Meet the team

Sarah Thomas
Sarah Thomas – Head of Discovery & Learning

Sarah joined the Zoological Society of London in 2011 and leads 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.


Kerry Bailey Senior Learning Manager
Kerry Bailey – Senior Learning Manager

Kerry joined the D&L team in August 2017.  Immediately after graduating, BSc (Hons) BioPsychology, she joined Marwell Zoological Park as one of the Education Officers.  Kerry established an Education and Community Department at Staunton Country Park, receiving 12,000 school visitors each year, providing 6,000 annual volunteer days for adults with learning difficulties, coordinating an Education Membership scheme with over 45 institutions and culminating in a successful Parks for People lottery application.  In 2013, Kerry was promoted to the Parks Business Manager for Staunton and Queen Elizabeth Country Parks, and went on to increase this portfolio to include all Country Parks owned by Hampshire County Council.  Kerry is keen to use her management skills to support and develop the Discovery and Learning department at ZSL, focusing her efforts towards her passion for conservation education.


Kat – Whipsnade Learning Manager (maternity cover)

During her years at university studying for 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 worked as the Practical Learning Officer at London Zoo for five and a half years, before becoming the Learning Manager at Whipsnade. 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. 


Cat Hickey
Cat – Whipsnade Learning Manager

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


Sam - Discovery & Learning Officer
Sam – Discovery & Learning Officer

Sam has worked for the National Trust and ZSL in delivering informal education to a wide range of ages after receiving a BSc Conservation Biology. Her passion is marine conservation. At the Zoo, Sam loves the range of questions from students about animals, their conservation and what it means to actually work for wildlife. Her work engages students in ways they can get involved with conservation, from recycling to knowing the impact of their actions. Through her work with our self-guided trails she ensures all students who come to Whipsnade Zoo see the animals as ambassadors for their wild counterparts and motivated to work for wildlife. 


Michelle – Discovery & Learning Officer

Michelle has a BSc in Zoo Biology, and has previously worked as a zoo presenter, a carnivore keeper and a field assistant on spotted hyena projects in Africa. The past few years in formal zoo education, however, have emphasised Michelle’s love of engaging students in the natural world and the protection of biodiversity. Seeing students become confident in an environment where they can discuss and interact with nature makes this job so worthwhile for Michelle.


Kathy – Practical Learning Officer

Kathy has worked in zoos for over twenty years, primarily as a zoo keeper and has a lifelong passion for all animals, especially primates. She has a Diploma in Applied Biology, a BSc in Zoology and a Professional Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). During her time at ZSL, Kathy has worked on the WAPCA conservation programme which works with two of the most endangered primates in the world. Kathy currently runs the practical learning programmes such as Zoo Academy and Junior Zoo Academy. She loves seeing students’ progress through courses and development of their skills and knowledge.