Lauren began volunteering at Free Flight after being inspired by an outgoing parrot during her time as a photographer at the San Diego Zoo. Passionate about birds from an early age, she longed to gain more experience not only working with them, but sharing their incredible nature with others. She went on to work as a youth educator with the National Audubon Society before officially joining the Free Flight staff in 2014. Through Free Flight she also met and adopted her own precious parrots, “Skittles,” “Bowie,” and “Mercury.”
Lauren enjoys incorporating her photographic and educational experience into daily life at Free Flight. She is especially fond of guiding young individuals to advocate for avian welfare and conservation within the sanctuary as well as the greater community. Lauren hopes to one day work with environment restoration, wildlife rehabilitation and community awareness efforts in Central and South America.
Avian Care & Visitor Enrichment
Avian Care & Visitor Enrichment
Susy was born and raised in Italy. Like many other supporters of animal care and conservation, as a child she dreamed of working with animals and becoming an advocate for their well-being. She spent much of her childhood living and working at her grandparents’ ranch, where she fed, cared for and tended to their many farm animals. Italian universities offer very limited opportunities to earn a degree in animal care, so she chose instead to pursue and obtain a degree in Economics and Finance, and graduated with a Master's degree in Management. After working as a Financial Controller for ten years for several multi-national companies, Susy moved to San Diego and decided to seek opportunities in the field that she has always loved: animal care, behavior and conservation. She volunteered with several facilities such as Lions Tigers and Bears, the San Diego River Park Foundation, and the San Diego Zoo, where she was hired first as an Educator in the Tours and Premium Product department and later as an Animal Keeper. She also recently earned a Master's degree in Zoology and Conservation through Miami University (Ohio) in collaboration with the Institute for Conservation Research (Escondido). Susy started volunteering at Free Flight in early 2017, and after a few months -- thanks to her dedication, enthusiasm and commitment to our mission -- she became part of our staff.
As a zookeeper and educator, as well as a compassionate and dedicated bird lover, Susy strives to inspire our visitors to share our passion for what we do, and to help them to develop an emotional connection to the wonderful world of exotic companion birds.
Brian began volunteering at Free Flight while in high school to occupy himself during summer break. With no prior experience working with parrots, he was quickly charmed by their dynamic personalities. After regularly volunteering and becoming familiar with the many Free Flight resident birds, he was thrilled to join the staff in 2018. As a staff member, he enjoys learning the many quirks of each bird that make them an individual and using that to strengthen his bond with each bird, especially those that are less outgoing and charismatic than others. He also enjoys learning how to properly care for the complex ecosystem of Free Flight’s koi pond. Brian is currently pursuing a degree in Biology at San Diego State University.