Drone Pilot JobsCity of Eureka Announces Leadership Retirement, Names New Director at Sequoia Park Zoo – Redheaded Blackbelt

October 1, 2021by helo-10
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Sequoia Park Zoo [Photo from City of Eureka]

Effective Friday, October 1st, 2021, Mr. Jim Campbell-Spickler will assume the role of Sequoia Park Zoo Director, immediately following the retirement of retiring Zoo Director Gretchen Ziegler.

Ms. Ziegler has worked at Sequoia Park Zoo since 1995, and in the role of Zoo Director for the past 15 years. During her career at the Zoo, she guided the development of several new exhibits, including the Barnyard, Bill’s Garden, the red panda and renovated flamingo exhibits, Watershed Heroes, the new Redwood Sky Walk and upcoming new bear exhibit.

“It has been a huge privilege to work with such great staff, volunteers, Board and community members over the years who have helped transform our little hometown zoo into one of the best small zoos in the country. I couldn’t have asked for a better job. Now, I am looking forward to shifting focus a bit, while remaining on the Board of the Sequoia Park Zoo Foundation.”

Jim Campbell-Spickler was heavily involved in the Sequoia Park Zoo’s Redwood Sky Walk project during its initial design and construction, and was hired by the city as a Special Projects Manager in February to inspect and monitor this dynamic new experience.

Mr. Campbell-Spickler brings a wealth of project and business management, non-profit experience, as well as a background in wildlife and redwood forest ecology to his new role. He received both his Bachelors of Science degree in Wildlife and his Masters of Science in Biology at Humboldt State University. He is also an accomplished rope-access professional and drone pilot that has worked as a rigger and cinematographer on projects with National Geographic, the BBC, Discovery, and other programs.

“Gretchen leaves behind a legacy of leadership excellence, and the team she has assembled here at the Sequoia Park Zoo is amazingly talented. We’ve got such great momentum going with the addition of the Redwood Sky Walk experience. It is an honor for me to lead this team into the future as we

continue to improve our visitor experience with new exhibits and learning opportunities,” Jim

Campbell-Spickler said.

“Gretchen’s tenure at the Sequoia Park Zoo, as its leader and dreamer, saw the Zoo transform into a world class institution beloved by the community and now embraced by people from all over the country and world. She will be forever connected to its success,” Leigh Pierre-Oetker, Executive Director of the Sequoia Park Zoo Foundation added. “We are so excited to welcome Jim into this role and work alongside him. He is incredibly smart and cares deeply about the mission of the Zoo, its staff and our future.”

“It has been Gretchen’s guiding vision and strategic leadership that has transformed Sequoia Park Zoo into the award-winning organization we know and love today,” Donna Wood, City of Eureka

Community Services Director said. “With the bar set high and after an extensive national search, I have no doubt that Jim’s decades of experience, expertise, and genuine enthusiasm will ensure that our AZA accredited community zoo will continue to inspire and educate for generations to come.”



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