At only 7 years old, Enzo Monfre wanted to have his own zoology show. His parents didn't know how to do it, but instead of just brushing the idea off as impossible, they actually helped him follow his dream. Like everything that is ultimately highly successful, Enzo's show started very small--with just uploading a video to YouTube.
That little seed has blossomed however, so much so that 3 years later, Enzo's list of accomplishments has grown incredibly. He's developing an educational program to help ignite the love of science in elementary students, he's been on the Ellen DeGeneres show, been on multiple news channels and radio interviews, worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, done things with NASA, and continues to put new episodes of his fantastic nature show called Enzoology.
Enzo Handles the Largest Scorpion Species in the World
We caught up with this busy boy and his parents, via email, and asked them to share with us more about the background behind Enzo and his Enzoology show.
Tootlee: What you were like as a baby, and as a kid? Where you different that other kids around you?
Enzo: I don't remember being a baby. But they tell me I was really into dinosaurs - way more than the other kids. When I was three, I knew how to pronounce Pachycephalosaurus and knew it came from the late Cretaceous period and stuff like that. I was totally into theropods too. But my favorite was the flying dinosaurs like the pteranodon. Getting into fossils then got me into geology - especially geodes and amber, stuff like that. I have a huge collection of fossils and minerals and stuff. I have a Spinosaurus tooth!
Tootlee: When did you start studying animals?
Enzo: As long as I can remember I've been studying animals.
Tootlee: Did you always want to be the star of a show?
Enzo: It just kinda happened. I just thought of the idea of having a show. Didn't really think about it at the time. Just sounded like fun.
Tootlee: What made you think about doing a animal show for kids?
Enzo: I just really liked animals a lot and its what I know about. But now, the show is more than about animals - we really are getting into other areas of science like earth science and physical science.
Tootlee: Did you think you were too young to teach other kids?
Enzo: To be honest, I didn't really care how old I was. I guess I've always been talking about kids about science, even before the show. But sometimes they just ignore me.
Tootlee: How did your parents help you figure out how to get the show started?
Enzo: I don't know, I'm not them. (Dad's comment: Enzo's mom and I home school Enzo and we tend to make projects out of his interests. We are both photographers so it was more a matter of learning how to shoot and edit video. We are still learning how to do the show.)
Tootlee: How long did it take to get the show all ready to start sharing with others?
Enzo: About 1 day. We just made a video and posted it on YouTube thinking grandma would like it. We didn't give it much thought.
Tootlee: How did you start getting people to watch the show?
Enzo: We didn't. They just did it on their own. Right after we posted the first or second video, Ellen DeGeneres contacted me. I was on her show and that started it going. We just keep making videos and putting them on our web site at www.enzoology.com. People just find it.
Tootlee: Have you run into problems being a kid and also working on the show? If so, what kind and how have you overcome them?
Enzo: There aren't really many problems - it's totally fun. Sometimes its hot out in the middle of nowhere. My dad has been bitten by snakes. I don't spend a lot of time working on Enzoology. I just show up and talk.
Tootlee: How does your work affect your school work?
Enzo: It affects it in a good way. I get days off to shoot the show. But at the same time I have to study like crazy to get ready for the show. I also learn a lot from working with the University of Texas, US Fish and Wildlife, NASA and places like that.
Tootlee: What tips would you and your mom give to other kids and parents who want to start their own business or show?
Enzo: I'd say only do it if you really love the subject of the show and can work hard at it. If you fake it, it won't be good. Don't force it. Do what you love if you are going to do any kind of show. (Mom's comment: As far as the "business" goes - it's not much of a business. We don't make much money doing it and that's not why we do it. We think there is a real problem with kids who don't care about science and Enzo sincerely wants to make a difference in this area. We are just supporting his interests. It's fun to be on TV, but that's not our goal - in fact, we say no all the time to television appearances if it isn't good for Enzo or doesn't work with his schedule.)
We see a lot of potential in this 10 year-old boy, and we applaud his parents for stepping outside their comfort zone to help him develop it. However, his potential isn't ultra unique. He's really no different than most children--he likes to do stunts on his bike, enjoys his Tae Kwon Do black belt status, enjoys reading adventure stories, and loves to roam the hills with Hanna, his faithful German Shepard. (I wonder if he named her after Jack Hanna, the star of the great Zoo Life video series). What sets him apart is that he was allowed to follow his dream.
Like Enzo would say himself, kids can do anything. What do your kids dream of doing?
A Preview of Exploration Nation - Enzo's Science Curriculum for Kids!
We highly suggest you check out Exploration Nation, Enzo's science program for elementary students. He'll put the spark back into science for your kids--and maybe inspire them in other ways as well. To learn more, visit Enzoology.com.
Image Credit(s): Todd Wolfson, Pete Monfre