Conservation Educator Academy

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Caitlynn Richardson - Profile

Posted by Caitlynn Richardson on June 24, 2019 at 8:25 AM Comments comments (0)


My name is Caitlynn Richardson, and I'm a 4th year science teacher at Chapel Hill 7th & 8th Grade Center in Wayne Township. I love animals! I interned at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo and worked in the education department for a year and decided that I wanted to do something similar for the rest of my life. I immediately added an Animal Behavior minor to my Biology degree, and then continued on to get a Master's in Teaching. My favorite time at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo was when I got to hang out with a dingo in the education department. I've never been to the Indianapolis Zoo, but I'm extremely excited to be here! 

Lizzette Menendez

Posted by Lizzette Menendez on June 23, 2019 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Hello all! My name is Lizzette Menendez!

I teach life science, including Biology (10th grade) and Zoology (11th and 12th grades), at Frankfort High School in Frankfort, IN (about an hour northwest from the zoo). 

My passion for animals is plentiful! I have countless grand memories from the Indianapolis Zoo, stemming from visiting as a young child to being an intern in the water quality lab and in animal care for carnivores and marine mammals to taking advantage of their PD opportunities for teachers! If given the opportunity, I love learning about what people are doing around the world to help save animals. One of my favorite memories is volunteering in South Africa to help with Great White Shark cage diving/ research and African penguin care/research!

I can't wait to learn more ways to share this incredibly important information with my students!

Dr. McConnell's Personal Profile

Posted by Dr. Tom on June 14, 2019 at 11:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Welcome to the 2019 CEA! 

I am Tom McConnell, Associate Professor of Science Education in the Department of Biology at Ball State University. I teach science methods courses for both elementary and secondary education majors, as well as a biology content course for elementary education majors. 

In my work, I also write/publish a series of books about wildlife conservation (Conservation Tales), and lead a variety of teacher professional development activities.

In the last year since our 2018 Academy, I have visited several zoos and aquariums, but my favorite experience was a safari on the Masai Mara in southern Kenya! This was part of a life-changing 2-week trip to Kenya that checked off numerous bucket list items for me, including getting up close with some of the African wildlife that made me want to be a biologist when I was a kid. The image in this post is from that trip, and I will be sharing some other information related to the CEA's theme this year. 

I can't wait to learn more from the staff at the Indianapolis Zoo and share some resources and teaching ideas with all of you this summer! See at the Zoo soon!

2019 Personal Profiles

Posted by Dr. Tom on June 14, 2019 at 10:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Welcome to the 2019 Conservation Educator Academy!


You have enrolled in the 6th Cohort of the CEA, and this year's theme is "Saving Species: From Invasive Pythons to Elephant Poaching." The Zoo's new reptile exhibit shares information about pythons in the US, and several other exhibits highlight the threat of poaching and illegal animal trade, so we will discuss those topics this year. The theme also fits well with much of my work over the last year, too! I'm excited to connect the theme to your local area and the news we see about environmental issues!


"This Personal Profile is a discussion topic to help us get to know each other! Please try to post in this discussion - Use the "Add Entry" button at the top of the Blog page. Make sure you select "Profiles" for one of the categories.


In your Profile, please include the following:


Your name

Where you teach

What you teach - grade level, subject, etc.

Describe a personal experience at a zoo or aquarium that stands out in your memory.

Include a FACE PIC - I'm bad with names, and I use this to help me connect names and faces. Click the "computer" icon next to the smiley face in the tool bar at the top of your text window while you type your comment.

I am excited to meet you all soon! Look for emails with announcements as we draw closer to the CEA!


Tom McConnell, Ph.D., Ball State University