Nancy Heineman, John Ball Zoo Volunteer
Retiring after 28 years of teaching, Nancy Heineman was ready for a change. She found it through an Encore-funded program to attract experienced adult volunteers to John Ball Zoo. As a zoo volunteer, Heineman is an eager student of animal care, working side by side with zookeepers to clean pens and prepare animal diets. “I love learning new things,” she says, “and I love the animals.”
Eventually, Heineman found herself drawn to broader opportunities at the zoo. As a docent, she’s learning even more about animals ranging from bears and otters to wolves and tapirs – and drawing on her teaching experience to find creative ways to convey this knowledge to visitors. Her latest challenge: aligning the zoo school’s tour guide program with the state’s science curriculum.
Whether slogging around animal pens in her muck boots or leading educational tours, Heineman finds fulfillment in the variety of roles she plays at the zoo. “But,” she maintains, “the physical labor is still my favorite!”