When Amber Koch is doing an animal program at Great Bend’s Brit Spaugh Zoo, she likes for audience members to “get their hands dirty.”
Koch is the new education coordinator at the zoo. She accepted the part-time job this month after the former coordinator, Danielle Ricklefs, left the zoo for a full-time position as assistant director of the Shafer Art Gallery at Barton Community College.
Koch said she her job is to educate the public and introduce people to nature, but her goal is to do that in a fun, hands-on way. During a recent “Creepy Crawly” class, she took the kids outside to hunt for insects.
“I want people to connect to animals the way I have,” Koch said. She remembers visiting some great zoos as a child, which is what led to her own desire to become a zoo educator.
“I knew then I wanted to do something in the animal field,” she said. “I love it all.”
Koch will finish her degree in biology this December at Fort Hays State University. She’s lived in Great Bend for the last seven years, and had previous experience working in guest services at Brit Spaugh Zoo while earning her Associate of Science degree at Barton Community College.