Who are the advocates for snake preservation?


Melissa Amarello, Co-founder, Director of Education

Melissa’s lifelong fascination with snakes led her to work on a variety of projects on natural history and conservation of reptiles in Arizona, California, and Mexico. The need for positive messaging about snakes became apparent as she saw firsthand how negative attitudes can stifle conservation efforts. She incorporated education and outreach into her research, formalized in 2010 with the founding of Social Snakes to foster appreciation for snakes by sharing stories and videos of their behavior in the field. Melissa received her B.S. in wildlife, watershed, and rangeland resources at the University of Arizona and her M.S. in biology at Arizona State University, where she studied rattlesnake social behavior.


Jeff Smith, Co-founder, Director of Research

Jeff has an abiding curiosity about small creatures in their natural environments. Although the rules of survival seem straightforward, the ways to survive are fascinating and complex, and these ways are illustrated by organisms every day. He hopes that, by illuminating the secret lives of snakes, people will come to admire and appreciate them and their place in nature. Jeff earned his B.A. in Biology and Spanish from Rice University and an M.S. in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona.