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WHITNEY heckler


Whitney was born and raised in Baltimore and in the 9th grade moved to Forest Hill, Maryland. An avid swimmer, she spent many high school and college summers lifeguarding on the Atlantic coast. In 2008 she received her Bachelor's of Science Degree in Organismal Biology from Salisbury University in  Salisbury, Maryland. While in Maryland, she received her 45 hour Growth & Development Certification by the Maryland State Department of Health. In 2012 she moved to Texas to work for Houston ISD and, in the summer of 2014, she dipped her toe in the zoo water by working as the seasonal educator at the Ellen Trout Zoo. She quickly realized this was the place for her and on January 1, 2015 she started her full-time job as a zoo educator. In 2019 she was promoted to the Director of Educational Services and has been enthralling kids and parents alike with the wonderful world of zoo science ever since.


Favorite Season: Summer

Favorite Color: Blues and greens

Favorite Animals: Amphibians of all kinds and Hermes, the Eastern screech owl, who is one of our education Animal Ambassadors.

Favorite Memory: Studying coral reefs abroad in Honduras and swimming with sea turtles in Hawaii.

Little Known Fact: I have 3 dogs (Lia - "tris," Mel's - "Blue Aster," Holly - "tree") and 2 cats (Ash - "tree" and Willow - "tree") and all are named after plants!

Best Quote: "Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better." - Maya Angelou

Who Inspired You?: All of the people who promote conservation and good animal welfare across our planet.

Best Advice for Those Wanting to Get Into the Zoo Field: Spend time around animals of all kinds - volunteer, intern, etc. The more you are around animals, the better you can understand their behavior which helps you better take care of them.

Toughest Challenge: Education staff has a lot of projects to manage from teaching and creating all classes on grounds and off grounds for all age groups, to creating all the zoo signage, to planning special events like Princess & the Frog Tea Party, to managing our social media and ETZ website, to managing interns and volunteers, there is ALWAYS lots to do in our education department.

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