Meet the team: Mark Norris
Published: May 13, 2019Today, for our Meet the Team Q&A, we will be catching up with one of our longest-standing members of staff, Mark, to find out a little bit more about his years at the zoo!
Hi my name is Beth and I’m the Marketing Assistant here at Newquay Zoo. Today, for our Meet the Team Q&A, we will be catching up with one of our longest-standing members of staff, Mark, to find out a little bit more about his years at the zoo!
What department do you work in and what is your role?
I am an education officer here at Newquay Zoo, which means that I work with schools and colleges including Cornwall College in Newquay.
How long have you worked here?
What made you want to work at a zoo?
I didn’t! It’s quite a funny story actually, I was a teacher at a Cornish School when I was approached by Mike Thomas, who ran Newquay Zoo from 1994 – 2003, to set up Cornwall College. This was supposed to be a temporary job, well it’s 23 years on and I’m still here…
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself and the zoo?
I was born in the same year Newquay Zoo officially opened – and it’s our fiftieth anniversary this year…!
Also, I love growing vegetables for the animals here at the zoo using our World War Zoo garden, which you can spot near the lions. We tend to grow spinach, pak choi, leeks and lots more.
What’s your best memory of the zoo?
This is a tricky one, I’ve got so many to choose from! So I’ll try and whittle it down to two…
I would have to say one of them would be the amount of outreach work we used to do. We used to travel all over Cornwall going to schools, village halls and WI meetings with our mini beasts, which was amazing. We got the chance to go to places that we would never normally think of going and speak to so many different people. However, it was very tiring!
Setting up Cornwall College in Newquay is also a stand out moment. It only took me, Mike Thomas and Mike Kent around 18 months to set up the course, which isn’t very long at all! It was very rewarding and gave us the opportunity to meet some incredible students over the years.
Which animal has been your favourite over the past 23 years?
Without a doubt it would have to be the Madagascan hissing cockroaches
They have survived millions of years and they also have the yuck factor!
If you could choose three members of staff from Newquay Zoo, past or present, to invite to a dinner party, who would you choose?
It would be great to sit down and have a cup of tea with Peter Lowe, Norman Marshall and Ernie Littlefield. They all helped in the build of the zoo so it would be good to reminisce and hear their side to the Newquay Zoo story.
And finally, just to mix it up – what is your favourite film?
The Star Wars or Indiana Jones films - I went to see them when they first came out in the cinema and I still enjoy them to this day.