About Intertwined Conservation

Mission Statement

Conserving biodiversity in Latin America through education and collaboration.


Communities and wildlife living in balance.

About Us

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 support. 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.

Board of Directors

Jenna Duarte, Founder/President

Jenna Duarte is the Founder and Executive Director of Intertwined Conservation Corporation as well as an Animal Care professional. Born and raised in Ventura County, Jenna began her career volunteering at the Santa Barbara Zoo while earning her BA in Sociology and minor in Education and applied Psychology at the University of California Santa Barbara. 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.

Claudia Portillo, Vice President

Claudia Portillo was born in the norther region in Mexico, spend developmental years in Arizona, Texas and Illinois and identifies herself as a Adult Third Culture Kid.  As a teenager and all through her twenties she backpacked, camped and traveled solo through Western Europe and became a young executive in the Latin America Region, exposing her to global issues impacting this region.  That lead to a passion for global management with compassion and conservation. An avid hiker, she loved mountains – as a true desert native would. Now residing in San Diego, is learning to appreciate the ocean too and is the proud “pawrent” of a maltipoo Miah.

She is also Tech Chicas CEO and advocate of STEAM/STEM, she collaborates with Nonprofits to develop the organization with the use of lean methodologies, program / project management, and board governance. Claudia is certified in Six Sigma as a Black Belt, and Global Leadership Management and has extensive board governance experience.  Her passion for advocacy for women in technology fuels her desire to work with organizations creating change such as ICC in Latin America.

Armando Flores, Secretary

Armando Flores grew up here in San Diego and  has always worked to make the world a better place whether by focusing on conservation work or helping teach Accessibility and inclusion through technology.

Over the past few years Armando has worked with the  Braille Institute as a Computer TA, and has worked on the board of directors for the Seal Conservancy in La Jolla as well as for the Hispanic Business Student Association at SDSU.
In 2016,  Armando was part of the world winning Zoohackathon team and has worked as a Volunteer with the San Diego Zoo ever since.  This past year he was lucky enough to share his experience on the TED stage where he spoke on Immersive Conservation in the Classroom. He is looking forward to supporting the team at Intertwined Conservation in their mission in any way he can.
Donald Veale, Interim Treasurer

Donald is a retired business owner with a passion for wildlife and their preservation. Donald has served on a number of non-profit boards and brings that knowledge to ICC. Sharing his love for this planet’s animals through photography, volunteerism, and support of those who care about the future of wildlife.

Mary Zanotelli, Education Chair

Mary Zanotelli, ICC’s Education Chair, has been an environmental educator for over 25 years.  She has written curricula and presented programs for the San Diego Natural History Museum, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Groundwork San Diego, Earth Discovery Institute, Tecolote Canyon, and Friends of Rose Canyon. At present, she works full time teaching Nature Studies to students in grades K-6 at Innovations Academy, and is Education Chair on the board of San Diego Children and Nature.  Mary is also an award-winning writer and photographer, and is currently working on a series of children’s books.

Brad Delp, Interim Technology Chair

Brad has 17 years in the technology field. From working in an enterprise corporate helpdesk environment to outsourced CIO architecture based tasks. Starting in the Architectural/Engineering/Construction to independent consulting, to whatever’s next. When Brad is not in front of high technology, he enjoys finding peace out in the wilderness, with no cell service. Animals are a big passion of his,  so he very much enjoys the crossover to apply his work skills and experience to the conservation of all animals.


Rachel Harper, Marketing & Communications Director

Rachel grew up in the Reno/Tahoe area where she discovered her passion for wildlife through hiking, camping, and outdoor sports. After graduating with a Marketing degree, she moved to San Diego where her love of nature drew her to work for two wildlife conservation organizations. Rachel was the Marketing and Communications Manager at Living Coast Discovery Center for 2 years before moving on to her current position as Social Media Specialist for a Zoological facility. She believes the key to conservation success is education and raising awareness of the plight many plants and animals face. In her free time, Rachel loves to travel and has a special place in her heart for Costa Rica’s rich biodiversity and “pura vida” lifestyle.

Open Position, Social Media Committee Member

Looking for an enthusiastic, organized and talented Social Media Star to join our committee.

Karena Marrero, Education Director
Karena Marrero was born and raised in Orlando, FL. She went to Santa Fe College and earned an Associate of Science in Zoo Animal Technology. She realized she wanted to educate the public on how they can help save wildlife. She pursued that by becoming a bird trainer at Natural Encounters Inc, performing free flight bird shows before moving to California. She is very excited to continue educating through ICC by being the education coordinator and being on the front line of an animal advocate.
Matthew Cooney, Volunteer Director
Matthew Cooney was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. He went to high school in San Diego, CA, and graduated from San Diego State University with a bachelor’s degree in Business Marketing. After many years of business consulting Matthew completed a master’s degree in International Business at the University of Vienna in Austria, and decided he wanted to spend his life working to protect the environment through conservation. Matthew now works on several environmental and conservation projects, and is excited to help others pursue passions in conservation.

Legacy Board of Directors / Advisory Committee

Koby Wendt, Past President / Advisory Board Member

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 further his career in the animal care field. Koby has grown within the organization over the last thirteen years 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!

Marco Polo Preciado Aldava Wendt, Past VP / Advisory Board Member

This local San Diegan has been part of the zoological industry for over twenty years. Began under the guidance of Berwick Productions, working at Lorikeet Landing Exhibit and Bird Show at the local zoo. 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. Beak Geek, Bird Nerd, Avian Avenger and ready to be part of the Intertwined Team!

Cara Hartinger, Past Fundraising Coordinator / Advisory Committee

Cara brings with her a wide range of experience including a background in Financial Aid, Customer Service, Advertising, Teaching and Administrative skills.  Her interest in animal conservation and her record of volunteer work includes working with several local conservation organizations, and participating when new opportunities arise. Cara grew up in Connecticut, lived in Europe for a few years and has enjoyed San Diego for 30 years. She earned a Bachelor’s degree at the University of Connecticut and earned a Master’s degree from National University. Cara enjoys spending time with her family and her rescue Beagle, Molly and, since earning her 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, keeps healthy by swimming and participating in nature hikes!

Lindsay Bradshaw, Past Volunteer Coordinator / Advisory Committee

Lindsay Bradshaw has been working in the zoo/aquarium industry for over 15 years in both education and animal care.  Lindsay got her start working at the Vancouver Aquarium in Vancouver, BC, Canada while completing a Bachelors of Science in Earth and Ocean Science at the University of British Columbia.  After graduating, Lindsay moved to Maui, Hawaii to work at the Maui Ocean Center Aquarium as summer camp coordinator and later as their marketing and promotions coordinator.  After moving to San Diego, Lindsay worked at both Birch Aquarium at Scripps and then the Living Coast Discovery Center where her current title is Animal Care Manager – Registrar.  Lindsay has a passion for animals, especially birds, and she shares her home with a 9 year old African Grey parrot named Tiki.  Lindsay has a passion for education and conservation and loves to share her knowledge with others.