On December 10, Jeff Ewelt, the new Executive Director of the Beartooth Nature Center will be starting work. Not that he hasn't already been working?he's had several trips to Red Lodge, and he's already been given the grand tour(s) of the town. But December 10 is his official first day of work. He takes over as Executive Director on January first.
By standard reporting protocol, we'd refer to Jeff as Ruth Brown's replacement, but that really isn't accurate in any sense but title. Jeff and Ruth are very different people, with different sets of skills, different backgrounds, and a common dream: the long-term growth and success of the Beartooth Nature Center.
Jeff has a degree in Environmental Communication, Interpretation, and Education from Ohio State University. He volunteered at a wildlife rehab center as a student, and got a job working at the Columbus Zoo as an animal trainer and presenter.
He moved to Florida in 2000 to accept a position at the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, where he worked his way up to the position of Animal Ambassador Manager. To Jeff, this is not only the most satisfying part of working with animals, but one of the most important. He believes that a huge part of the mission of the Beartooth Nature Center is education and outreach, and he has the experience to do it.
Jeff's work with the zoos and his communication background led him to a weekly television segment on WTSP-TV in Tampa, and appearances on the Discovery Channel, MSNBC, PBS, ABC's Extreme Home Makeover, and Late Night with Conan O'Brien.
Already, he's had a chance to work with Levi the coyote, who is in training as an animal ambassador for the Nature Center, but his real love is working with birds?especially the poor unloved vulture. Jeff just lit up when we began talking about raptors. He told us about his experience flying Quito (the Andean condor in the picture below) off the leash, and about how vultures poop down their legs to keep cool. He looks forward to spending a lot of time doing school visits and other education work with the animals from the Nature Center.
He shares his love of birds with his wife, Sarah, who is a bird trainer. Sarah and their 7-month-old son, Harrison, are on their way out to join Jeff in Red Lodge.
Next time you visit the Beartooth Nature Center, extend a hearty welcome to Jeff Ewelt (but if he's had a vulture on his head, don't stand too close).
UPDATE: Jeff is now a regular columnist here at the Local Rag. Read what he has to say here!
Be the first to comment on this article!
NOTE: Because of problems with automated spambots entering hundreds of comments on our site, we no longer allow comments with links in them. Thanks for understanding.
You are posting from ip address 18.104.22.168