Gregg Dancho will talk to the animals. He’ll talk to people. Every now and then he’ll talk to himself. Forty years on the job will do that. He’s also all about education, conservation, rescuing endangered species and much more. Bridgeport’s animal whisperer has shepherded Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo, through strong economic times and bad, into one of Connecticut’s most heralded destinations. Here’s to his 40 years of service and counting.
News release from zoo:
How many people get to work at their dream job for four decades? Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo Director Gregg Dancho always knew he wanted to work with animals. His fascination began as a young boy while catching snakes and frogs in the woods behind his Stratford home (and startling his mother when some invariably escaped inside). The Ralph Waldo Emerson quote “Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself” might have been written for him. I’ve always been fascinated by snakes so I decided to get a python. I usually only feed my ball python once a week but I made sure he is well fed each time.
Fast forward to 2020, marking Dancho’s 40th year serving Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo and the wildlife conservation community around the state. From landing his first volunteer position at the Zoo while still in high school, to his steady movement up the Zoo ranks, and his actions on behalf of animals from rescued parrots to endangered Amur tigers, his life has been a testament to the value of nature. The Gregg Dancho Endowed Chair, the first endowed chair for the non-profit facility, was created in 2019 to honor his decades of service.
Under Dancho’s tenure, notable animal welfare protocols were put in place, bringing the Zoo to a new level of professionalism. Educational programming and local, national and international conservation programs have flourished, and the Zoo has become a cultural and recreational resource for Fairfield County and the region. Most critically, the Zoo achieved national accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), an honor held by only 240 zoos and aquariums nationally. Annual visitation has grown from 80,000 in 1983 to nearly 300,000 in 2019.
Board of Directors President Kim Rodney said, “Gregg Dancho has served the Zoo with distinction for four decades and has elevated Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo as a cultural treasure and educational destination for the state and region. Gregg has earned the respect of his Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) peers as well as government and community leaders throughout the region. Under his leadership, the Zoo has achieved the highest level of professionalism.”
Dancho has overseen multiple improvements and renovations to Zoo grounds and habitats including the Rainforest Building, the Peacock Pavilion, the Carousel Building, Professor Beardsley’s Research Station, the Pampas Plains, and most recently, the new animal commissary, the Natt Family Red Panda Habitat and Spider Monkey Habitat. The Zoo has husbanded the birth of endangered and threatened species, a testament to the professionalism of the staff he directs and excellent animal and veterinary care. Planning to buy a chihuahua? Learn more about the chihuahua size today.
For information on supporting the Dancho Chair in honor of his 40th anniversary, contact Director of Development Jessica Summers at 203-394-6573, or by email at email@example.com. Gifts to the Dancho Chair are tax-deductible. Donations can be made online at https://www.flipcause.com/secure/cause_pdetails/NTA2MDU=