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Jonathan Gilmour Memorial Scholarship Fund

Proceeds from the Jonathan Gilmour Memorial Scholarship Fund provide the opportunity for Zoo staff members to pursue conservation projects, education opportunities, research initiatives and other wildlife-focused efforts.

Members of the Zoo New England community have used their scholarships to participate in a variety of local and international conservation initiatives including:

  • Reintroduction of endangered drill baboons back into the wild of Nigeria
  • Restoration of Atlantic puffin colonies off the coast of Maine
  • Assessment of the impact of the jaguar predation on marine turtle populations in Costa Rica
  • The use of radio transmitters to study population dynamics of endangered turtles in Massachusetts
  • Study of space and resource use by Grevy’s and plains zebras around people and livestock
  • Educational opportunities, including New England Wildlife Center's "Rehabilitation Methods" course, AZA's "Ambassador Animal Management" course, and a "Practical Zoo Nutrition Management" course held in Washington D.C. 
Make a donation to the fund

2022 Award Winners

​Kelsey Clarke, Lead Keeper in Hooves & Horns: To support her participation in the AZA Course, “Managing for Success: Career Development”           

Megan Coleman, Zookeeper: To support her attendance at the Livestock Conservancy’s Conference at new Poitou donkey breeding facilities and attendance at workshops on artificial insemination techniques.

Bridget Collins-Lyman, Zookeeper: To support a subscription to photo taking and editing coursework.

Diane Devivo, Membership & Guest Experience Associate: To support her enrollment in a program through the American Academy of Grief Counseling to obtain a certificate in Pet Loss Grief Support.

Christine Dumbleton, Senior Zookeeper: To assist in her enrollment in the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Giraffe Care Workshop. This is Christine’s 2nd award!

John Grant, Zookeeper: To support his visit to the Maryland Zoo of Baltimore to meet with zebra keepers & trainers.

Courtney Hamm, Zookeeper: To support her enrollment in a Venomous Snake Handling Course & Master Herpetologist: Captive Husbandry and Management. This is Courtney’s 3rd award!

Colleen Joyce, Senior Keeper: To support her participation in a multi-day workshop held at Tanganyika Wildlife Park where participants will participate in a rhino training workshop, enrichment making session, and several group discussions.

Amanda Kerstman, Ambassador Animal Supervisor: To support her enrollment in the Principles of Ambassador Animal Management Course offered by AZA. This is Amanda’s 2nd award!

Michelle O’Brien, Senior Keeper: To support her in assisting in the rehabilitation and release of wildlife in Borneo, Malaysia. This is Michelle’s 2nd award!

Jean Orlando, Veterinary Technician: To support her presentation at AZVT Conference and meeting with officers of the International Dark Sky Association. This is Jean’s 2nd award!

Britni Steingard, Senior Zookeeper: To support her enrollment in the Class Act Camels training workshop. This is Britni’s 2nd award!

Deborah Jon Toupouzis, Zookeeper: To support her enrollment in Herpetologist Programs put on by the Amphibian Foundation and The Rattlesnake Conservancy.

Julie Towne, Leadership Giving Officer: To support her membership to The Planned Giving Group of New England in order to increase charitable gift planning at Zoo New England.

In Memory of Jonathan Gilmour

GilmourIn Memory of Jonathan Gilmour

"My favorite part of the day comes near quitting time. When the sun is going down and I’m leading the giraffes down the long paths to where they go to sleep, it’s just me and them and it’s perfect."
- Jonathan Gilmour

For five years, Jonathan Gilmour worked as a zookeeper at Franklin Park Zoo where he cared for animals including giraffes, zebra, bongos and camels in the Hooves & Horns department. His love of animals was not only deeply rooted within him, it was also far-reaching.

Jonathan was in Scotland working on a masters program, entitled “Applied Animal Behavior and Animal Welfare,” when he died suddenly from an embolism that had formed in his legs and migrated to his lungs. Just prior to his passing, he was preparing for a trip to Greece to work on a dolphin project with Earthwatch.

In 2002 while he was a Franklin Park Zoo zookeeper, Jonathan was honored with the title of "Ultimate Zookeeper" by Microsoft Corp. He won the title through a national contest centered on Microsoft’s “Zoo Tycoon” game. The competition focused on zookeepers' abilities and conservation platforms, as well as their skill in building the ultimate zoo within the game’s frameworks.

To exemplify Jonathan’s passion and devotion to all creatures, here is a poem taken from one of his notebooks:

“I implore you, my fellow man
- To clasp this problem at hand
- We are Threatening this great planet
- And all those living upon it
- As we conquer our doubt equating
- We are erasing many things out
- Things which will not return, no matter how hard we yearn
- No matter how long we mourn - we will leave nothing but scorn
- What cause for the reason
- This betrayal, this treason
- For the mess we have made - and the soiled ground we have laid.
- We will look forward only in demise, for the mistakes we contrived.
- And when our friends are all gone
- Our path will become ever more lonely and long
- For who then will travel beside us
- Offer comfort, or provide us
- If not for merely a reflection of our own evolution
- These things of which I speak - These friends who seem so meek– They
- Are simply all God’s creations forming each side of the equation
- The formula that is earth - in each death and each birth
- It is the animals I say -
- A vital part of our stay
- The other half of God’s game
- And yet - we are nearly one in the same.
- We are all made of hair, and of flesh and of blood-
- We all have our needs, and our wants and can all learn to love
- We’re all living creatures, with many similar features-
- And with each brand new day, it becomes more easy to say -
- That with each closer look, we must rewrite the book -
- And correct each mistake of our historical take
- How could man made in heaven have such a wild, beastly bretheren?

- It was clear from the start, that we stood well apart-
- God formed man in his likeness
- We alone were the righteous.
- Yet - our stand has now changed - our perceptions rearranged
- It is our science, our knowledge, our intellect that has brought us in check -
- Man may have proved beyond a doubt, how all life came about -
- And if there is truly a God, staring straight down -
- Judging each and every creature, - whether sky, sea or ground -
- And if it is also God’s will to create from the heavens above us, then there is
- Still no denying
- That God made all creatures from the same earthly substance."