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.

Rachel Haydon
Rachel Haydon – Discovery & Learning, senior learning manager

Rachel has a MSc in Marine Science, BSc Zoology, a PGCE (Primary) and Postgraduate Certificate in Journalism. She has worked in both formal and informal education in aquariums, museums and zoos for over twelve years and been lucky enough to work in places like the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Her ambition is to support the teams to demonstrate excellence in zoo education and work with our audiences to maintain a fantastic out-of-classroom learning provision at ZSL.

Cat Hickey
Cat Hickey – Discovery & Learning, learning manager

I have an Msc Biodiversity and Conservation and BSc Genetics. I have worked in informal education in zoos for over eight years both in Ireland and the UK. I spent a year as a research scientist working in Madagascar, collecting data on ring-tailed lemurs. This was a great experience which I draw upon when discussing conservation techniques, habitats or animal behaviour with students in the Zoo. I love being able to support teachers bringing topics to life through on site activities, our downloadable resources or our ZSL in your Classroom activities. 

Kathy – Practical learning officer

I have worked in zoos for over twenty years, primarily as a zoo keeper and have a lifelong passion for all animals, especially primates. I have a Diploma in Applied Biology, a BSc in Zoology and a Professional Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). During my time at ZSL I have worked on the WAPCA conservation programme which works with two of the most endangered primates in the world. I run the Practical Learning Programmes such as Zoo Academy and Junior Zoo Academy. I love seeing students’ progress through courses and develop their skills and knowledge. 

Sam – Discovery and Learning schools officer

I have worked for the National Trust and ZSL in delivering informal education to a wide range of ages. I have a BSc Conservation Biology and marine conservation is a passion for me. Here at the Zoo, I love the range of questions that we get from students about animals, their conservation and what it means to actually work for wildlife. My work helps me to get students engaged in ways they can get involved, from recycling to knowing the impact of their actions. Through my work with our self-guided trails I am keen to ensure all students who come to Whipsnade Zoo see our animals as ambassadors for their wild counterparts and help motivate them to also work for wildlife.