Meet the team

Sarah Thomas
Sarah Thomas – Head of Discovery & Learning

Sarah joined the Zoological Society of London in 2011 and lead the Discovery and Learning teams at ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. She’s currently the chair of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria Education Committee. She has a BSc (Hons) in Zoology, a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) and in her final year of a part time PhD in Education Research at Lancaster University. The focus of her research is exploring the knowledge of, attitude towards and efficacy in the social dimensions of conservation by ZSL staff, with a specific focus on creating and implementing an organisation-wide strategy for the social dimensions of conservation.

Stephanie – Discovery & Learning officer

Stephanie has a BSc in Biology and has been working in environmental education and conservation for the past nine years. Before joining ZSL, she worked on a primate conservation project in Vietnam, which included running an education programme with schools and tourists to engage with (and protect) their amazing local wildlife. At ZSL, Stephanie loves that we have the opportunity for students to apply science in a real-life context – not just in the Zoo, but also by showcasing the work that our conservationists are doing to protect and understand wildlife out in the field.

Charlotte – Discovery & Learning officer

With a BSc in Ecology and Environmental Biology and an MSc in Science Communication, Charlotte has more than ten years’ experience of working with schools, the public and scientists. She previously worked as a science communicator at the Natural History Museum and is a qualified field guide for Southern Africa. She is passionate about developing new opportunities to bring ZSL scientists and students together - giving them the opportunity to find out what goes on behind the scenes and inspiring them to pursue a career in conservation.

Sarah – Discovery & Learning officer

A year spent working on conservation programmes in Australia inspired Sarah to work towards a career which combined her love of nature with her enthusiasm for education. With a BA in Primary Education, she has six years teaching in formal and informal education sectors. She is currently working on completing an MSc Education for Sustainability. Sarah feels very fortunate to be involved in zoo education; with the setting providing fantastic opportunities to fuel a love of wildlife and the natural world through educational experiences.

Ruth – Discovery & Learning officer

With degrees in Biology and a PGCE in Secondary Science education, Ruth has worked in informal science education for more than 10 years. Her role helps to develop and deliver the schools programme and seasonal events, and she has worked on a variety of exciting projects, including a youth engagement initiative linked to the Rio Earth Summit, and an environmental schools education programme in Zambia with Save the Rhino International. She has a particular interest in sustainability and outdoor learning, and thinks it is important that people have experiences that connect them with the natural world. She also sits on the Management Committee of the London Environmental Educators Forum (LEEF).

Avni – Discovery & Learning officer

Avni’s passion has always been in conservation and protecting animals, so she became a learning volunteer at ZSL London Zoo for six years while studying Mammal Ecology and Conservation and achieving a Level 3 NVQ in Working with Children. She enjoys talking about conservation and showing children how unique every single animal is and how they are all adapted to survive in their habitats. She also loves seeing how eager students are to get involved in conservation and how passionate they become about animals after their zoo visit.

Katriona – Practical learning officer

During her years at university studying for a BSc Zoology and an MSc Wild Animal Biology, Katriona also spent her holidays working in an animal college, with students in schools and in the education teams at several zoos. After graduating, she worked as a zoo education officer before moving to ZSL in 2012. She loves that she is able to work with so many enthusiastic students, a range of ZSL staff and the amazing animals at the zoo. "ZSL’s practical learning courses give students an opportunity to learn about the realities of working with animals and offer a chance to gain valuable work experience. It is fantastic to see how these students develop on the courses but also how they then go on to progress in their careers", says Katriona. 

Hannah – Discovery & Learning inclusion officer

Having studied Archaeology and Palaeobiology at university, Hannah trained as a teacher of Geography and taught in secondary schools for a number of years, before moving into informal education and community engagement. Working in a range of settings including parks and museums, she has had experience of working with a truly diverse range of audiences to develop and deliver a broad range of education events and activities, and am currently enjoying developing our Discovery & Learning offer at both ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo to ensure it is fully inclusive for all our visitors.

 Cassandra – Evaluation coordinator

Cassandra has a BA in Archaeology and Ancient History and has always been interested in studying societies and the variety of relationships we form. She joined ZSL in 2012 in the new role as evaluation coordinator and has since had the opportunity to work across the society encouraging evaluative practice throughout. She has always championed the value of informal learning and loves the opportunity to be able to begin to evidence through her work. She supports the department to use student and teacher feedback to shape everything we do, which enables us to be reflective and forward thinking in our approach to learning.

Alison – Schools lunchroom supervisor

Alison has worked with children, in an educational setting, for the past 13 years while raising her own two. She has always had a passion for animals and their welfare and is thrilled to have the opportunity to share this with young people coming into the zoo. The best part of her job is listening to the children say how brave they were touching a snake or a cockroach and that visiting the zoo has changed how they think and feel about wildlife.


Ann – Schools supervisor

Ann has worked at ZSL London Zoo for 14 years and works closely with all school groups that visit us. Each day she meets and greets schools and answers any questions they may have to help them have a great day. She loves watching the expressions and excitement on the children’s faces as they enter into the zoo. She works very closely with the Discovery & Learning officer and is passionate about helping the Disocvery & Learning inclusion officer support projects developing activity for learners with special educational needs and disabilities.