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Thompson Park zoo education coordinator has plans for expanded outreach

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The new education director of the New York State Zoo at Thompson Park said she hopes to build interest in science around the area.

“I get excited about science, and I get really excited when kids get excited about science, too,” said Joli Sucy, who took the position in mid-January.

She said she enjoys working with children of all ages, describing them as a “perfect audience.” “They just have the best energy ... they’re always excited,” Ms. Sucy said. “All you have to do is hold your hand up with an animal, and all the focus is on you.”

A native of Hilton, Ms. Sucy has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Juniata College, Huntingdon, Pa., and a master’s degree from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse.

Her work experience includes time with the Massachusetts Audubon Society on Cape Cod and a job as an outdoor educator at Camp Thunderbird, a YMCA facility in South Carolina.

She said she is looking forward to expanding the zoo’s outreach to schools and community groups. She also said she wants to develop the zoo’s volunteering programs and possibly bring back events such as the pre-K reading program.

Ms. Sucy said there are a “lot of great things planned” that will be announced soon on the zoo’s Facebook page.

The zoo had announced the hiring of Jason J. Harris for the job in early January, but that fell through because of housing issues. Ms. Sucy, one of the other top candidates in the search, subsequently was hired.

Zoo Executive Director John T. Wright said he was most impressed by her knowledge of area species, along with the passion she has for her work.

“It was an easy decision to call her right away,” he said.

Ms. Sucy replaces Colleen B. Bernard, who left the zoo in late 2011 to take a similar position with the Friends of the National Zoo, Washington, D.C.

Ms. Sucy commutes to work from Syracuse. She said she is looking for a house in the area with her fiancÚ.

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