New Director at Fresno's Chaffee Zoo

March 21, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Fresno's Chaffee Zoo has a new director, less than two weeks after the former director left. Scott Barton works as the General Curator at the Reid Park Zoo in Tucson, Arizona.The Board of Directors sifted through about two dozen applicants before making their decision. They say Barton has a wide range of experience, and it all started in Fresno.

After the Fresno Chaffee Zoo's former director unexpectedly left two weeks ago, the Zoo's Board of Directors wasted no time finding Lewis Greene's replacement.

Colin Dougherty said, "It was a tight race but Scott came out on top and he has a tremendous background. He's an exciting young man, he's got great ideas and I think he's bringing us a great history of his background in the zoo world."

Scott Barton is a Fresno native. He graduated from Fresno State, and started his zoo career in 1980 as a zoo keeper at what was then the Roeding Park Zoo.

From there, he went on to work at the Brevard Zoo and Disney's Animal Kingdom in Florida and most recently, the Reid Park Zoo in Tucson, Arizona.

He says the decision to leave Arizona was difficult. But ultimately, the thought of returning back to his roots won him over. "The idea of a long career that's taken me across the country and then somewhat coming home and also helping with all the projects going on at the zoo," said Barton.

Barton's new job means he will inherit a master plan to expand Fresno's Chaffee Zoo. He intends to move forward with that project thanks to Measure Z funds and a supportive community. "The community has been so generous in their support and has provided the opportunity for Fresno to really become one of the leading zoos in the country," said Barton.

Barton will move to Fresno at the end of April. He officially starts on May 4th.

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