Lorien feeding Ivan the giraffe (18 feet tall!) at San Diego Zoo’s Safari park on one of her photo caravan tours.


Master’s in Experimental Psychology:

emphasis: primate & animal behavior

Animal Science Educator & Caregiver

Florida Master Naturalist

Nature & Travel Blogger

Nature Photographer

My love for nature and wildlife started in my own backyard in San Diego, California and visiting my grandparents in the deserts and canyons of Tucson and Sedona, Arizona. Many days were spent hiking the canyon trails near my home and observing wildlife. I loved taking pictures and wanted to work for National Geographic when I grew up. As a college student, I was fascinated by psychology and animal behavior. During my Master’s program at Central Washington University, I had the unique and incredible opportunity to help care for a family of five chimpanzees at the Chimpanzee & Human Communication Institute; Washoe, Loulis, Moja, Tatu & Dar, who learned ASL as part of an ape language research project in the 1960’s and 1970’s. It was a life-altering experience to be able to communicate in sign language with another species and to learn from them, care for them, and love them. I treasure the time I had with this amazing family of chimpanzees, and remember Washoe, Moja, and Dar with love. Tatu and Loulis now reside at Fauna Foundation in Canada.

Chimpanzees in the wild and captivity use natural gestures to communicate, which makes them well-suited to learn a gestural language used by humans, such as American Sign Language (ASL). Language studies with apes have given us a window into their intellect, ability to reason, plan for the future, problem-solve, and communicate emotions.

As a child, I spent many days at the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park, so it was a dream come true to do an internship at The Center for Reproduction of Endangered Species (CRES) at the San Diego Zoo, and to work as a photo caravan educator guide at the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park after graduate school. Along with my amazing co-workers, I spent my days educating the public about the beautiful giraffes, rhinos, and hundreds of other exotic species roaming through naturalistic enclosures mimicking the plains of Africa and Asia.

Ienjoyed presenting classes and shows with zoo education animals as an animal science educator at Utah’s Hogle Zoo. I went on to launch Wild Things, Science & Animal Explorations, my own animal science education company, sharing my love of animals and animal science outreach education with thousands of Utah residents. Being a business owner was one of the toughest jobs I’ve ever had, but it was also an amazing adventure and learning experience.

In search of better weather and a healthier climate, Our family of five moved to Southwest Florida three years ago after falling head over heels in love with the beauty and wildlife of Florida during several months of full-time RVing here. I loved Florida so much that I could not imagine living anywhere else. I was fascinated by the diversity of species here and couldn’t wait to learn more about the unique animals and plants we discovered each day. As I researched how I could increase my knowledge of Florida wildlife and ecosystems, I found the Florida Master Naturalist Program through the University of Florida. I graduated from the FMNP courses in 2020 and continue to try to increase my knowledge through reading and research trips to learn more about the incredible flora and fauna of Florida. 

We hope you will join our family virtually on our nature and travel explorations throughout Florida as we discover its wild beauty and fascinating places to adventure. We will share nature photography and products we have created in our nature shop, featuring iconic Florida wildlife we see on our travels. Maybe it will inspire you and your family to learn more about nature and plan your own amazing wild Florida trips. Thanks for joining the adventure with us!

Zorro the Adventure Pup often accompanies our family on nature adventures. He loves hiking and kayaking with us. Be sure to check out our blogs to see which eco-adventures and nature locations are dog-friendly! 🐶