Intertwined Conservation Corporation (ICC) is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt, not for profit, organized for the protection and preservation of endangered species, educating the public about the dangers of species loss, and to encourage local economic development as a means of deterring poaching. ICC was founded on July 11th, 2013. Founder and Director Jenna Duarte began working in the zoological industry in 2002, where she was connected with local conservation organizations in California. Driven to do more, Jenna started seeking out other conservation opportunities outside the country. After working with rehabilitation and release projects in Costa Rica and Peru, she found that these incredible organizations were seriously in need of more volunteer and financial help. It was then that the idea for Intertwined Conservation first blossomed.
Intertwined Conservation began as a connecting base for nature – its beauty, mysteries, and inhabitants – and people who have grown increasingly distant from their origins. We crave to observe first-hand trees taller than skyscrapers, waterfalls in hidden canyons, troops of monkeys in their natural habitats, and other natural wonders that are rapidly changing and disappearing. Where we find these treasures, we also find local efforts in need of support and greater awareness to preserve and protect them.
On our quest to preserve biodiversity, we start by working closely with conservation organizations for the preservation and protection of endangered and threatened habitat and species in Costa Rica. Using the scarlet macaw as our flagship species, we are educating communities in Costa Rica about the importance of protecting wildlife and working with them to monitor a reintroduced population of these birds.
We begin our work in Central America, and will expand our efforts with every opportunity that is presented. There is work to be done on every continent, and we seek to make a difference wherever possible.
Jenna Duarte is the Founder and President of Intertwined Conservation Corporation and current zookeeper for the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Born and raised in Ventura County, Jenna began her career volunteering at the Santa Barbara Zoo. She quickly climbed the ranks but felt a longing itch to do more for wildlife preservation. Jenna made a vow to become a trailblazer in the world of conservation traveling the globe to insure the safety and survival of many of earth’s endangered species. From the California condor and Channel Island fox, to the Humboldt Penguin and Great Green and Scarlet Macaw of Central America, Jenna has made it her passion to help give a voice to the voiceless. As the administrator of the successful Intertwined non-profit organization, Jenna assists in educating the public about the dangers of species loss in order to create a greater awareness of the pitfalls that currently face our world’s wildlife. An avid animal lover, Jenna is the proud companion of a Siberian husky, an African Grey parrot, and many other rescued winged-friends.
Autumn Nelson is an Animal Care Supervisor in the Collection Husbandry Science Mammal Department at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. She is responsible for overseeing the husbandry of various species of mammals, as well as the management of a large keeper staff. Autumn has over 24 years experience in animal care in zoos and aquariums. Working at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park has given her the unique chance to get involved in conservation projects.
Autumn was excited to join Intertwined Conservation Corporation as board Vice President because she is passionate about conservation work and has a special interest in Costa Rica. In college she travelled there to study conservation, tropical biology and Spanish. During that time she fell in love with the culture and beauty of the country and has always wanted to do more to help animals facing extinction.
This local San Diegan has been part of San Diego Zoo Global for over sixteen years. Began under the guidance of Berwick Productions, working at Lorikeet Landing Exhibit and Bird Show at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. After a rewarding twelve years, he moved on to join the Behavior Team, participating in the brand new Frequent Flyers Bird Show. He was then fortunate enough to shift focus into breeding and conservation efforts as a Bird Keeper for the Safari Park. Beak Geek, Bird Nerd, Avian Avenger and ready to be part of the Intertwined Team!
Koby Wendt started his Zoo career when he was 19 years old as an Apprentice Elephant Trainer at Six Flags Marine World in Vallejo, California. He worked with the elephants there while helping raise some tiger cubs for the facility as well. After two short years, Koby moved down to San Diego to eventually become a part of the San Diego Zoo Global family. Working at the Safari Park he drove Caravan Safari Tours (eventually guiding them as well) and then moved back into animal training helping to put on the Safari Park’s daily Cheetah Run. Koby has grown within the organization and now holds an Animal Trainer Lead position. After the working hours Koby works with his husband Marco taking care of their managerie of rescue animals. One of those rescues being a Scarlet Macaw. Having her reminds him daily of how Scarlet Macaws and many other animals in the world need our help so that we may see them for generations to come. This is why Koby says he’s a proud part of Intertwined!
Danielle volunteers with Intertwined Conservation Corp. as the fundraising coordinator. She has some fundraising experience and wanted to use it for conservation. Danielle currently works as an animal trainer, but has always had a passion for wildlife at a very young age. She has a BS in Biology and a BA in geology with a minor in chemistry. Currently she is completing her masters in Zoology. Danielle has worked in the veterinary field and in informal educational settings as well. She enjoys public speaking especially when it is about animals and conservation. Sharing information with the public is something she is passionate about because she believes everyone can make a difference in their own way, whether big or small.
Founder of the former ARA Project. Originally from New Zealand, Chris specializes in Captive Wild Animal Management and is responsible for the raising and release of more than 150 macaws over 11 years with a success rate of over 90%. He was featured in the critically-acclaimed PBS documentary “Parrot Confidential” (PBS USA broadcast, internationally broadcast by Sky Broadcasting AG) that premiered November, 2013.
Ilona Thewessin a Biologist originally from Belgium, now Resident of Costa Rica, has worked with macaws in-situ and ex-situ over the past 10 years. She currently manages Wild Macaw Association in the Southern region of Costa Rica, one of the worlds most successful and established release sites for Scarlet macaws.