Zoo Development Coordinator
America's Teaching Zoo at Moorpark College
Year zoo career began:
Mara Rodriguez is the Zoo Development Coordinator at America’s Teaching Zoo at Moorpark College, where her role involves creating experiences that help educate people from around the country with the help of students enrolled in the Exotic Animal Training and Management program. These experiences and interactions help raise funds that improve the zoo. Mara has 30 years of experience as an animal trainer, and one of the best parts of her job is working directly with the zoo’s animal ambassadors to educate people. On a daily basis, Mara approves the zoo’s social media, interacts with guests at the zoo, helps students work with the animals, talks to zoo supporters and those interested in careers with animals, makes videos to promote the zoo, sets up fundraising events, and gives VIP tours.
Mara has an Associate of Science degree in Exotic Animal Training and Management. She worked as a freelance movie and television animal trainer for ten years while also working at the America’s Teaching Zoo. Mara worked as the Zoo Operations Assistant and Zoo Lab Technician before moving to her current position, Zoo Development Coordinator, where she uses her experience and love of people AND animals to inspire those around her to follow their dreams and reach their goals personally and professionally.
Mara’s favorite part of her job is watching animals bring people together, and her favorite animal is a human, because they can make the greatest changes to help our planet. For aspiring animal keepers, Mara says, “why not?”. It’s a different career path than most people take but do it because it will make you satisfied and happy. Also, remember that dreams don’t come true, but goals do- start setting your professional goals and finding the right people to help you reach them!