Who We Are
John Lebert (Curator)
Through personal research and hard work John learned the art and techniques of raising and breeding reptiles and birds. John brings to the GLZS Zoo 25 years of experience in reptile, exotic bird and small animal husbandry and captive breeding. In 1996 John built a facility for captive breeding both reptiles and parrots. Since that time, he has successfully bred 27 species of reptiles and amphibians and 15 species of exotic birds; including boas, pythons, salamanders, monitors & other lizards, macaws, cockatoos, softbills, conures, and various other Psitticines (parrots, hookbills).
John brings tremendous management experience to the zoo, as well. In 1994 John and his wife, Beth, purchased their first pet store, which they have owned and managed until this day. John's philosophy in the pet trade has always put conservation, education, public safety, and animal husbandry first and foremost over revenues. Along these lines, John has participated in educational animal shows in Washtenaw, Livingston, and Lenawee Counties. These shows focus on the importance of conservation and the role of reptiles and birds in the world's ecosystem, how to recognize dangerous animals, and how important it is to not buy inappropriate animals for the home such as large snakes, crocodilians, and venomous snakes and lizards. The main focus in John's store has been to provide to the public only captive born birds, reptiles and small animals many of which were bred in John's facilities.
Andrea Guibord (Executive Director)
Andrea Guibord has spent the majority of her career strengthening nonprofits with mission drivers including youth development, healthcare and the arts. She majored in business/advertising in 1990 and most recently, returned to school to focus on her true passion: environmental biology. Andrea spent more than 15 years working in managerial and executive positions for a variety of non-profit organizations. While the career path that she fell into was challenging and fulfilling, she spent all of her life yearning to work in the environmental field.
In 2010, Andrea returned to school to focus her studies on ecology and environmental biology, and in 2012, graduated with a B.S in Integrated studies with an environmental biology focus. She plans to continue on and pursue a Masters in fisheries and wildlife.
During her second career as an FSU student, she was challenged with several opportunities for growth and experience. Firstly, a part time job and an internship with a YMCA camp allowed her to delve into the inner workings of a local wetland wherein she created and implemented updated wetland programming.
Secondly, she spent a summer working for the Department of Natural Resources as an educational outreach coordinator. This experience, coupled with strategic biological studies, allowed her to further research one of her greatest passions, the current state of the Great Lakes and her tributaries and the effects of varying invasive species on this important ecosystem, particularly Asian carp of the genus Hypophthalmichthys.
Lastly, she had the tremendous opportunity to work and train under the guidance of a published professor in Ferris State's pharmaceutical research lab. Employed as part of a team who synthesized and purified norel PPAR delta/gamma agonists for Type II diabetes using solid phase synthesis, Andrea was provided with tremendous experience in chromatography, separation and TLC plates for various structures. She became the lead chromatographer, managed the lab, and trained incoming students.
An integrated degree with an ecological and environmental focus coupled with a strong background in non-profit management allows her to bring stability and experience to a fledgling and rapidly growing organization.
Guibord has experience in growing local grass roots organizations and has also regionally managed national nonprofits including City of Hope National Medical Center and the American Lung Association. Andrea is a graduate of Ferris State University.
Megan Sanderson (Educational Outreach Coordinator)
Upon graduating, Megan took a job as a zookeeper at the Pueblo Zoo in Colorado. While in this position, she continued to develop her knowledge of animal care for a wide range of species. As a head keeper, she loved caring for her animals but also strived to connect with zoo guests through educational programs and volunteering in the Education department. She eventually moved back to Michigan and began working in the Primate Department at the Detroit Zoo. This setting allowed her to not only expand her knowledge of zoo animal care, but presented her with the platform to educate guests through daily keeper talks and presentations. It also re-directed her career focus, being a voice for the animals she worked with and their wild counterparts around the world.
Regardless of the organization or position, Megan has strived to inspire people to be passionate about animal care and welfare in all types of settings. She has continued her education by attending conferences focusing on zoo welfare and conservation at various institutions. She brings her experiences gained from working in multiple zoos and wildlife centers, focusing on animal behavior and welfare as an educator, researcher, zookeeper and overall advocate for animals. She enjoys connecting with zoo visitors to share her passion for creating healthy environments and understanding the impacts our actions can have on animals in zoos, in the wild and at home.
Sara McCune (Development Assistant)
Allison Long (Operations Associate)
For as long as she can remember, Allison has had various types of pets. She has kept many smaller species such as anoles, geckos, scorpions, and ball pythons as well as dogs, cats, fish and small mammals. As a child, Allison aspired to be an exotic vet and work at an exotic animal rescue. While over time her career focus has changed, she is very happy to be realizing the dream of working at a rescue and conservation center.
Allison started out with the Great Lakes Zoological Society as an animal husbandry volunteer. She soon became a part of the zoo keeper team, and has worn many job-title hats along the way. She is currently the Operations Associate and handles much of the supplies, facility and staff needs. She also works with the Curator, John Lebert, in running the adoption and surrender program, finding homes for unwanted pets and animals in need. Allison says that it is very rewarding when you find a home for an animal, and see it get to go to a good home.
Jan Zuidveld (Head Keeper), Melissa Goodrich (Keeper)
Melissa Goodrich brings a wide variety of experience and her endless enthusiasm to the GLZS team as a zoo keeper. She works with Jan and our volunteers to provide the necessary daily care and feeding for the animals. She also works with Sara McCune and the zoo's events board to help plan and run special events at the zoo.
David Wooten (Scientific Advisory Board)
David A. Wooten
Cara Shillington (Scientific Advisory Board)
Dr. Shillington received her B.S. and M.S degrees from Washington State University, and she received her Ph.D. from Oklahoma State University in 2001. Currently an Associate Professor at Eastern Michigan University Dr. Shillington takes an integrative, field-based, evolutionary approach to studying the physiological ecology of ectothermic organisms, especially arachnids and arthropods (but also including reptiles and amphibians). Her research concerns a variety of interactions between animals and their environments, including ecological energetics, behavioral ecology, thermoregulatory physiology and thermal ecology. Her research at this time centers on potentially adaptive whole-animal functions as expressed in the context of natural habitats including intra- and intersexual variation in energetics of tarantulas, and thermal preferences of a variety of organisms. Other areas of interest include studies of animal behavior, particularly sexual strategies and mating behavior, as well as feeding behaviors and preferences.
Brian McEwen (Scientific Advisory Board)
Brian brings both entomology and herpetology expertise to the GLZS. Brian has experience with honey bees, mantids, and rescue and rehab of indigenous turtles.
Dr. Gretchen Hui, DVM (Dr. Hui of Veterinary Medical Center PC provides veterinary care to all the Center's animals)
Dr. Gretchen Hui, DVM
The Great Lakes Zoological Society was founded by Mark and Jane Creswell in 2008 after becoming aware of the number of reptile and amphibian pets that were surrendered or improperly cared for. After several years of caring for a large number of unwanted pets, the couple opened the World of Discovery in 2011. Their goal was to educate the community by promoting conservation and coexisting with wildlife while serving as a rescue and rehabilitation center for reptiles and amphibians.