Joshua Watson is the new Assistant Professor at the Santa Fe Teaching Zoo. He teaches Introduction to Zoos and Aquariums, Aquarium Culture, and Mammal Culture.
“This is a total dream job,” he said.
Joshua is passionate about animals and remembers always being fond of them.
“Almost from the cradle, you’ll find pictures of me with animals. Even before I could walk, I’ve always loved them,” he recalled.
Joshua was born in Van Nuys, Calif., raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, and his parents live in North Port, Fla.
Before coming to Santa Fe to teach, he worked as a naturalist at Crooked River State Park in St. Mary’s, Ga., where he took care of reptiles and participated in educational programs for the community.
Joshua was educated here in Gainesville. He received a bachelor’s in Wildlife Ecology at the University of Florida and then earned an AS degree from Santa Fe in our Zookeeper Technology program.
While getting his degree at UF, he met his wife, Lana. The two have been married for five years and previously lived in Jacksonville.
“We’re here to stay. We recently had our first child, Liam, my baby boy, and he’s 3 months old,” he said, grinning.
You can’t be an animal lover without having a few of your own. This family has a small zoo! They have two dogs, two cats, a turtle, a lizard, a Mexican black king snake, and a partridge in a pear tree!
Outside of work, Joshua enjoys hiking and birding the most, and of course, with a new baby, sleeping.
He’s most thankful for a healthy wife and child and the opportunity to teach at Santa Fe Teaching Zoo.
“It’s a way for me to give back. I love interacting with the students when they’re doing labs and taking care of the animals. That’s what I enjoy the most.”