Dr. Donna Fernandes | WNY Scientist 2009

DonnaFernandesDr. Donna Fernandes became President/CEO of the Buffalo Zoo in September 2000. Prior to joining the zoo, she received her M.B.A. from Simmons School of Management. She also has a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Brown University and a Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution and Behavior from Princeton University.

Dr. Fernandes has a vast amount of experience in Zoo management and in informal science education. From 1996-1999, she worked for the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York as the Curator of Animals and Education at Prospect Park Wildlife Center. Before that, she was Vice President of Programs at Zoo New England in Boston. Dr. Fernandes also served as Senior Zoologist for Joseph A. Wetzel Associates – a leading exhibit design firm – and Director of Education, Research and Volunteers at Zoo New England. For five years, Dr. Fernandes hosted an interactive television series for middle school students focused on insects and other arthropods. She also served as the resident animal expert on National Public Radio’s Living on Earth.

Since her arrival in Buffalo, Dr. Fernandes has completed an exciting new master plan and raised $28 million in capital funds for a revitalized Buffalo Zoo. In the last six years, several major exhibits have opened including Vanishing Animals, EcoStation, Otter Creek, Sea Lion Cove and M&T Bank’s Rainforest Falls.