OUR TEAM

Jody Palmer

Jody Palmer
Director of Conservation

jpalmer@brevardzoo.org

I’ve developed a passion for conservation at a very young age and always knew I wanted to help ‘Save the World.’ Raised along the coast, the water has become second nature to me and made marine and estuarine conservation an important part of my life. I enjoy overseeing a dynamic team of ambitious community-minded conservationists who are dedicated to the preservation and restoration of our natural resources and promoting a sustainable community. I also value the dedication of our extended team—our volunteers, their contribution is invaluable. My background in environmental education and animal behavior makes it easy to share conservation and sustainability messages to our community. I also find it exciting to help people incorporate eco-friendly choices that can make a real difference to the future of Florida.

Ashley Rearden
Conservation Curator

arearden@brevardzoo.org, ext. 284

Originally from the Midwest, Florida was always a favorite vacation spot where I could soak in sun, enjoy the beaches and watch the wildlife.  I was thrilled when a position opened at Brevard Zoo that would allow me to use my previous work experience, directing education and operation teams, to help manage the Zoo’s Restore Our Shores program.  Over time my position here has expanded to include overseeing all aspects of the conservation team, giving me the opportunity to use my experience to guide a very passionate group of individuals toward meaningful conservation action.  I really enjoy spending my time focused on making positive change in our community and in my free time I love being able to experience all that Florida has to offer with my family.

Olivia Escandell
Conservation Manager

oescandell@brevardzoo.org, ext. 431

As a Brevard county native, I spent much of my childhood exploring the Indian River Lagoon and local beaches. A fascination with marine life lead me to study Marine Affairs at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School for Marine and Atmospheric Science where I learned about the importance of conserving our natural resources for future generations. I first spent time working with oyster populations in North Florida but found my way back home after wanting to conserve the natural resources of our backyard. I’m excited to be a part of the Restore Our Shores team working to bring native shoreline habitats back to the Indian River Lagoon. I love sea turtles, native plants, cooking healthy meals, and enjoying Florida’s wild spaces with my German shepherd Nyla!

AK bio pic

Adam Klingenberg
Conservation Construction Lead

aklingenberg@brevardzoo.org

Hi, my name is Adam Klingenberg, I’m the Conservation Construction Lead with Brevard Zoo’s Restore our Shores team. I stared with the Brevard Zoo in July 2018 after studying marine sciences and geology at Florida Gulf Coast University. I pride myself on bringing a hardworking, fun-loving and adaptive learning attitude to work every day. Growing up on the Indian River Lagoon has formed a bond between myself and the outdoors, especially water. My love for water has also allowed me to create custom water features like fish ponds and waterfalls in my spare time. Every day I learn new things and it fuels my passion for Florida’s ecosystems and the perils they face. I look forward to seeing the Indian River Lagoon in 50 years knowing we had a part in preserving its beauty.

Jessica Lang
Conservation Coordinator

jlang@brevardzoo.org, ext. 492

As a Florida native, I grew up with a passion for the outdoors and natural spaces. While studying Marine Biology at Florida Tech, I worked for the Everglades Youth Conservation Camp. It was there I found my passion for educating my community about conservation and outdoor exploration. I began my zoo journey as an intern for the lagoon quest program, where I got my feet wet and learned about our Indian River Lagoon. I immediately knew I wanted to be part of the solution, so I am excited to be on the Restore Our Shores team and focus on community outreach, inspiring the next generation of environmental stewards. In my spare time I sew, crochet, and watch the Chicago Cubs (hopefully win).

Tyler Provoncha
Conservation Coordinator-Permitting

tprovoncha@brevardzoo.org, ext. 464

Born and raised in Brevard County, I have always enjoyed kayaking and exploring the lagoon. This passion for being outside and my desire to understand how to preserve the natural beauty around me led me to pursue an Environmental Science degree at Florida Tech. During my time there I worked with muck, oxygen dynamics, and other abiotic factors and how they relate to lagoon restoration. I am proud to use that knowledge to help our conservation team, as well as to direct our permitting and monitoring efforts. When I’m not in the field, I enjoy gardening or visiting parks and trails around Florida.

Hope Leonard
Conservation Restoration Coordinator

hleonard@brevardzoo.org , ext. 1012

Growing up in Melbourne, FL I was always outside; whether I was at the beach, on a spoil island or playing soccer, I have always loved being out in the Florida sun. As a kid I was fascinated watching Jeff Corwin and Steve Irwin on animal planet; my love for animals only grew when my dad brought me on a turtle walk for my eighth birthday. Every summer of my childhood was spent either at Brevard Zoo Camp or hiking up in Idaho with my grandmother. These experiences made choosing my undergraduate degree simple: zoology. During my time at the University of Florida, I took a specialty class in sea turtle biology which inspired me skipping my college graduation to move to Greece and accept a job in loggerhead sea turtle conservation. While I was there, I was convinced by some of my colleagues to pursue a masters in Global Ecology & Conservation based out of Cardiff, Wales, UK. When covid hit I felt the lagoon calling me home, so I finished my masters and pursued a position in Brevard. I am so happy to now be a part of the Restore Our Shores team and am ecstatic that I now get to work to make my home a better place for generations to come.

Andrea Perry
Conservation Field Technician

aperry@brevardzoo.org, ext. 376

As a native to Central Florida and a new resident to Brevard, I am excited to be a part of such a passionate and multidisciplinary team working for the restoration of our Indian River Lagoon! As an avid Scuba and free diver, I have always had a love for our marine ecosystems and maritime archaeology. I received my bachelor’s in Environmental Studies & Anthropology from UCF and have experience in water quality, aquatic restoration, and urban planning. I’ve also done multiple archaeological field schools along our Space Coast, rescuing prehistoric sites from rising sea levels and shoreline erosion. When I’m not waist deep in the lagoon or in dirt, I enjoy camping, kayaking, hiking, and thrifting.

Kimberly Rudolph
Administrative Assistant

krudolph@brevardzoo.org, ext. 381

After working with the State of New Jersey for 29 years, it was time to retire and relocate to the beautiful State of Florida.  It wasn’t long after settling in that I began volunteering at Brevard Zoo.  Being a new resident to Brevard County and hearing about the perils of lagoon conditions, I wanted to learn more and see what I can do to help.  This led me to my current position with the Conservation Department.  It’s rewarding knowing that my small part can help in the larger picture of restoring the lagoon!  If I’m not at my desk assisting homeowners, and the opportunity arises, I’m out in the field assisting the team.