new director

NDC Welcomes New Executive Director, DeAndra Ramsey

After a thorough search, the Board of the Nature Discovery Center is thrilled to announce that local conservationist and environmental educator DeAndra Ramsey has joined the Center as their new Executive Director. Ramsey comes to the Center from the Houston Zoo where she worked for ten years in the Conservation Education department connecting communities to wildlife and natural spaces.    

“We heartily welcome DeAndra to the NDC team and know she will connect very well with our NDC community” says Board President Kristen Buck. “DeAndra has a robust passion for nature and a breadth of experience in environmental and conservation education programs, project management, volunteer and outreach programs, and cultivating community partnerships.” 

DeAndra Ramsey grew up along the Gulf Coast of Texas with a love of animals and nature. Since graduating from Texas A&M University with a B.S in Biomedical Science, Ramsey has worked in the conservation community for over 15 years. Beginning in 2003, she became an active community speaker, engaging the public with programs on the natural history and conservation of bats. She began her career at the Houston Zoo in 2010, where she was involved in conservation initiatives including pollinator conservation and prairie habitat restoration. Ramsey was awarded the title of Conservation Champion for her work with the Texas Bat Monitoring project she has led at the Houston Zoo along with facilitating the partnership between the Houston Zoo and Bat Conservation International. Ramsey also works with Buffalo Bayou Partnership to further conservation education efforts in relation to our amazing urban wildlife we have right here in Houston. Now, alongside her husband, she is raising her son to have the same empathy for wildlife she has.  

“I am excited to be a part of the Nature Discovery Center, a place where urban communities can connect with nature and see the value in our native plants and animals that surround our wonderful city. People often overlook the wonders of nature that are here in our backyard. The Center allows our communities to explore our natural spaces and I can’t wait to grow the relationship our community has with the world around them and with the Center itself.” 

When DeAndra Ramsey accepted the job of Executive Director at the Nature Discovery Center earlier this month, she knew that she would be challenged with leading the Center through its continuing recovery from the pandemic. She was eager to support Center staff in their ongoing efforts to find creative and safe ways to connect the community with nature during these difficult times. What she did not expect was to be faced with with the toughest first weeks on the job ever tackled by any Director in the Center’s history. The unprecedented deep freeze we just experienced was a trial by fire, and Ramsey met the challenge, managing staff and animal care concerns and overseeing critical park preparations in communication with the City of Bellaire, all while still “learning the ropes”.    

Ramsey is excited to bring her expertise in community engagement, conservation education, and environmental advocacy to the Nature Discovery Center. She recognizes that the Center’s mission to ignite lifelong curiosity, understanding, and respect for nature through education is a critical component of inspiring and empowering visitors to take action and make a difference in the natural world.  

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Nature Discovery Center Welcomes Bethany Foshée as New Executive Director

Bethany Foshée, an avid birder and naturalist, a driven educator, and a devoted conservationist, has spent her entire adult life preparing to be the director of a nature center, a passion she hoped to eventually pursue. Today, Tuesday, January 29, 2019, the Nature Discovery Center will welcome her as their new Executive Director. Foshée brings with her 20 years of experience in animal care, environmental education, volunteer and community outreach programs, and project management. Foshée has spent the last 5.5 years as Edith L. Moore Sanctuary Manager for the Houston Audubon Society, and has spent the past 11 years as the Director of the Houston Audubon Docent Guild. Before her time with Houston Audubon, Foshée worked locally with YES Prep Public Schools, Buffalo Bayou Partnership, Memorial Park Conservancy, and the Houston Zoo.

“We are thrilled to have Bethany join the Nature Discovery Center team,” said Nature Discovery Center Board President Jennifer Nelsen. “Her breadth of experience, from grant writing to maintenance of facilities and grounds, from direction of environmental education programs to volunteer coordination and the development of community partnerships, make her uniquely qualified to lead and support the team in igniting lifelong curiosity, understanding, and respect for nature through education.”

As our world becomes increasingly urbanized and our climate increasingly imperiled, reconnecting people with nature is more imperative than ever. Foshée believes that by delivering meaningful outdoor recreation and interpretive opportunities, and by reminding people of the joy that can only be found in nature, we can engage our community in ways that foster a true appreciation for protecting our natural spaces.

Foshée’s passion for providing all people with the opportunity to connect with nature grew from her own childhood discoveries. “Growing up in the urban complex of Houston, my earliest experiences in nature included exploring our city’s channeled bayous, vacant lots and utility easements. While these settings might not sound picturesque or even truly ‘natural,’ they informed me of one powerful lesson: we are part of nature. ” When asked about her new role as Executive Director of the Nature Discovery Center, Foshée said “The Center offers families and children a chance to be present… present to nature around them and to each other… vital joys in life that are often lacking in our modern, urban lives. I am humbled and excited to join the NDC team to continue our great work together.”

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