Thursday, May 25, 2017

Confessions of an Accidental Zoo Curator by Annette Libeskind Berkovits

Confessions of an Accidental Zoo Curator by Annette Libeskind Berkovits. Tenth Planet Press, 2017. 

Confessions of an Accidental Zoo Curator was such a surprising and unexpected book that I wasn't sure how I felt about it at first. However, as I continued reading and then continued reflect on everything I read, I realize that this truly is a fascinating, informative book about the development of zoo conservation and education, and more specifically about an incredible woman's life.

Berkovits introduces us to her life and guides us through her many life changes and experiences in an engaging manner with humor, honesty, and graceful writing. Her personality shines through her words, and I was captured by her insightful and detailed storytelling.

I loved Berkovits' passion. I could feel her determination, strength, and love for her family and work with every word she wrote. I felt that this book had a good balance of both her personal family life -  from her birth in Kyrgyzstan to details about her family members - and her professional life. Her passion for learning and education is seen at an early age, and I enjoyed reading about her progression to her eventual career. She comes across as a sort of woman who is easy to admire, as she both faced and surpassed many different obstacles ranging from her own personal self-doubt and struggles to issues such as sexism and learning how to work in an unfamiliar environment. 

What surprised me the most about Berkovits was the fact that she didn't really have a very animal-heavy childhood, and she didn't really seem to be the extreme animal lover that one expects of anyone involved with zoos. I had expected this book to focus more on the animals themselves, but Berkovits focuses more on the conservation education aspect, which proved to be extremely interesting. Zoo-based wildlife conservation is not something I think about very often, so I really enjoyed learning about this from a woman who has based her life and career around this topic.

There has been a bit of controversy over zoos and some wildlife conservation in recent times, and I think Berkovits does a wonderful job explaining both her and zoo members' goals of protecting, saving, and bringing awareness to others about the purpose of zoos and how they hope to benefit the animals that they care for. Although I did enjoy learning as much as I did, I did think that this book would focus a bit more on the animals themselves, so that was slightly disappointing. Her writing style captures you, but is also a time a bit brief, which left me wanting to hear more about certain aspects of her life. 

Overall, I have given Confessions of an Accidental Zoo Curator four stars! If you are at all interested in zoos, wildlife conservation, or if you simply enjoy reading about interesting and successful women, I highly encourage you to check this one out.

About the Author:
Annette Libeskind Berkovits was born in Kyrgyzstan and grew up in postwar Poland and the fledgling state of Israel before coming to America at age sixteen. In her three-decade career with the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York, she spearheaded the institution’s nationwide and worldwide science education programs. Her achievements include the first-ever agreement to bring environmental education to China’s schools. The National Science Foundation has recognized her outstanding leadership in the field.


No comments:

Post a Comment