News ItemAnimal Kingdom – Section 2: The Educators

Bucknell magazine

Jul 9, 2010 – 

by David Pacchioli, Bucknell Magazine, Summer 2012

Article excerpt, p. 25:

Allison Knox Blankenship ’80 never thought she’d be a teacher either, much less a wildlife educator. Yet Blankenship now owns and runs Zooniversity of Dallas, Texas, “the teaching zoo that comes to you.”

After graduating with a double major in biology and art, she says, “I spent 19 years in boardrooms climbing the ranks, and ended up with an executive title, a big salary, a corner office, and a job that swallowed me whole.”

“To maintain some sense of self, ” she says, she took a weekend position exhibiting animals at a local zoo. In 2001, abruptly laid off after yet another hostile takeover, “I traded the corporate pumps for hiking boots and started Zooniversity.” Nine years later, she delivers more than 700 wildlife shows a year.

Blankenship gets frequent emails from college students eager to enter the field. “Expect 16-hour days,” she tells the hopefuls. “Expect no days off. Expect lots of expenses and very little profit. It is not the life most people think we lead when they see us beaming at the microphone.”

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