Thursday, January 27, 2011

Facebook won the battle

Thank you so much for visiting my blog!

I am going to be honest – I broke my New Years resolution in 2010. Blogging was my goal, instead I found myself Facebooking.

To follow my daily adventures, please check out and

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Wanna be like Jack Hanna: Win a trip to South Africa or NYC Into the Wild Style

Last week was the launch of my first ever “contest”! The idea started last April when the Into the Wild crew and I filmed in South Africa at two amazing reserves – Shamwari and Sanbona.

During one of our adventures my daughter, Suzanne, and I were able to attend the Mantis Field Guide Academy at Shamwari for a day. We had a blast and this experience gave me an idea – I should send someone who loves animals to Africa to experience this amazing program! So the “Wanna Be Like Jack Hanna” contest was born! For contest details, click here. If you love animals, live in the United States, and are over age 17, I encourage YOU to apply!

I’ve been very fortunate to have a job I love! During my travels, I have met so many people that passionately care about animals and wildlife and would give anything to turn that passion into a career.

I hope this contest will give a few deserving folks an opportunity of a lifetime!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

What a summer?! Montana 2010

Over the summer I work out of northwest Montana. It is one of the most beautiful places in the world. My wife, Suzi, and I cherish the time we spend hiking and playing with our dogs, Tasha and Brass. Here are a few photos from this past summer. Hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

My favorite picture of the summer. Jumping off the dock during the Cosequin commercial shoot.

Check out the Ron Foth production team in Montana!
We were shooting commercial number two for Cosequin. Photo Credit - Skyler Proctor.

The Ron Foth team made breakfast from scratch during the Cosequin shoot. It was delicious!

My daughter, Suzanne, and her family went hiking with with Sue and I up the Swan River Road.

My hats go off to the dedicated Glacier National Park Rangers!

As if the Von Trapps were not talented they are shooting my PSAs!

My college buddy, Pete, and his wife Marie near Glacier.

Hiking at Grinnell Glacier at Glacier National park - shortly before the bear incident in July.
Isn't Sue a good photographer?!

The mother grizzly (with the yearling behind her) right before the yearling charged!
Thank goodness for bear spray!

Here's everyone frantically trying to send the Grizzly shots to the newspaper
off the side of the road somewhere in Montana!

Just testing the bear spray! Justin Von Trapp was such a good sport
(and by the way it was just a test can - not the real deal!)

Breakfast with the Von Trapps and Coach Phil Fulmer!

Hiking with Coach and Vicky Fulmer, and the Von Trapps.

Photo Credit - Bret Bouda

Photo Credit - Bret Bouda

Photo Credit - Bret Bouda

Photo Credit - Bret Bouda

Photo Credit - Bret Bouda

Sue and I getting ready to head back to Ohio for the season.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


When I was a boy, my father would occasionally take me to Atomic Motor Speedway, a dirt track outside of Lenoir City, TN. I loved the loud sounds, fast cars, and the adrenaline rush! Nothing was better than coming home from the track with dirt caked all over my body (to my mother's dismay).

Years later, after getting settled in Columbus, I decided to pursue racing as a hobby. I attended the Skip Barber Racing School at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and participated in 6 or 7 IMSA series races. Even though I almost always came in last, I still loved every minute of it.

My amateur racing hobby came to a screeching halt after the Columbus 500. My car spun out right in front of the grandstand (which I thought was really cool). After the race, my father looked me right in the eye and said he'd disown me if I continued racing! He told me that I had a family and a zoo to take care of, and that I was by no means a skilled or professional driver, so I should stick to what I was good at! So that was the end of that, but I still love the sport.

When Nationwide Insurance asked me to attend the Nationwide NASCAR Series race in Sparta, KY, I jumped at the chance!

Though I haven't raced in years, I still loved going to the track in Sparta. Here are a few of the photos - it was thrilling to meet the drivers and watch the race. My grandkids came with me and had a ball too!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Nationwide is on wildlife’s side

In 1978 the Columbus Zoo needed a new director. I saw the job listing and knew that Columbus had a good children’s hospital (important for my daughter Julie), so I submitted my resume. I can’t imagine what the search committee thought when I walked into the room - shaggy hair, big thick glasses, three young daughters, and a nice Tennessee twang. Most people would have thought “oh, brother” and asked to see the next candidate. But Blaine Sickles, a member of the Columbus Zoo Board of Trustees and Nationwide Insurance executive, had a good feeling about me.

The Zoo Board had cold feet after my interview, but Blaine, normally a teddy bear of a guy, really let the board have it! He told the Board that I had met all the agreed upon criteria for the position and the search committee had worked very hard on finding a new director. And, he added, anyone who voted against me would be serving on the new search committee! Of course, I didn’t know this at the time, but fortunately for me, Blaine’s argument won them over and I started what would become a 30+ year career with the Columbus Zoo.

So I’m here today because one man advocated on my behalf. Little did I know how my life would change over the next thirty years and how important Nationwide Insurance would be to the Zoo’s history and future expansion. Nationwide Insurance supported the first exhibit I worked on as director – the American Bald Eagle habitat. They have supported nearly every major renovation or expansion since then, and most recently helped bring back the Polar Bears. I can’t wait until our new Polar Frontier region opens later this spring!

Today, I’m proud to announce a new partnership with the organization partly responsible for bringing me to Columbus, Nationwide Insurance. Nationwide Insurance, my longtime partner in wildlife conservation, will be co-sponsoring Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild with the Columbus Zoo, as well as my national speaking tour.

I’ve spent my whole career as an advocate for animals and conservation. My partnership with Nationwide Insurance is a natural fit because they are advocates too – for their customers, their hometown community, and their hometown zoo. With Nationwide’s help and support, we will be able to reach more people than ever before with the important conservation message, and hopefully inspire millions to learn about and take action to protect animals and our environment.

Thank you, Nationwide!

Monday, January 11, 2010

My New Year's Resolution

With a new year, comes a new resolution - mine is to be a better blogger! December was definitely a WILD month. My family and I bundled up and spent the holidays in Montana, and then to warm up we rang in the New Year in Pasadena for the Rose Parade (GO BUCKS!) Below are several photos taken during December - I hope you enjoy them!

Thank you so much for following my adventures and I hope you have a happy and healthy 2010!

Filming an Christmas Special the Maury Show. In this photo (a little blurry, sorry) you'll see me, Maury, my friend Tom Stalf from the Niabi Zoo, and an alpaca!
While on a scouting trip for Into the Wild, Suzi and I went on a dog sledding adventure in Olney, MT. We had such an amazing time - dogs certainly are amazing creatures!

Suzi and I with our three girls - Kathaleen, Suzanne, and Julie.

And since Sue and I didn't have any sons, thought you might enjoy this picture of me and my son in-laws (Billy and Julian) and grandsons (Blake and Jack). We were certainly blessed to be able to spend Christmas with our entire family. There is one thing for sure - never a dull moment with 13 people under one roof!
While in Pasadena for the Rose Parade, I took the whole family to Disneyland!
Gabriella, my granddaughter who lives in England, was so excited to meet a "real person" princess.

This year the Rain Bird float featured my favorite animal, the mountain gorilla. Isn't it beautiful!? The Rose Parade was especially fun this year with all of the Ohio State fans along the route.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Oh, baby!

We ended our film trip with a bang! The crew and I spent our last day in Malaysia at the Kuala Gandah Elephant Conservation Centre. This baby Asia elephant wished me a safe trip home by planting a big kiss on my lips! Can't wait until these shows air in the Spring so INTO THE WILD viewers can see all the amazing things we did.