The Animal Embassy team is a tight knit group of caring, compassionate professionals. We have a strong commitment to education, the community, wildlife and the environment.
Chris Evers is a naturalist specializing in wildlife conservation and environmental education. In 2002, Chris founded Animal Embassy, dedicated to exotic animal rescue/adoption and environmental education. Chris brings over twenty-five years of experience teaching children, working with nature centers and nonprofit environmental organizations, and developing educational programming.
Chris has rescued or adopted more than 500 exotic animals over the years and currently maintains over 100 non-releasable animals. He has traveled extensively in the United States, Africa, India, and Central America to photograph and study some of the most critically endangered animals. Chris has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science. He has experience working with raptors, big cats, bears, wolves, crocodilians and venomous snakes.
Animal Care & Education Team
Kevin serves an important role in our outreach programming by teaching in school settings, presenting to library patrons, as well as supporting special events programming. He also assists with the care of our wide diversity of Animal Ambassadors. Kevin has a bachelor's degree in Psychology from Providence College and a master's degree in Teaching for Secondary Education from Sacred Heart University. With experience as an educator and zoo patrol assistant with the Beardsley Zoo, Kevin began with Animal Embassy as an intern and soon after joined us as a member of staff. Having worked for several years as a writing tutor, Kevin has the exceptional ability to relate to students one-on-one, in addition to his skill in working with large groups. His passion for educating children – and people of all ages - about wildlife, the environment, and diversity, is a true asset to Animal Embassy.
Jax assists with the care of our wide diversity of Animal Ambassadors. Additionally, she teaches science-based after-school programming and assists at special events. Jax is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in English at Western Connecticut State University. She has also avidly studied Biology at WCSU. Jax has worked as a Girl Scouts camp counsellor in Weston, CT, as well as volunteered with an ASPCA in Saratoga Springs, NY. Her introduction to Animal Embassy came through an Animal Embassy internship which later developed into a part-time position. Jax’s love for all types of animals, her passion for learning, and her desire to hone her animal husbandry skills, continually propel her forward in her career at Animal Embassy.
Rhiannon Brown, Animal Care & Education Specialist
Rhiannon assists with our special event programming in addition to her full-time position with Charles River Labs. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Western Connecticut State University. While a student, Rhiannon worked for several years in the WCSU lab where she prepared lab activities for university classes. Also, in her position with the Barnard Environmental Studies Magnet School in New Haven, CT, Rhiannon worked in a science-based Discovery Room with students in Grades K-8, as well as engages in animal and greenhouse care. From a very young age, Rhiannon has been fascinated by wildlife and the natural world when she explored and studied local amphibians and reptiles. Her affinity for animals is further exemplified by her adoption of three rescue cats and two geckos, whom she cares for.
Behind the Scenes Team
Jennifer Balbes, Assistant Director
Jennifer manages the administrative aspects of Animal Embassy including marketing, business development, program scheduling and animal adoption requests. Jennifer has a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs/Intercultural Understanding and a master’s degree in Tourism Administration, both from The George Washington University. After moving from a career in the travel industry to non-profit administration, Jennifer came to know Animal Embassy through her work with a local nature center. She has a keen interest and an enthusiasm for the promotion of environmental education and understanding of diversity through wildlife.
Kathy Sabitsky, Billing Manager
Kathy S. handles invoicing, bookkeeping and many other accounting duties. Kathy is a graduate of Lauralton Hall and Connecticut Business Institute and has worked in accounting for over 25 years. In addition to her valuable contribution to Animal Embassy, she also works with Building Beyond Borders, a non-profit organization in Norwalk, as well as a children’s community development center in Westport. Kathy is an avid volunteer in her community. Her family’s adoption of Gary, a rescue dog from Hurricane Katrina, demonstrates her affinity for animals.
Miguel Barreto, Consultant
Miguel designed and created the Animal Embassy website. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design from the Pontifical University Javeriana in Colombia, a certificate in social and environmental conflict management from the University of Peace (UN) in Costa Rica, and a master’s degree in Internet Business Systems from Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, NY. Miguel has over fifteen years of experience working with environmental and multicultural related non-profit organizations, both in the U.S. and abroad. He works full time for Creative Connections of Norwalk, and is dedicated to the environment and fostering an appreciation for cultural diversity through education.