Volunteer Vista: Kim Todd

By Anna Becker

Kim Todd incorporates her docent knowledge into her lesson plans. Photo courtesy of Kim Todd

Kim Todd might be a new face to the docent program, but in just four months, she has volunteered nearly 150 hours at the Los Angeles Zoo. With four decades of teaching experience under her belt, it’s hardly surprising to find that the educational aspect of the Zoo is what appeals to her most. “I love to learn,” Todd says. “When I applied to the docent program, I didn’t know what I was getting into, but it has been the experience of a lifetime.”

Todd’s favorite assignment is orangutan watch, where she observes the behaviors of these engaging apes. “It’s opened up the way I view everything,” she explains. “I toured one of my students this summer, and afterward, his mother called me and told me that their visit inspired them to avoid anything that contains palm oil. If I can change even just one person’s perspective, it’s worth it.”

Docent Kim Todd inspires students like Shawn to make a difference for conservation. Photo Courtesy of Kim Todd

“If I can change even just one person’s perspective, it’s worth it.”

One of the most remarkable things about Todd is her positive and contagious passion for conservation and animals. As a teacher at Sherman Oaks Elementary Charter School, she sees the educational appeal of her own experiences and is taking what she learns at the Zoo back to the classroom to inspire the next generation of conservation leaders. From orangutan art projects and books about the rainforest to debate topics and animal puns, Kim has created a classroom where conservation, wildlife, and animals stand at the forefront. “We need to show everyone that it is important to protect these creatures, and the Zoo has given me an avenue to do this.”