For Jamie Kozloski, there is no such thing as a quiet day at the office.
Kozloski, a 2011 UW-Green Bay Biology graduate, is the founder and director of Kingdom Animalia Exotic Animal Rescue (KAEAR), a non-profit organization in De Pere, Wis. dedicated to “rescuing exotic animals through educational outreach,” according to their website.
“At KAEAR we are an educational-based nonprofit organization that rescues, rehabilitates, and gives refuge to unwanted, abandoned, released [or] found exotic animals,” said Kozloski, “We take in reptiles, amphibians, birds, small animals, and invertebrates.”
Jamie Kozloski realized her passion for animals early in life.
“I fell in love with reptiles when I was 11 and at 15 I had a dream to create a sanctuary for old or unwanted animals,” Kozloski said.
After graduating from UW-Green Bay in 2011, Kozloski accomplished that dream, starting KAEAR just a year later. Since 2006, Kozloski has taken in over 900 animals and educated thousands on their care and conservation.
“Much research and hands-on work led me to work at a pet store and work animal control for Green Bay Police Department.”
While getting her Biology degree, she interned at the NEW Zoo and served as the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary’s exotic animal resource, she said. “In 2012 I decided to take the hobby I was growing and make it into my career. I incorporated and filed for non-profit status.”
She was granted 501c3 non-profit status in the summer of 2014 and leased a building to use as headquarters shortly after.
Along with caring for animals, Kozloski uses them to educate the community. KAEAR has been partnered with the East Central Regional Planning Commission and UW Sea Grant since 2013 to promote the “Habitattitude” campaign.
“We educate on non-pet release into the environment and give alternatives to releasing these pets potentially creating invasive species,” said Kozloski, “Since then we’ve spoken at two WBAY pet expo events and had two pet amnesty days where people could surrender their unwanted exotic and aquarium pets to us to give a more appealing option over release. We will be holding both events again this year.”
In addition to spreading the Habitattitude message, Kozloski presents programs on animals for local organizations using her animal ambassadors.
“Last summer I have also been starting to give native bat programs at Buboltz Nature Preserve with a complimentary night walk to observe the bats echolocating with a bat detector,” she said, “I plan to continue those as well as start up the areas only regular rabies awareness program.”
Kozloski says her Biology degree from UW-Green Bay legitimized her passion.
“I have also been given opportunities to do special projects and research papers that fueled my interest for certain topics like exotics and bats,” she said.
Looking to the future, Kozloski wants KAEAR to be known statewide as a rescue specializing in education. She hopes to raise funds in order to buy a building and grow an internship program. The organization currently exists with the help of program fees, adoptions, donations and fundraisers. Go to www.kaear.org to learn more.
“It’s been such a process and we are covering an important and much needed niche in this area for exotics, a group of animals that have little to no resources here for help,” Kozloski said.
– Story by Katelyn Staaben, editorial intern, Marketing and University Communications