By: Cathy Strini
After meeting Kathy while out in the Golden Hills neighborhood, we were intrigued by both her and her line of work. Kathy’s Critters offers fun and educational zoology presentations for schools, birthday parties and other special events. From snakes to tarantulas to Madagascar hissing cockroaches, Kathy and her crew specialize in “misunderstood, but friendly critters”. Former “Zookeeper” at the Insect Zoo, Los Angeles County Natural History Museum and Nature and Science Instructor for the City of Manhattan Beach, Kathy has years of experience working with reptiles, amphibians, arthropods. She has a degree in horticulture, but is always looking to learn more! Through conferences and research, Kathy works continuously to stay on the forefront of Entomology and to connect with other educated enthusiasts.
Kathy’s connection with her critters goes beyond the knowledge she has acquired through work and study. Even as a young girl she had a love for all bugs and reptiles! When she was not out searching the gardens, she was inside teasing her siblings (and mother!) with her newly found “pets”. It was inspiring to hear first-hand how Kathy was able to create and grow a thriving business centered around her life-long passion. A true entrepreneur, Kathy has created a space to share her enthusiasm while educating others. As a lifelong South Bay resident, Kathy has seen the area change tremendously and was able to share both some of her favorite memories and also how the community has helped foster the growth of her business. We love that we have neighbors who are actively working towards their dream careers, but still maintain a community-based mentality!
We had a chance to meet some of Kathy’s little friends and to see her in action with them!
Kathy was kind enough to participate in a little Q&A session with us so continue reading to learn more about her:
I continue my education constantly by conducting my own research and attending annual educational Entomological conferences along with educators and scientists associated with institutions, universities, museums and butterfly houses from around the U.S. and abroad.
When I was a single mom with two children, I worked many jobs, sometimes two or three at a time. One of my favorites was as an Animal Control Officer at the Humane Society. I also worked at the Agriculture Department in pest control for projects such as the Mediterranean Fruit Fly and Japanese Beetle. While there (about 25 years ago), I was offered a position at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum as the Insect Zoo Technician (“Zookeeper”) for the Insect Zoo. Part of my job required that I do outreach programs, travel to schools throughout the county, and give lessons and assembly programs on the live insects we brought to them. After one of my programs, a teacher asked me if I knew anyone who did the same type of program only with reptiles. I thought to myself, I have enough of my own, so I offered to bring some. Word-of-mouth spread, and Kathy’s Critters began.
Eventually, Kathy’s Critters became my only job and I’ve been doing it ever since (over 20+ years).
The birthday child will carry the animals and show them off to his or her friends. Everyone will get to touch, hold or pet most of the animals (if they so desire). Free toy souvenirs are included for the kids and the birthday child will receive a nice gift.
– See more at: http://www.kathyscritters.com
The weather here is perfect. I can do my shows year-round without worrying that my critters will get frozen on the way to my car while I pack them. I know other people in different states who cannot do winter shows for that very reason.
The South Bay has grown a lot since then.
**For $50 off one of a school or birthday Kathy’s Critters program, email Kathy@kathyscritters.com and be make sure to mention the Weber Accetta Group**