CT's Beardsley Zoo's Conservation Discovery Corps Students Honored with Awards

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – The Zoo’s Conservation Discovery Corps (CDC) program promises to provide area teens with experiences in local conservation and field work, while offering the opportunity to work beside wildlife biologists. For two CDC students, Trumbull High School rising seniors Sophia Carletto and Noah Green, their work at the Zoo is just one part of their commitment to animals and science. 

In addition to their regular coursework in the high school, both attend the Trumbull Agriscience & Biotechnology Center. They were honored at the end of the school year with awards which recognized their extraordinary commitment to animal science. With Sophia’s focus in Wildlife Management and Noah’s in Natural Resources, they both participate in the Supervised Agricultural Experience, with their CDC hours at the Zoo contributing to the required time commitment. Both Sophia and Noah were honored with Proficiency Awards, for in-depth projects that exceeded academic expectations. 

In addition, both students compete with other teammates in the Natural Resources and Environmental Science Career Development Event (CDE), where they placed first as a team and will be going on to national competition in Indianapolis in October 2023. In individual CDE competition, Sophia placed second and Noah placed ninth. 

Finally, both students received Volunteering Awards with more than 200 hours spent volunteering at the Zoo. Noah holds the summertime record for most CDC student days spent at the Zoo, with a total of 74 for 2022. 

Noah and Sophia work regularly with the school’s farmyard animals, including rare breed sheep, horses, a prize-winning cow, an alpaca, two miniature donkeys, and a duck named Demetrius Demarcus Bartholomew James III. Their love of animals is apparent in their dedication to their many animal and science-focused activities. The two have been friends for years, so working side by side comes naturally to them. 

CDC Program Coordinator Deszani Flemmings said, “Though our students come from varied backgrounds, many of them are interested in pursuing careers in the animal sciences. Sophia and Noah have demonstrated not only unparalleled teamwork, but also a particularly strong desire that’s shown in the number of hours they’ve dedicated to the program and their passion for animal conservation.”

Both students stressed their appreciation for the Zoo’s CDC program. Sophia said, “I always knew I wanted to do veterinary work, particularly with large animals. Joining CDC helped me gain a lot of valuable experience working with other kinds of animals. Conservation ended up becoming something really important to me. Especially since farms and wildlife have a hard time coexisting, I want to work toward bridging that gap.”

Noah added, “When I started CDC, I knew I wanted to go into something to do with zoology or wildlife biology. Since joining CDC, I realized my love for teaching and educating people. It made me want to be an educator, someone who does outreach to the public like we do in CDC.”

Sophia and Noah will join eight other CDC students traveling to Wyoming as part of the Yellowstone National Park Eco Expedition this summer. There they will have the opportunity to study grey wolves as well as species of Yellowstone wildlife with some of the world’s leading experts on their behavior, natural history and ecology. 

About Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo

Get your ticket to adventure! Connecticut’s only zoo, celebrating its 101st year, features 350 animals representing primarily North and South American and Northern Asian species. Guests won’t want to miss our Amur tiger and leopards, maned wolves, Mexican gray wolves, and red wolves.  Other highlights include our nw Andean Bear Habitat, Spider Monkey Habitat, the prairie dog exhibit, and the Pampas Plain with giant anteaters and Chacoan peccaries. Guests can grab a bite from the Peacock Café and eat in the Picnic Grove. As an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and participant in its Species Survival Plan (SSP) programs, the non-profit Zoo is committed to the preservation of endangered animals and wild habitats. Tickets must be purchased on the Zoo’s website at beardsleyzoo.org


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