Jody Palmer

Jody Palmer
Director of Conservation


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.

Jake Zehnder

Jake Zehnder
Conservation Manager

jzehnder@brevardzoo.org, ext. 464

Growing up in Florida I’ve spent a lot of time on the water. Watching the slow decline of the Keys and the Caloosahatchee River were formative experiences for me. This pushed me to pursue a degree in Marine Biology and Sustainability from Florida Tech, graduating in 2011. Before joining the zoo I worked on plastic pollution, climate change, and consumer protection issues. I have a love of any activity that takes me out into the woods, oceans, and mountains. One of my life goals is to visit every National Park in the US (33% finished!).

Adam Klingenberg
Conservation Construction Lead


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.

Katey Leban

Katey Leban
Conservation Oyster Coordinator

kleban@brevardzoo.org, ext. 376

Raised close to Baltimore, Maryland, I have been in love with the ocean and its creatures since I was seven years old. My passion for wildlife conservation stems mainly from my exposure to zoos and aquariums across the United States; I have been able to view amazing, unique creatures due to these institutions and want future generations to have that experience as well. After earning a M.S. in Conservation Technology from Florida Institute of Technology, I’m so glad to be a part of Brevard Zoo’s Indian River Lagoon restoration team. I’m an avid sports fan and enjoy the many outdoor activities available on the Space Coast.

Callie Shaffer
Conservation Outreach Coordinator

cshaffer@brevardzoo.org, ext. 492

Raised in Christmas, Florida, I have always had a deep passion for the Indian River Lagoon.  After growing up in 4-H, public speaking and animals became the center of my life, leading to my pursuit of a B.S. Interdisciplinary Studies: Public Affairs with a Minor in Environmental Studies at the University of Central Florida. I am honored to be able to coordinate our volunteer efforts, fostering the connection between our community members and our precious estuary.

Olivia Escandell
Conservation Restoration Coordinator

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!