Charlotte Smith

Director of Conservation Education

  • Qualifications BA MA
  • Focus area
    People Policy
  • Location
    At the Zoo Madagascar and the Mascarenes South East Asia

I joined Chester Zoo as Head of Learning in 2014, having previously worked in education leadership roles in the museums and galleries sector. In 2021, I became Director of Conservation Education.

I am passionate about creating learning programmes that empower people to make positive changes for themselves and for the environment. Working with colleagues across the organisation, I am delighted to be leading our work to empower 10 million people to live more sustainably and support the other targets of our Conservation Masterplan.

My remit at the zoo encompasses the strategic development of all of our education, visitor and community engagement activities. Our teams develop and deliver events and daily activities for zoo visitors, school, college and university programmes, outreach, community development, field based engagement projects, capacity building for educators, volunteering, interpretation and digital learning.

Our education research enables us to increase the efficacy of our work by understanding which education techniques are more effective in which situation and with the many different stakeholders we work with.

I am particularly interested in the factors that influence human behaviour, both in individuals and at a societal level, and in research that enables us to design more effective education programmes, whether that is enabling zoo audiences to make their gardens more wildlife friendly and make more informed consumer choices, or engaging communities around our field sites. I am also interested in how we build the capacity of our partners and others within and without the conservation sector to deliver more effective education and engagement programmes.