It’s Zookeeper Appreciation Week!
If you have ever visited our exhibit NatureWorks on Level 1, you probably ran into at least one of our animal care professionals during a Swamp Talk, Fish Feeding Frenzy or when they bring one of our animal ambassadors out on the floor. They spend most of their days taking care of our animals and teaching visitors about them so we wanted to take today to teach you a little bit about our amazing team!
As the need to protect and preserve wildlife and their habitats increases, our team’s role as educators and conservation ambassadors has become essential. Our zookeepers care for many species, including reptiles, fish, amphibians, insects, mammals, and now a bird. Without further ado, meet your NatureWorks zookeepers!
Michael grew up in Jacksonville, FL, and has an A.S. degree in Zoo Animal Technology from Santa Fe College. After college he began working at the Center for Great Apes in Wauchula, FL and was promoted to Senior Great Ape Caregiver. He began working at the Science Center in June of 2015. His favorite animal here is BB our Red Lord Amazon Parrot. Michael’s favorite animal of all time is the African Elephant.
Hailing from Paulding, Ohio, Zak has a B.A. in Zoology from The Ohio State University. Before working at the Science Center in June of 2015, Zak was an intern at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. At the Science Center Zak’s favorite animal is Charles, the African Pigmy Hedgehog. Zak’s dream is to work with wild gorillas.
Nicole grew up in Baltimore, Maryland and double majored in Psychology and Biology at Notre Dame of Maryland University. Nicole interned at the Central Florida Zoo and the National Aquarium in Baltimore. She is also currently employed at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Nicole’s favorite animal at the Science Center is our new baby skunk who she hopes to introduce you to soon! Outside of the Science Center, Nicole’s favorite animals are dolphins and she one day hopes to be a dolphin trainer.
Brian grew up in Central Florida and has a B.A. in Psychology and a Master’s in Education. He has worked in several zoological institutions and most recently was a Dolphin Trainer at Discovery Cove for almost 10 years. Brian has been the Manager of NatureWorks since January 2015. His favorite NatureWorks animals are the Bamboo Cat Sharks and his personal favorite animals are sloths and sharks!
We hope you enjoyed learning about our NatureWorks zookeepers! During your next visit, be sure to thank them for all of their hard work and ask them plenty of questions about animals and their habitats. It will make their day!