Marissa Villanueva, Animal Educator 

My first Zovargo event, I met the love of my life. His name was Chico and he melted my heart. I stood in awe as this bird was gingerly perched upon an educator’s index finger and fluffed his feathers, a puffball of sunshine. I broke my gaze and noticed the crowded room full of dropped jaws and gleaming eyes. Kids turned to their friends, who were strangers seconds before, cooing about how handsome Chico was, and—what?! His superpower is that he is super smart?! Incredible. Once Leo, our Bengal Cat Ambassador, was on the prowl, tiny hands reached out as if to see if this spectacular moment was merely a mirage. The tentative touches led to a sea of smiles. The whole room was lit up with joy!

This is the impact of Zovargo.

Anyone can spit out a couple animal facts or a choppy conservation message, but Zovargo takes the time to tailor programs to different people and learners. Nobody wants to be talked at or lectured. Zovargo not only makes “science come to life” and learning addictive, but people have the opportunity to safely interact with all types of animals and build memories to last a lifetime!

I never expected this internship to impact my life at the level it did. When meeting new people, I always mention how I am a Zovargo Intern. Making a commitment to anything is not an easy feat, but committing to Zovargo was definitely one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time. Not only do you get to talk about animals ALL the time, but you get to be a part of someone’s special moment when they conquer their fear of holding a tarantula or stand in awe of a Sun Conure like Chico.

July 2017 will be my one year mark as a Zovargo Intern. I am still gaining new skills and learning every program! Zovargo has helped me flourish as a public speaker and taught me interpretation skills which have helped me succeed in many aspects of my life. Being an intern prepared me tremendously to take on the role as an educator at SeaWorld. Since I was a little girl, I’ve dreamed of becoming an animal trainer. Interning at Zovargo is a great place to start getting animal experience! Amanda and Larry make sure their educators are equipped to take on the world by teaching us how to properly care for all our ambassadors, as well as provide crucial animal safety and handling training. After undergoing multiple trainings, I am able to lead programs and help train new team members. You too, can be a Zovargoian! You don’t make friends at Zovargo, you make lifetime bonds. I have never felt alone or anxious during a presentation because I knew my team had my back and I know they always will!

We are a family. We are Zovargo.

Christy Shimamoto, Animal Educator 

I had to opportunity to intern with Zovargo for six months. What an amazing experience! Amanda and Larry truly care about these animals. They really do practice what they preach. It was amazing to see how much time and effort they relentlessly poured into Zovargo.

Being an intern at Zovargo helped me gain many skills, including animal handling, public speaking, and learning how to connect with all sorts of people. I was often a shy speaker, but Zovargo helped me learn how to pour my passion for animals into my talks. Before I had never handled many of the species that Zovargo includes. Through this program I was quickly taught how to properly handle and care for all the different kinds of creatures. I would highly recommend interning here if you are interested in any career related to animals. Lastly, interacting with strangers at events helped me learn how to connect with people of all types and ages, and I became excited about sharing the love I had for animals with them.

I will never forget the rewarding experiences that Zovargo provided. The Zovargo team is truly an amazing group to work with. Every member deeply cares about the Zovargo mission.

Maddie Mullins, Animal Educator

I worked with Zovargo as an intern for six months beginning in February 2016 and had an amazing experience. Amanda and Larry make excellent leaders by modeling real dedication to their mission and striving always for excellence in their programs.

A big part of the animal internship program was training. Amanda has a wealth of experience and knowledge related to interpretation/education, and she was highly effective in passing on some of her skills to me. I was able to grow from a nervous and unsure educator at my first programs to the confident Animal Educator I am today, able to lead solo programs and assist in training other interns. Now at the end of my time with Zovargo, I can reflect on my experiences as both challenging and extremely rewarding. The atmosphere working with the team is one of acceptance and inclusion, and I walk away having built lasting friendships.

Thank you Zovargo! To anyone considering working with them or booking them, I recommend it wholeheartedly!
— Maddie Mullins

Samantha Smith, Animal Educator 

I had such a wonderful experience with Zovargo as one of their educators! Amanda and Larry are so passionate and it shows through their dedication to Zovargo. They gave me a place to share my passion for conservation education. Nothing beats the feeling of seeing someone understand their impact on the environment and realizing you helped make a difference. It’s not just facts! It’s a delivery in such a way that it is both entertaining and educational for everyone involved.
— Samantha Smith