Meet Our Staff
Founder & Executive Director
In high school and through my 20's I was a professional singer in numerous musical ensembles performing in rock, folk, & country/western bands in Montana and California. My interest in becoming a professional in the wild animal field began in 1980 when I toured the Moorpark College Teaching Zoo for the first time and came face-to-face with a mountain lion. I was hooked! As a student at Moorpark, I worked with that very mountain lion as well as many other wild and exotic birds, mammals, and reptiles. Upon graduation, I
moved to Sedona, Arizona, where I managed an animal shelter for a year. When an employment opportunity opened up at the Los Angeles Zoo’s Cat Show, I moved back to California for my dream job. We raised and trained a wide variety of cats for the show: ocelot, bobcat, lynx, caracal, serval,clouded leopard, cheetah, and two very special mountain lions named Phoenix and Sage. During my time at the L.A. Zoo, the “Cat Show” evolved into a native animal presentation called “Wild in the City.” When the show was suddenly terminated in 1993, the animals were relocated to the Moorpark facility where, at the time, I was also a part-time instructor. I applied for the proper permits and then founded the Nature of Wildworks Wildlife Center relocating the animals to our Topanga facility.
Wildworks is truly a dream career, and our organization now provides lifelong care for fifty non-releasable wild animals, encompassing 17 different species, that participate with our staff and volunteers in educational outreach programs for children and adults throughout Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.
Growing up I always had a love for animals. I was that kid that read my ocean animal encyclopedia from the Monteray Bay Aquarium on the daily. Not knowing my options, my plan in high school and even going into college was to become a vet, but after a job as a vet assistant, I realized that was not the career I wanted.
I attended San Diego State University and ended up receiving a Bachelor's in Anthropology. During my time at SDSU I did a summer volunteer program in South Africa at the Ann van Dyke Cheetah Center, and there realized I wanted to work with exotics. I also volunteered at the San Diego Zoo which is where I learned about Moorpark. After graduating from San Diego State, I attended the Exotic Animal Training and Management program at Moorpark College where I worked with foxes,
coyotes, a mountain lion, an African lion, a teeny tiny parrot, primates, and more. After Moorpark, I went on to do a summer internship at the San Diego Zoo with one of their animal ambassador programs. When my internship was over I saw the job posting at The Nature of Wildworks and instantly applied. I fell in love with the animals and the facility when I came in for my interview and have enjoyed working here every day since then. Before working at Wildworks I never imagined public speaking would be a part of my career, but now I can't imagine doing anything else. Inspiring people in the community to share the same passion for our native wildlife is one of the wonderful things that I get to experience through this job. This has truly become my dream job and I am so thankful for all of the opportunities and everything I have learned. I am excited to continue this journey with Wildworks.
Director of Animal Care
For six years I worked at The Butterfly Project lead by Dr. Jana Johnson, which is a conservation project that cares for, breeds, and releases two species of endangered butterflies native to California. The Project is located at Moorpark College, I started there as an intern while working on my Associate's Degree. After two years I transferred to CSU Channel Islands to work on my Bachelor's Degree in Biology, which I finished in 2015. From there I decided to apply and attend the Exotic Animal Training and
Management Program at Moorpark College, which I graduated from in May 2017. Since then I have worked with animals both exotic and domestic. I love that The Nature of Wildworks has so many different animals with amazing personalities that I get to work with and share with the public.