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Danielle Poirier Larson, better known as Dani, is the curator of Birds and Training at Southwick’s Zoo in Mendon, Massachusetts. Dani obtained a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Conservation Studies with a concentration in Anthropology from the University of New Hampshire in 2014. Propelled by her passion for wildlife conservation combined with a profound appreciation for culture and human-animal relations, Dani found her niche as a professional bird trainer and conservation educator. Inspired by some of the most progressive leading trainers in the industry, Dani has worked diligently to enhance Southwick’s Zoo’s bird training, enrichment, and outreach programs over the last 7 years. She believes in the power of force-free training methods to empower the birds in her care, enabling them to operate on their environment in a way that enhances overall welfare and quality of life. Dani is passionate about piecing together all the key elements of her job into one cohesive goal: Inspiring the greater community to love and appreciate birds - a goal achieved by instituting an advanced training regimen that seeks to elicit natural behavior through cooperative care. Dani is a member of the International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators (IAATE), the Zoological Association of America (ZAA), and has participated in countless conferences and workshops to enhance her knowledge of avian welfare all while inspiring her staff to follow in her footsteps.

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Danielle Poirier Larson

Enrichment on a Budget