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Alec Walsh’s childhood is full of memories at Brevard Zoo, from kayaking for the first time to exploring the Zoo’s loops at afterschool programs.

One of the most poignant moments was spending 9 weeks as a fifth grader at our Zoo School with his class from Cambridge Elementary. This special program is available to local fifth-grade students to bring learning outside of the traditional classroom and into a “wilder” setting!

“It really solidified what I wanted to do: work with animals or our natural world,” Alec said.

In a full circle moment, Alec is now an education specialist with our Zoo! He recently worked with students at his former school who were attending this year’s Zoo School.

“This is my dream job,” he said. “I love being able to connect to the kids.”

It’s so important for students to see someone like them in different roles, especially in STEM, Alec said.

Alec and the rest of our Education department lead students in a variety of programs that align with our state’s science standards and our Zoo mission. Our Zoo programs focus on different themes such as Zoology, Ecology, Human Dimension of the Environment, and The Nature of Science.

Alec remembers being inspired by his instructors, both at his school and the Zoo, at Zoo School. Everyone radiated an energy of wanting to make a difference in the natural world, he said. Being able to foster a similar experience for students today is so rewarding.

“If my actions or words can inspire one person to join a career in STEM, I would be happy because I made a difference,” Alec said.