Lehigh Valley Zoo Animal Care Department – Hi, I’m Natalie from Emmaus PA. I’ve been in the zoo and aquarium field for the last nine years! Ever since I was three I’ve been obsessed with animals and wanting to help and save every animal I could!
I’m proud to say today I’ve continued that passion and now teach my daughter the importance of animals and their purpose in this world. I graduated Kutztown university with a bachelors in marine biology and minor in psychology. Since being in this field my favorite animals to work with have been sea turtles and penguins. The most rewarding part of being a keeper, besides the overall welfare of the animals, is seeing the guests acknowledge everything we do for these animals and understand the importance of zoos.
My advice for a future keeper is to never give up. As cliche as that sounds, it’s true. This field is not easy and every little bit helps. If that means you need to volunteer, intern, or shadow a related job in order to get experience – do it. Experience goes a long way in proving that you are a serious and passionate candidate. Because if you don’t put in the effort to learn and care for these animals, who will?
Written by Natalie Hildebrand
Lehigh Valley Zoo | Schnecksville, PA