Press Room

Press Photos

All the sample images below are available as digital files for use with articles about the Santa Barbara Zoo. Digital files can be provided by email or FTP site as jpegs suitable for Web use (72 dpi), or for newspaper or magazine/book use (300 dpi).

To request images: Email Julia McHugh, Public Relations Director.

Please include the name of your publication, the ID numbers for the images you would like to receive, the format (size/resolution of file you need), and delivery option (email or FTP site). We will determine if your request meets our guidelines and respond to your email promptly.

Media FAQs

I am a member of the press. How do I arrange a visit?

If you are actively working on a story, the Zoo will waive your admission fee. Contact our Director of Public Relations, Julia McHugh, viaemail or phone: (805) 569-3303. Alternatively, contact our Director of Marketing, Dean Noble via email or phone: (805) 962-5339, ext. 116.

I need to interview someone for a story. Who do I call?

Julia McHugh, Director of Public Relations: (805) 569-3303 or email your request.

I’m working on a print/video story. Do you have any photographs or video I can use?

We have a variety of visuals for use by press. For photos, please see below. Please email Julia McHugh, Director of Public Relations or email Dean Noble, Director of Marketing.

I’d like to shoot a commercial video/television project at the Zoo. Is there a fee?

We do allow commercial shooting at the Zoo, and we do charge a fee. Fees are determined on a case-by-case basis; see our Filming Guidelines policy. For more information, please email us.

I am a student working on a school project. Can I get a tour of the zoo or talk to a keeper?

We appreciate your interest in the Zoo! Due to the high number of requests, we can only make tours and staff available for professional press. But please feel free to make use of the information on this website for your project.

I am a photography student and want to come take photos of animals. Can I do that?

Only photographers on professional assignment are allowed free admission, but students may take photos of the animals for project use only; for resale or professional uses, please see our Filming Guidelines. Students must pay admission, unless you are a student at the Brooks Institute. For Brooks Institute students, your instructors may have day passes available; please contact them directly to inquire.

How do I request tickets for donation to a charitable cause?

If your nonprofit organization is holding a fundraiser, the Santa Barbara Zoo may be able to help by donating two guest passes to be auctioned or raffled off. More information can be found on the Support page.

I am a blogger and would like to bring my family to the Zoo and then write about it on my blog. Do you provide passes?

Passes for bloggers are granted based on the following criteria. Blog must:

  • Currently have at least 1,000 followers
  • Have been in existence at least one year from date of request
  • Be professionally presented and have significant amount of written content
  • Focus on travel, animals, or parenting

Blog sites are reviewed to ensure that their content is in line with the Zoo’s mission, and requests can be refused on that basis. If accepted, the blogger receives one pass for themselves and one guest pass. Any additional admissions must be paid.

Staff Bios

Rich Block

Chief Executive Officer

Education
BS degree, Environmental Studies, Principia College; Elsah, Illinois
MS degree, Natural Resource Management, University of Michigan; Ann Arbor, Michigan

SB Zoo History
Joined Zoo staff in 1998 as CEO/Director

AZA activities
Member since 1984
Conservation Education Committee
Roadside Zoo Task Force
Wildlife Conservation & Management Committee
Member Ethics Board

Other Activities
Board Vice President, California Association of Zoos & Aquariums (CAZA)
Board President, California Association of Museums (CAM)
Member Rotary Club of Santa Barbara
Member Advisory Committee, Endangered Species Update (University of Michigan)
Former Member Adult Education Curriculum Advisory Committee, Santa Barbara Community College

Prior Experience
Indianapolis Zoo, Vice President for Science & Program Development
World Wildlife Fund, Director of Public Programs/Senior Fellow
Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, Executive Director
Zoo Atlanta, Education Curator
Kansas City Zoo, Director of Public Relations
University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources & Environment, Instructor/Administrator

Nancy McToldridge

Zoo Director

Education
BA degrees, Pre-professional Zoology and Geography, Ohio Wesleyan University

SB Zoo History
Joined Zoo staff as Education Curator in 1982
Became Assistant Director in 1988
Named COO in 2002
Named Zoo Director in 2008

AZA activities
Member since 1981
1985 – 1991 Public Education Committee (Chair)
1998 – 2001 Public Relations Committee (Advisor)
1991 – 1994 Publications Review Special Committee
1995 – 1998 Ethics Board (Chair)
1998 – 2004 Charter & By-Laws Committee (Chair)
1999 – 2002 AZA Board of Directors
2000 – 2003 Public Relations Committee
2001 – 2007 Communique Editorial Board
2002 – 2005 Regional Workshop Program Committee
2002 – 2006 National Awareness Campaign Committee (Chair)
2002 – Present Accreditation Commission (Chair 2007-2008)
2014 Mentor in Executive Leadership Development Program

Other Activities
Faculty Member, Exotic Animal Training and Management Program, Moorpark College
Advisory Committee, Andree Clark Bird Refuge
Exotic Animal Training and Management Advisory Committee, Moorpark College

Prior Experience
Interpretive Naturalist, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio State Parks

Julie Barnes, BVSc MSc

Director of Animal Health & Care

Education
BVSc (Bachelor of Veterinary Science) (Hons),University of Melbourne, Australia
MSc (Master of Science), Wild Animal Health, London Zoo & Royal Veterinary College, University of London

SB Zoo History
Joined Zoo staff as Director of Animal Health in 2011
Relief Veterinarian, 2005 – 2011

Other Activities
AAZV (American Association of Zoo veterinarians) – member since 2000
WDA (Wildlife Disease Association) – member since 2000
Published papers in in scientific journals including The Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine and Marine Mammal Science
Published book chapter; Medicine of Australian Mammals; Pinnipeds, 2008
Taught undergraduate and postgraduate veterinary students from Sydney University, Melbourne University, Western University of Health Sciences, University of California at Davis and other veterinary schools.

Prior Experience
Relief Veterinarian at Melbourne Zoo (Australia), Healesville Sanctuary (Australia), and Santa Barbara Zoo
Clinical Veterinarian at Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia; Ocean Park, Hong Kong; and Los Angeles Zoo
Campus Veterinarian, UCSB
Field veterinarian in Antarctica
Conservation projects and recovery programs at Taronga Zoo, Los Angeles Zoo, and Santa Barbara Zoo.

Dr. Estelle Sandhaus

Director of Conservation and Science

Education
PhD, Psychology (Specialization in Cognition and Brain Science, Minor in Biology), Georgia Institute of Technology; Atlanta, Georgia
MS, Psychology (Experimental, Animal Behavior), Georgia Institute of Technology: Atlanta, Georgia
BS, Animal Physiology and Neuroscience, University of California at San Diego

SB Zoo History
Joined Zoo staff in 2006 as Conservation & Research Coordinator
Became Assistant Director of Conservation & Research in 2008
Named Director of Conservation & Research in 2013

Research Interests
Wildlife Conservation
Animal Behavior
Animal Welfare

Prior Experience
Research Associate, Zoo Atlanta

Dr. Aaron Marshall

Director of Education

Education
PhD, Experiential Education, University of Edinburgh, 2015
MA, Philosophy, Biola University, 2008
CA Teaching Credential, Chapman University, 2003
BA, Interdisciplinary Studies, George Fox University, 1998

SB Zoo History
Joined Zoo staff, 2013
Married on Zoo grounds, 2004

AZA activities
Member since 2013

Other Activities
Co-Founder, Impact Edventures, 501(c)3 service learning organization
Board Member, Active Education Foundation

Prior Experience
Department Chair, Valor High School, Denver, CO
Educator & Aquatics Coach, Various High Schools, California

Rachel Ritchason

Curator, Birds and Records

Education
BS, Biology and Captive Wild Animal Behavior, San Francisco State University

SB Zoo History
Joined Staff as a Senior Keeper in July 2007
Named Animal Care Coordinator in 2009 and Registrar in 2010
Named Curator of Birds and Records in 2012

AZA activities
AZA Member since 2002
Rhinoceros Hornbill Studbook Keeper and SSP Coordinator
Member – Zoological Registrar Association since 2010
Professional Development Programs Include: Managing For Success: Career Development, Advanced Avian Program Management, Population Management, Institutional Records Management

Other Activities
San Diego Zoo’s Incubation Workshop
Volunteer, San Francisco Zoo

Prior Experience
San Francisco Zoo (San Francisco, California), Animal Keeper – Birds

Michele Green

Curator, Mammals

Education
BS, Zoology, University of California at Santa Barbara
AA, Biology, Santa Barbara City College

SB Zoo History
Volunteer Keeper, 1997-2000
Joined Zoo staff as Keeper, 2000-01
Became Senior Keeper, 2005
Named Animal Care Supervisor, 2006
Named Curator of Mammals, 2008

AZA activities
Member since 2001
Steering Committee, AZA Pangolin, Aardvark and Xenarthran Taxon Advisory Group(PAX TAG), 2013

Other Activities
Wildlife Management Studies Course; Nairobi, Kenya
Primate Behavioral and Ecology Research; Cariari, Limon, Costa Rica

Prior Experience
Happy Hollow Park and Zoo (San Jose, California), Keeper
Animal Hospital of Thousand Oaks, Veterinary Assistant

Mark Huelly

Curator, Ectotherms

Education
BS degree, Biology, San Diego State University

SB Zoo History
Joined Zoo staff as Apprentice Keeper in 2007
Named Keeper, Ectotherms in 2010
Became Senior Keeper, Ectotherms in 2012
Named Assistant Curator, Ectotherms in January 2016
Became Curator, Ectotherms in May 2016

AZA activities
Member since 2007

Other Activities
Member, American Association of Zoo Keepers
Founder, Santa Barbara Chapter, FrogWatch USA
Zoo Representative for Chelonians, Ambassador Animal Scientific Advisory Group
Barbara Heidenreich Animal Training Workshop
Volunteer, Channel Islands Marine & Wildlife Institute
Volunteer, Ojai Raptor Center