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Jonathan Gilmour Memorial Scholarship Fund

GilmourbikeThank you to everyone who participated in our 7th Annual Jonathan Gilmour Memorial Scholarship Fund Ride and Walk, held on Saturday, May 10, 2014!

The bike- and walk-a-thon, which began and ended at Hollis’ historic Lawrence Barn, featured multiple routes specially designed for cyclists or walkers ranging from beginner to expert. Riders, volunteers, family and friends enjoyed a festive post-race picnic.

Proceeds supported Zoo New England’s Jonathan Gilmour Memorial Scholarship Fund, which provide the opportunity for members of the Zoo community to pursue conservation projects, education opportunities, research initiatives and other wildlife-focused efforts.

Donate to the Fund

Protecting Wildlife at Home and Abroad

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

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."

2014 Scholarship Award Recipients

Thomas BedettiTropical Forest Facilities Worker - scholarship to support his carpentry coursework at the North Shore Regional Vocational Technical School.

John BerkholtzSenior Zookeeper - scholarship to support his project tracking released head start Blanding’s turtles at the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge and adjacent wetlands in Concord, Massachusetts.

Katelyn DeatonZookeeper - scholarship to support her participation at the Alouatta Sanctuary, a mantled howler monkey sanctuary in Panama.

Emily IrvingDevelopment Assistant - scholarship to support her participation in the 2014 Basics Fundraising course offered by the Association of Fundraising Professionals

Jeannine JackleAssistant Curator - scholarship to support for her participation in the Conservation Psychology Institute Workshop this past October.

Rachel JakoselemSenior Zookeeper - scholarship to attend the International Gorilla Workshop in Atlanta, Georgia.

Colleen O’DonnellEducation Coordinator/ Teen Programs - scholarship to support tuition for Boston University’s Certificate Program in Nonprofit Management and Leadership.

Jean OrlandoVeterinary Technician - scholarship to attend the Association of Zoo Veterinary Technician annual conference at Jekyll Island, Georgia.
This is her second Gilmour Scholarship award.

Benjamin OuelletteSenior Zookeeper- scholarship to support his participation in the Project Dragonfly program at the University of Miami Ohio.

Robert SheridanCarpenter Technician - scholarship to support his certification cost so he can attain a Massachusetts Construction Supervisor License.

Nikki SmithLead Keeper - scholarship to support the AZA mid-year conference that she had attended this spring. This meeting included the Regional Collection Planning session for the Turaco and Cuckoo TAG.
Nikki is the program manager and studbook keeper for the red-crested turaco. This is her second Gilmour Scholarship award.

Courtney TandySpecial Events Manager - scholarship to attend the 2014 AZA Annual Conference in Orlando, Fl.

Jeffrey TaylorSenior Keeper / Pest Control Manager - scholarship to attend the 2014 American Association of Zoo Keepers Conference in Orlando, FL.
This is his second Gilmour Scholarship award.

Grace VeresZookeeper – scholarship to support her participation in the Tambopata Macaw Project in Peru.