- Jun 8
- By Lorien Villucci
My love for wildlife started in my own canyon backyard in San Diego, California and during visits to my grandparent’s homes in the deserts and canyons of Tucson and Sedona, Arizona. Many days were spent at the San Diego Zoo (little did I know I would later have a dream job working there!), and hiking on the canyon trails near my home; observing animals, insects, and plants. I loved taking pictures and writing stories, and I wanted to work for National Geographic when I grew up. I found nature endlessly fascinating, had many different types of pets, and loved exploring outdoors. As a college student, I became very interested in psychology and animal behavior. My undergraduate degree was in Psychology and my Master’s degree was in Experimental Psychology with an emphasis in primate/animal behavior. My education and experience led to some wonderful opportunities over the past 23 years to care for animals in zoo and sanctuary settings, and to provide education to the public related to the environment and Animal Science:
San Diego Zoo/Center for Reproduction of Endangered Species, San Diego, California: Intern for Primate Behavior research
Chimpanzee & Human Communication Institute, Central Washington University, Ellensburg, WA: Chimpanzee Caregiver, Educator for Public Outreach programs, Research Assistant. Master’s of Experimental Psychology/emphasis: Primate & Animal Behavior; 2000
Animania, San Diego, California: Animal Science Educator programs for K-6 school programs with live exotic animals.
San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park, Escondido, California: Educator Guide and Animal Keeper (loan program).
Utah’s Hogle Zoo, Salt Lake City, Utah: Animal Science Educator presenting public programs and shows with live exotic animals.
Wild Things, Science & Animal Explorations, Salt Lake City, Utah: Owner and Animal Science Educator presenting Animal Science programs with live exotic animals.
Florida Master Naturalist Program, University of Florida: Graduate of the FMNP courses; 2020.
Be Wild Florida: Author of nature blog bringing attention to Florida flora and fauna, conservation issues, and Florida eco-adventure travel.