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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August
 
1
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
Mon
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UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
Tue
3
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
Wed
4
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
End of the Summer II 2016 Eight-Week Session
Thu
5
 
Fri
6
 
Sat
7
 
Sun
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Mon
9
 
Tue
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Fri
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Parent and Families Open House
Sat
14
 
Sun
15
 
Mon
16
UK Women's Forum Board Meeting
Tue
17
 
Wed
18
 
Thu
19
K Week Kick-off
Off-campus Freshmen Check-in
Parent and Families Reception
Fri
20
New Student Induction Ceremony
Big Blue U
Getting Around Campus and Beyond
Campus Ruckus
Sat
21
UK Lex-Mart
K Team Lunch
Late-night Target Run
Sun
22
TEAL Classrooms Open House
TEAL Classrooms Open House
TEAL Classrooms Open House
TEAL Classrooms Open House
Dinner with your K Team
Mon
23
We Are UK
TEAL Classrooms Open House
TEAL Classrooms Open House
TEAL Classrooms Open House
TEAL Classrooms Open House
Campus Tours for K Teams
Tue
24
First Day of School Photos
First day of classes of Fall 2016
Wed
25
Pedalpalooza
First Day of School Photos
Thu
26
OCSS Wildcat Block Watch
Fri
27
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Red River Gorge Adventure Trip for Out-of-State Students
Music Workshop for Teachers and Students: Michael Chandler
Flight 5191 Tenth Anniversary Memorial Service
Sat
28
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Sun
29
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Mon
30
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Last Day to Add a Class for Fall 2016
Last Day to Withdraw to Receive 80% Refund
Tue
31
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Wed
 
 
 

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