Native American (Chickasaw)
Fossil Rim Wildlife Center
Year zoo career began:
Andrew Bullard is an Education Supervisor at the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center where he oversees the facility’s reserved programs, which includes school groups, overnight camps, specialty tours, and more.. His department’s goal is to help individuals discover their role and fulfill their responsibilities in the natural world. On any given day Andrew could be guiding tours of the park, talking with visitors, hosting a field trip, or making smores over a campfire. Andrew also heads up the facility’s Environmental Education Internship Program with the aim of training the next generation of environmental professionals. The internship program is designed to give interns a solid foundation for their future careers in informal education. One of Andrew’s goals is to increase the diversity of environmental education professionals as well as make nature more accessible to underserved populations.
Andrew graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science. Andrew entered college with a plan to get a degree in chemical engineering but couldn’t see himself as an engineer. After working for the summer doing historical interpretation and teaching forestry at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, Andrew realized that people could have a career in environmental education and changed his degree. He gained his first experience in the zoo field as an environmental education intern at Fossil Rim, where he fell in love with zoo education. Andrew was hired as a volunteer coordinator and education specialist at the end of his internship before being promoted to his current position in 2019.
One of Andrew’s favorite parts of working in the zoo field is the variety. Because Fossil Rim is so big, when he enters the park no two experiences are the same, which gives Andrew a great opportunity to form new connections between nature and people. Andrew also gets to learn from other staff at Fossil Rim and gets to take part in everything from bailing hay to assisting with veterinary procedures. Andrew would like to advise aspiring zoo educators that it’s okay to start over and begin again with a clean slate. Don’t feel obligated to do something or follow a certain path, especially if it’s something you don’t enjoy. It won’t be easy, but it’s okay to start again.