 5 mustangs, a mule, 2 donkeys, a dog, three cats, and a flock of chickens.
Mike, as “Video Mike Productions,” has made horse, mule, and donkey training videos for 6 equine trainers, and numerous documentaries featuring equines.
He has been the Executive Director of Vine Village in Napa, a non-profit residential and day activity ranch for people with developmental disabilities for 46 years.
ASAR (Animal Search And Rescue) Co-Lead
Napa CART Advisory Board Member
From early childhood, animals of all kinds have played a big role in Nancy’s life. As a child, when people asked her what she wanted to do when she grew up, the answer was simple: live in the country surrounded by animals! (It was only much later that she realized this question was actually about making money…)
After graduating from the University of New Mexico in 1970, Nancy taught school on a remote island in Alaska before marrying Michael Kerson and coming back to the “lower 48.” In 1972, the two, along with Mike’s parents and another man, founded Vine Village, Inc. a 501c3 program for people with developmental disabilities, which they continuously directed until retiring in 2023.
Nancy adopted her first Mustang, Sparky, in 2001. Nancy and Mike both have gentled and halter-trained several wild horses for the BLM adoption program, and their own personal herd now numbers 5 mustangs, a mustang mule, a BLM burro, and a mammoth saddle donkey. They also have a dog, 3 cats, and a flock of chickens.
Nancy has been active in Napa CART from the beginning, and was active in Napa CART’s response efforts during the 2017 and 2020 wildfires, as well as mutual aid for the 2018 Camp Fire and 2019 Kincade Fire. Currently she serves as ASAR Co-Leader.
Katherine has been in non-profit development for over ten years, with experience across the globe, including South America and Africa. She has worked with environmental, education, and human services organizations, in both program and development capacities, and currently works at Sonoma Ecology Center in Eldridge. She is also an experienced horsewoman, previously working with private clients in horse care and rehabilitation, and owning three, including a rescue from the Nuns Fire. Recent deployments include the Dixie Fire in Plumas County and the LNU fires in Sonoma/Napa counties.
Allen Harrison graduated from high school in 1976 and joined the US Army. He spent 8 years in the army working as a mechanic. After an honorable discharge in 1984, he went to work at Davey Tree, trimming trees for PG&E. In October 1989, Allen began working at CalTrans and worked on the tree crew for 10 years, then transferred onto a road maintenance crew as an equipment operator. In 2001, he became a qualified trainer for commercial driver license, and equipment qualification. He started supervising the crew after being promoted to Lead Worker in 2014, but continues to train employees. Allen has had horses for 20 years and 2 donkeys for 8 years.
Megan Van Coutren has lived in Napa Valley most her life. She moved to San Luis Obispo to attend college at Cal Poly. In 2004 she graduated with a B.S. in Animal Science and a minor in Equine Science.
After college, Megan worked in various positions in the equine industry, but in 2009 was introduced to Dr. Claudia Sonder and began working as a large animal veterinary assistant at her practice. In 2013, Megan became the Office Manager at the veterinary clinic.
Megan volunteered during the 2017 fires in Napa and in late 2018 she officially became part of the Napa CART team as Operations Manager.
Megan lives in Napa with her husband and their two girls and continues to manage the office at Napa Valley Equine.
Karen is a native San Franciscan who attended college at SDSU where she received a degree in Biological Sciences. After completing graduate school studies in Education, she moved to Napa to live with her now hubby Scott. They now happily share their ranch with 18 animals, livestock and pets alike
Karen has had a long tenure in veterinary medicine starting at age 15. She now teaches veterinary nursing throughout the Bay Area after a 27 year career working as a Registered Veterinary Technician. She also worked as an associate field biologist working on avian monitoring and reproductive studies for the USGS while studying at SDSU.
Karen joined Napa CART just after volunteering in the 2017 Tubbs fire here in Napa. Not long after she began managing Napa CARTS volunteers. Today you will find her coordinating the teams training program and advocating for animals at every turn.