April 15, 2014
LEXINGTON, Ky., -

While the animals understandably take center stage at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, the environment where they live is always on the mind of UK alum Steve Foltz.

As director of horticulture for the zoo, it’s his job to create habitats for hundreds of animals every day.

“It's so hard to get the right plants to grow in exhibits,” said Foltz. “Trying to put shade in a giraffe exhibit when they can reach 20-25 feet is very difficult. We also have to make sure we have the right plants in some of the exhibits but then also use some plants to actually feed them, and we have to make sure there's nothing toxic in the exhibit.”

Part of the Covington native’s job involves research, as he discovers what plants grow best in particular locations within the zoo exhibits.

“What excites me everyday is we get to plant plants, and not only just plant them but test them out, keep records on them and figure out which plants are doing better than other plants and then we provide that information back to the community,” Foltz said. “That obviously came from my training at the University of Kentucky.”

Foltz was an ornamental horticulture major in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

Read more on UKNow

News Topics: