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UD alumna provides wildlife conservation education for Philadelphia Zoo

July 28, 2014– When Kristen Lewis-Waldron attended the University of Delaware as an undergraduate student, she had the opportunity to complete an internship at the Philadelphia Zoo. It turned out to be a perfect fit, and 18 years later Lewis-Waldron is still combining her love of animals and education at the zoo.

Now the director of conservation education and integration, Lewis-Waldron is responsible for integrating conservation messaging across all of the Philadelphia Zoo’s platforms. She works with all departments, from the marketing and development team to the social media unit, and directs messaging at the exhibits in the education area.

One of the biggest parts of Lewis-Waldron’s role recently has been helping in the creation of KidZooU, a children’s zoo that provides an engaging experience for children and their families while promoting a lifetime of conservation action through hands-on learning activities.

“We’re trying to achieve a lot through the experience. It’s highly interactive and creates a year-round destination for kids,” said Lewis-Waldron. “It obviously allows for that up close and personal interaction which is so important and it’s a place where kids can practice how to care for animals, make the world a better place for animals, and practice conservation behavior.”

Lewis-Waldron, who graduated in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in animal science from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, said she is especially proud of the fact that KidZooU was created using a technique known as universal design.

“We designed the facility so that regardless of your age, your ability, your background, you can access KidZooU. We kept in mind things like not just physical accessibility -- which is certainly extremely important -- but we also thought about other things like cognitive and behavioral accessibility,” she said.

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