By Kim Meyer-Webb | Photography by Dero Sanford | Hair & Makeup by Suzy Balkman with Bristle + Balm | Wardrobe by Kim Hamric, fashion stylist & personal shopper with Dillard’s Park Plaza | Special thanks to Conservation Education Animal Keepers Andrea McDaniel & LeeAnn Goette | Appearances by Reptar the African spur-thighed tortoise & Shelia the bearded dragon
“If I am anything in life, it is determined. When I decide something matters to me or that I can help others by solving a problem, I throw myself in with everything I have.”
Jessica Scott is a paleoecologist at UA Little Rock. She is fascinated by nature and educated in the nuances of biology, geology and anthropology. She believes future generations should enjoy a healthy planet with ample opportunity + quality of life. Her commitment to this vision is steadfast with a devotion to the Little Rock Zoo that’s equally impressive.
As an ardent ambassador for conservation, Jessica serves on the Arkansas Zoological Foundation Board of Directors and is determined to provide Arkansans with a truly global perspective of what that means. “The Little Rock Zoo gives children the chance to look into the eyes of an elephant, watch in amazement as a cheetah climbs a tree and laugh at the river otters as they splash,” Jessica explains. “Interactions with our animals teach empathy and an appreciation for other species. There is no greater gift that our zoo could give the state.”
Little Rock Zoo amenities, like the new Dino Train, are made possible through the support of the Arkansas Zoological Foundation. The foundation celebrates the important role that the Little Rock Zoo plays in our community – offering a unique opportunity to experience international, sometimes endangered, animals and the importance of wildlife conservation. The board of directors is comprised of civic leaders, like Jessica, who have a vested interest in the natural world and preservation of its most precious resources.
Exhibits and offerings reflect the zoo’s unwavering mission to educate + inspire. “Travelers on the Dino Train will learn about different types of dinosaurs, the species that lived right here in Arkansas, and visit the living descendants of dinosaurs at the tropical bird house.” Jessica continues, “It teaches the history of our planet and what life was like before the age of mammals.” As part of the zoo’s sustainable initiative, this all-electric train will ignite curiosity and foster a better understanding of the conservation.
At UA Little Rock, Jessica is part of the team that comprises the Donaghey Scholars Honors Program. She admires and recognizes that the students challenge her to consider alternative ideas. “That means I have constant motivation to read broadly and make sure I am ready for whatever they come up with next.” With a mischievous glimmer in her eyes, Jessica admits she revels in the pursuit of knowledge and perspectives that change her mind. “I went into academia because I love to learn. The Little Rock Zoo is the perfect intersection of my interests – science, education and our community.”