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Beth and SunnyThe Racine Zoo has hired Elizabeth Heirdorn as its executive director.

Heirdon replaces Jay Christie, who left as the president and chief executive officer in September. She started the job April 6.

“I look forward to leading this great team of people and becoming an active part within the Racine community, which I’ve heard so many positive things about,” Heidorn said. “Leveraging my previous experiences, we will continue to set the example for other zoos to follow with new and exciting education, conservation, and animal welfare initiatives to engage and encourage community involvement. I’m originally from Minnesota so it’s great to be back in the Midwest! ”

Heirdon was chosen from a slate of several candidates they found through a nationwide search, said Gregg Albright, chair of the Racine Zoological Society.

“We were all immediately impressed with Beth’s extensive background and positive attitude,” Albright said. “Her expertise in the overall operation of Jungle Island including daily administration of all departments and her enthusiasm to move our organization forward translates into exciting changes for the Zoo and our community.”

Heirdon served as the general manager and director of Iconic Conservation at Jungle Island in Miami, Fla.,where she managed the operations and staff at the facility. She also served as director of Safari Experiences at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park; director of education at Dolphin Quest, Inc.; director of education at the Los Angeles Zoo; vice president of education at Aquarium of the Pacific; and director of education at the Minnesota Zoo.



Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.