Angelica Grunloh, Senior Animal Educator, 2017-Present 

I found Zovargo at a very strange and important time in my life. It was the Summer of 2017 and I had just graduated from a good school with a brand new degree in Biology. I also had loans, bills, and lots of reality to contend with (in some ways for the first time ever), and no idea how I was supposed to go about carving a meaningful career in the midst of all of this. I allowed myself to get off-track, maybe even a little lost.

I found Zovargo during this time, and it was exactly what I needed: an opportunity to work with animals while being immersed in conservation and ecology and all the science-y things I’ve always loved. It very quickly became much more than that, in ways that I was not at all prepared for. Almost immediately, I found myself getting comfortable speaking in front of an audience. The public speaking aspect of Zovargo had initially frightened me, and it did take a couple of programs to really ease the trembling from my hands and voice, but my fellow educators were right there with me, making the whole thing much less intimidating. Being able to effectively educate a large group of people is an incredibly empowering skill, and I am so thankful that I was given the opportunity to develop in this way.
Amanda and Larry pour so much work, effort, and love into every aspect of Zovargo. As an intern, I was constantly being offered new tools to help me develop as an educator, as well as endless encouragement. They also absolutely love every animal ambassador as a a member of the family, which was how I knew immediately that I had found the right place. Working with Zovargo’s animal ambassadors has been deeply rewarding in ways that I don’t think I can properly describe. I have learned so much, and gained so much valuable experience as both an educator and as someone looking forward to a career in wildlife research. And I’m not done yet! My internship started in September of 2017 and ended eight months later when I became a Senior Educator and permanent member of the Zovargo team. Since this promotion, I have been entrusted with increasing amounts of animal care as well as educational program development. I decided pretty early on that I was going to give my all to Zovargo, and Amanda and Larry have responded with encouragement and enthusiasm that still knocks the wind out of me from time to time. The idea “you get out what you put in” is an old one and is often bandied about, but in this case, IT’S TRUE!
— Angelica Grunloh

Jacque Dunbar, Animal Educator, 2018-2019

Zovargo has been to many events in the community and I have been nothing but impressed with their programs. The founders, Amanda & Larry, obviously have put many hours of their time and a lot of care into creating an amazing organization that inspires kids and adults alike to be stewards to their community and the world. The animals they bring to these events are incredible and help get people interested in learning about them and how they can help animals and the environment. The staff is also great, they always are very knowledgeable and good with managing guests of all ages- especially kids! This is a wonderful organization that brings a unique and positive experience to the San Diego area!
— Jacque Dunbar
Campz2018_d1_017E.jpg

Madison Hills, Animal Educator, 2018-2019

madison_zovargo

Being a part of Zovargo has been one of the most amazing opportunities that I have come across to this day. I found Zovargo after graduating from college and I was at a point of defeat from the many job and internship applications that I had turned in with no luck. I had almost decided to take a break from searching when I decided to look one more time for potential work in my field and that is when I found Zovargo. I am so grateful that Amanda and Larry took a chance with choosing me to become one of the Zovargo team members because it turned out to be such a transformational and developmental time for me.

Over the year that I interned with Amanda, Larry, and the other fellow educators with Zovargo, I grew in so many ways and my initial idea of a dream job had begun to expand with the new knowledge I had acquired. I knew Zovargo was going to be exciting because it allowed me to work with so many different animals, but not only that, I was going to be sharing the beauty of wildlife and helping others grow to love and strive for wildlife conservation like I have always wanted to do. Zovargo is truly a family of supportive and fun members with the same goal in mind… help share the message of conservation. I was so lucky to have these intelligent minds around me during my time interning and it is because of them that I have more confidence in pursuing a career helping wildlife.

Initially, the idea of presenting to the public and speaking in front of large crowds was very scary, but this is by far where I have grown the most. I am so grateful to have learned the skill of public speaking because it is something that I can now confidently do and carry with me through life and use in my future. I was able to grow so much here because of the incredible team that makes up Zovargo. Every program I would be at, I knew there was the Zovargo crew to help and support each other in getting our message out and helping each other become better at what we do. Without Zovargo I would not be able to put myself in front of large groups and speak to them like I can today.

Being a Zovargo educator intern has undoubtedly opened different and exciting doors and provided me with new tools to take with me as I pursue working with wildlife. The support that Amanda and Larry provided to me, always ready to help with and answer my questions if I had any, helped me feel comfortable and confident during my time interning. They were always encouraging and ready to give feedback if I wanted it, which allowed me to continuously work on bettering my abilities. The connections I made with the animal ambassadors will never be replaced or duplicated as I got to know each ones individual and unique personality while I worked closely with them during the educational programs and animal care and they will always have a special place in my heart.

A year with Zovargo has given me so many new possibilities for my future. I am so grateful for the organization and the team members, that are now friends for life, as I continue my path.


Todd Jackson, Videographer, 2017-Present

Zovargo_Todd

Zovargo is pretty awesome. I've actually seen quite a few presentations and each one has been fun and exciting. The animals they bring are great, but what I really like is the conservation message they spread to the kids. I've seen kids make changes in their everyday life to conserve the planet and that's what we need! Really cool stuff. If you're thinking of booking them for an event, just do it!


Vanessa Morgan, Animal Educator, 2016-2019 

I have been with Zovargo for the past 2 years, and every moment has been a privilege. At Zovargo I have had the honor of being able to be part of the mobile outreach programs that they perform. We have a large variety of programs, but no matter where we go some things never change. At Zovargo, we are united by our passion for animals and motivated by the change we want to see in our world. There is no better way that this is expressed than through our programs. Every time I go to a program with Zovargo we all leave knowing that we made a difference. We don’t just educate about our animals, we inspire conservation stewardship. We empower our audience to care about the critically important issues that wildlife and the planet faces, but inform them with methods in which they can make a difference. I am so eternally grateful to be a part of this process. Being able to witness such wonders continues to amaze me every time. Zovargo really cares, more than any other animal organization that I have experienced. They put their heart and soul into every program and as a result everyone is left in awe at the end. Zovargo is such an exceptional organization for so many reasons and each year their impact grows stronger and stronger. I can’t express enough how grateful I am to be a part of it. Zovargo has allowed me to grow as an educator and as a person. I attribute this to how supportive they have been to me. They have been there for me every step of the way and have helped guide me to where I want to be. I truly love this wonderful organization, it is so dear to me and I could not recommend it any higher.


_DSC8832.jpg

Rhittyaa Hang, Digital Media/Marketing, 2017-Present

Zovargo is absolutely a home away from home to me. It’s been over a year now since I’ve moved to San Diego, and during the first few months, I literally knew no one. I was completely by myself. I’m sure we can all relate to moving from a small town to the big city for school or a job. I was extremely fortunate that my academic advisor had recommended me for a Digital Media Internship with Zovargo. As soon as I went into his office, he had pretty much said to me: “This Internship is PERFECT for you.”

Then my story with Zovargo began,
April 2018 will mark my one year working with Zovargo, and I can guarantee you that there have been no regrets. At this point, it is been more than just an internship, or professional development. It has been a compassion that drove me to excel and help spread the message with Zovargo about conservation. Amanda, Larry, and I have seen a magnitude of growth in my already dedicated work ethic, but as well my photography, graphic design, or anything really digital. It didn’t stop there either, I’ve learned so much from going to event to event, at a photographer’s stand point, but as well as a team member of Zovargo.

I can go on, and on about how much I’ve grown just within one year with Zovargo, but honestly the most genuine and dearest thing in my heart that I’ve learned from Amanda and Larry was to do what you love. That will in turn will let you grow into someone that you never thought you could be. I couldn’t have done it without them, and the rest of my Zovargo Family.

So cheers to them, and for the future of Zovargo. If I become an Art Director for National Geographic, or even a Ranger for a National Park. It would not happen if were not been for Amanda, Larry and my Family at Zovargo that got me there. Until then, even after I graduate I’ll still be volunteering with Zovargo, because they taught me,

Do what you love!
Zo-Var-GOOOOO!!


Zovargo 3-3-18-6.jpg

Ann-Cathrin Howard, Zovargo Educator, 2018

After attending my first Zovargo presentation, I knew that I had found the right place to share my passion for animals and the environment.

Working with Team Zovargo – a group of people who are passionate about animals and nature – makes for unforgettable experiences. It was wonderful to be able to learn from one another and to create a bond grounded in the wish to make the world a better place.

Amanda and Larry’s commitment to animal conservation and education, as well as their dedication to the Zovargo ambassadors is second to none. They represent consummate role models for every animal lover and conservationist around. I thank them both for their guidance and support throughout my internship with Zovargo.

During my internship with Zovargo, I had the opportunity to broaden my knowledge about animal handling and husbandry, as well as speak in front of many types of audiences. All in all, Zovargo’s Animal Educator Internship provided a wonderful way to give back to the community and to help others experience the unforgettable human-animal bond that convinces us all to protect nature.


Jennifer Hayward, Content Manager / Administrative Support, 2016-2017

"This internship is a great platform to develop skills required for a career in the animal world! Through presenting, your public speaking skills will grow and you will be trained in animal handling and how to deal with public interaction.

I started with Zovargo around September 2016 and have continued to work with them for more than a year. They initially were offering a 6-month internship – but they are super flexible once this time is up and were kind enough to give me an extension and more responsibilities on different projects. Zovargo are a great company to intern with – they offer a variety of opportunities; from educators to photographers to event planning to admin – if you have a skill set you think you can use well they will give you the platform and are always encouraging with new ideas for Zovargo growth.

Amanda and Larry work so hard to keep Zovargo successful and just seeing the ‘behind the scenes’ of what goes into a small business was really inspiring to me. They have a great model, and it is so important that the driving force behind the company is a true love of animals and ambition to educate the community.

The Zovargo community is great to be involved in – they are a kind hearted, hard working group. As well as getting to know the team during events and presentations – lots of effort is made to hold social occasions outside of work. From birthdays, to the yearly retreat, to seasonal team bonding it is a really fun group to be a part of. I DEFINITELY recommend applying for an internship with Zovargo if you want to develop your experience working with animals and with animal loving people."


Sarah Fletcher, Animal Educator 2016-2017

zovargo_sarahFletcher
Zovargo is such a close knit group and it feels so good to have these people as my friends! I love being around and learning about animals and it’s so amazing to find people who are just as into that as I am! I really enjoyed my experience as a Zovargo intern! Teaching kids how to love and respect animals is so rewarding!
— Sarah Fletcher

Juliana Henao, Senior Animal Educator, 2016-2017

I worked with Zovargo as an Animal Educator Intern and I can honestly say it was one of the BEST experiences I have had since I moved to San Diego. Zovargo not only provided me with new knowledge on animals I had never worked with, but sparked my passions for critters I never knew I could love (Grace!). Amanda and Larry provided such great materials for their interns, allowing us to be fluent in animal behavior and education while we were presenting. They allowed us to be independent on stage but always reassuring us they were there to back us up. Creating connections with Leo, Chico, Baby Bird, and even the cockroaches only affirmed what I have always believed to be true about animals: their hearts are purer than gold. Did you know cockroaches can have personalities? I learned that from experience! Being with Zovargo made me feel like a part of something greater in my community and I am forever thankful for the time I spent with them.

Marissa Villanueva, Senior Animal Educator, 2016-2018

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, 2015-2016

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, 2015-2016

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, 2015-2016 

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