Student Voice

America’s Teaching Zoo hosts annual Rendezvous fundraising event

EATM+student+Aja+Ferretti+proudly+presents+Puppy+the+turkey+vulture+to+a+crowd+of+attendees+at+the+annual+Rendezvous+at+the+Zoo+event.+Like+Ferretti%2C+the+students+within+the+EATM+program+use+their+knowledge+and+fondness+of+animals+to+continuously+educate+others+and+promote+the+well-being+of+exotic+animals.+Photo+credit%3A+Dallas+Vorburger
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America’s Teaching Zoo hosts annual Rendezvous fundraising event

EATM student Aja Ferretti proudly presents Puppy the turkey vulture to a crowd of attendees at the annual Rendezvous at the Zoo event. Like Ferretti, the students within the EATM program use their knowledge and fondness of animals to continuously educate others and promote the well-being of exotic animals. Photo credit: Dallas Vorburger

EATM student Aja Ferretti proudly presents Puppy the turkey vulture to a crowd of attendees at the annual Rendezvous at the Zoo event. Like Ferretti, the students within the EATM program use their knowledge and fondness of animals to continuously educate others and promote the well-being of exotic animals. Photo credit: Dallas Vorburger

EATM student Aja Ferretti proudly presents Puppy the turkey vulture to a crowd of attendees at the annual Rendezvous at the Zoo event. Like Ferretti, the students within the EATM program use their knowledge and fondness of animals to continuously educate others and promote the well-being of exotic animals. Photo credit: Dallas Vorburger

EATM student Aja Ferretti proudly presents Puppy the turkey vulture to a crowd of attendees at the annual Rendezvous at the Zoo event. Like Ferretti, the students within the EATM program use their knowledge and fondness of animals to continuously educate others and promote the well-being of exotic animals. Photo credit: Dallas Vorburger

By Mary Altshuller

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Moorpark College’s America’s Teaching Zoo presented its sixth annual Rendezvous at the Zoo event on Thursday, Oct. 12, hosting a night of fundraisers, refreshments, and zoo themed festivities.

A silent auction, sponsored by Malibu Family Wines, took place under tents in the parking lot, as well as the terrace adjacent to the zoo. Proceeds went to support the Exotic Animal and Training Management Program (EATM) and the zoo. Attendees sipped beer and wine and ate hors d’oeuvres while viewing the selection of items to bid on.

EATM students displayed animals from their zoo including snakes, exotic birds, sugar gliders, a donkey and a miniature horse. Over the duration of the EATM program, many students develop favorite animals.

“There are so many animals to choose from,” said Tim Caneraro, 28, and second-year EATM student. “I guess the closest one to my heart would be Kadogo, the spotted hyena. She just stole my heart over the summer.”

“I have to say Spirit the mountain lion was my dream to work with when I was a student here,” said Karly Wrodman, 28, and graduate of the EATM program. “Also the Abyssinian Ground Hornbill had a lot of personality, more so than his mother. He was very flirtatious and loved to be on display.”

Mara Rodriguez, Instructor Tech for the Teaching Zoo, shared what Rendezvous at the Zoo means to her.

“Rendezvous at the Zoo is a labor of love,” said Rodriguez. “It was started six years ago. We’d never done anything like this before. We never had an event that was for adults only; no event where there was wine and beer. It started small and grew as we learned a lot and have had many guests.”

There was a featured honoree at the event as well. Martine Colette, founder and director of The Wildlife Waystation in the Angeles National Forest. Colette purchased 160 acres and incorporated it in 1976 for the rehabilitation and rescue of exotic animals. The zoo presented her with the Platinum Paw Award.

“Martine is a wonderful donor,” said Rodriguez. “She has given up her time to help with the animals, given talks, has helped organize field trips to the Wildlife Waystation, and was the first person to offer to help evacuate our animals during the 2003 wildfire. She offered carriers and cages for them to be evacuated to a safe place.”

EATM students agreed that the event was an opportunity to work with the animals, meet the public and bring awareness of how important it is for the humans to be good stewards to the animals.

“It’s a great opportunity to connect with the public and show them what we’re about and we can be good stewards,” said Desirae Dodson, 21, second-year student.

“For me, it’s allowing us to include the community and a great way to connect,” said Laura Melaragno, 24, second-year student. “Without them, it would not be possible.”

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About the Writer
Mary Altshuller, Copy editor

Mary Altshuller is the Student Voice's long-serving copy editor. This is her fourth semester on the newspaper staff, where she has also worked as a reporter...

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