As the General Curator, my role is to ensure that our living animal collections are thriving and diverse, to best represent the beauty of the wild habitats we represent here at the Aquarium. In my free time, I like to explore the trails and land around my home with my family!
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I had one obsession and that was to go out and find reptiles and amphibians and bring them home to keep and study them. My parents were very patient and supportive of this hobby because they saw that it brought me complete happiness.
What did you study in school?
I majored in Biology with a specialty in Herpetology.
How did you get started in your field of work?
A neighbor who was a local school bus driver confiscated a live northern ring neck snake from a boy on his bus that was using the snake to terrify girls. He thought that, at five years old, I should have this snake. For some unknown reason my mother went along with this. He dropped it off in a glass jar. I still remember staring at this beautiful little snake with its black, forked tongue flicking in and out for a very long period of time. I was hooked, there was no turning back from this moment in time. Finding animals in the wild that I had first discovered in books was very rewarding. Seeing these living animals, in the flesh, in zoos and aquariums was also very rewarding.
At the Aquarium
How long have you been at the Aquarium?
I love what I do because...
I get be part of a team that provides people with an opportunity to get up close and personal with plants and animals from all over the world. Nature is transported to an urban setting so a diverse number of people can experience and enjoy seeing these animals up close – their color, shapes and movement- living art. Hopefully this experience will inspire them to value, respect and protect all of these amazing animals. I have had a lifetime of pleasure exploring natural areas and seeing and learning about how wild animals live and survive. I get to share this passion and the excitement that animals bring to my life.
Most memorable moment at the Aquarium
The opening of Australia: Wild Extremes!
If you could have any other job at the Aquarium for one day, what job would it be and why?
One of our National Aquarium Animal Rescue staff taking out a recovered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle for release into the ocean. What could be more satisfying than releasing an endangered species back into the wild?
I really cannot select a favorite animal. I’ve never met an animal that I didn’t like or was not fascinated by.
Three things you never leave home without?
- Swiss Army knife
- Car keys
- Wallet with cash
If you could have lunch with anyone (alive or dead), who would it be?
Probably would be Archie Carr (now deceased). He was the father of the sea turtle conservation movement and a world renowned sea turtle biologist. He also had a passion for freshwater turtles, other reptiles and amphibians.
One lesson you wish you'd learned earlier in life?
Avoid getting bit by venomous snakes.
Leaf Litters: Thoughts on Salamanders
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