Amy Jones-Timoney

By

College: Agriculture, Food and Environment

UK Alum’s Lifelong Curiosity Fosters Unique Career at Area Zoo

Published: Apr 15, 2014

 

Video Produced by UK Public Relations and Marketing.  To view captions for this video, push play and click on the CC icon in the bottom right hand corner of the screen.  If using a mobile device, click the "thought bubble" icon in the same area.

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 15, 2014) — While the animals understandably take center stage at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, the environment where they live is always on the mind of UK alum Steve Foltz.

 

As director of horticulture for the zoo, it’s his job to create habitats for hundreds of animals every day. 

 

“It's so hard to get the right plants to grow in exhibits,” said Foltz.  “Trying to put shade in a giraffe exhibit when they can reach 20-25 feet is very difficult.  We also have to make sure we have the right plants in some of the exhibits but then also use some plants to actually feed them, and we have to make sure there's nothing toxic in the exhibit.”

 

Part of the Covington native’s job involves research, as he discovers what plants grow best in particular locations within the zoo exhibits.

 

“What excites me everyday is we get to plant plants, and not only just plant them but test them out, keep records on them and figure out which plants are doing better than other plants and then we provide that information back to the community,” Foltz said.  “That obviously came from my training at the University of Kentucky.”

 

Foltz was an ornamental horticulture major in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.


“The University of Kentucky taught everything from trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, to soils, to the chemistry of turf. It's not just about the plants, it’s about being able to grow plants successfully and all of those courses were tailor-made for my job right now.”

 

Foltz says his outside-the-classroom experience also helped propel his career through internships. 

 

“I did two internships at the Cincinnati Zoo and botanical gardens, and that’s when I realized this was more than just a zoo,” Foltz said. “Then I was hired as assistant director, and I just basically worked my way up.” 

 

He also earned valuable experience helping to build The Arboretum near UK's campus, what is today a favorite spot for students.

 

“Just as I was leaving, they were building The Arboretum, so I was one of the ones that helped with the first planting. It’s nice to see that grow and see how well it’s doing now,” Foltz said. 

 

The Northern Kentucky resident enjoys making the short drive to Lexington to visit not only The Arboretum but also to cheer on the Wildcats and reminisce about life on campus.

 

“It was just really a great place to be ― it felt like home,” Foltz said. “UK offers a wide variety of learning experiences.  It was just so well rounded for me, and I really enjoyed that type of environment.” 

 

Foltz says the professors helped to foster an atmosphere of learning. 

 

“The professors were so welcoming and knowledgeable,” Foltz said.  “They were and still are the best in their field."

 

Some 25 years later, Foltz is thankful his professors shared that expertise with him as he gears up for another summer season doing the job he loves.

 

“We have 1.3 million people coming through the door, so to create a landscape that’s enjoyable to that many people is just phenomenal,” Foltz said.  “Seeing the people come in and go, ‘wow it’s so beautiful here,’ I never get tired of hearing that. It is really a nice way to make a living.”

 

Watch more UK Alumni “see success.” stories by clicking on the playlist below.

 

 

 

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February
 
1
Graduate Student Congress Meeting (February)
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Tue
3
K Crew Recruitment
Last Day to Drop a Course Without Appearing on Transcript
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Wed
4
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Undergraduate Research Information Session
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Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
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Explore Blue
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Bill Adams: Blue Madness
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Law School Prep Workshop
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Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
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10
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Off-Campus Student Association Information Session
Get Yourself Tested!
Showcase your Talents: Building a Strong Portfolio
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Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
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11
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Off-Campus Student Association Information Session
Study Abroad in Berlin!
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
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12
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Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Ash and the Market: Ceramic Exchange, Political Economy, and the Late to Terminal Classic Transformation of the Kiuic Polity
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14
K Crew Recruitment
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
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15
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16
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17
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Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Wed
18
Undergraduate Research Information Session
Soup & Substance: Real Talk, Real Issues, & Real People Series
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Thu
19
PharmD Interviews
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Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Off-Campus Student Services' Wildcat Apartment Hop #2
SAB Underground Formal
Fri
20
PharmD Interviews
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Sat
21
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Sun
22
Undergraduate Research Information Session
University Health Service- Let It Go
Mon
23
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
University Health Service- Know Your Numbers
University Health Service- Mindful Eating
Tue
24
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
UK Elder Care Lunch & Learn - Don't Blame It On Aging
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Wed
25
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Thu
26
Explore Blue
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
Open House: Selections from the John and Sue Wieland Collection
Dimensions of Political Ecology Conference
Eday Talk by Georgetown Toyota President Wil James
Do What You Are: Connecting Personalities w/ Profession
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Concert in the Museum: Central Music Academy
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27
Dimensions of Political Ecology Conference
Bill Adams: Blue Madness
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UK E-Day
Sat
28
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29
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Monday through Wednesday - Students are prohibited from changing academic major
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Mon
 
 
 
 
 
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