Zack Zdinak

no pronoun preference or declaration

I am gay and I am a wildlife biologist who has evolved into an wildlife artist, environmental educator and interpretive graphic designer.//

 

Hi everyone! With a BS in Wildlife Management from West Virginia University I worked in National Park units (Arches, Canyonlands, Saguaro, Chiricahua) as field biology and forestry technicians, and interpreter. I Settling in Flagstaff, AZ, for snow, I worked for the Coconino and Kaibab National Forest (Hotshot fire crew, wetland mapping, interpretation), and the US Fish & Wildlife Service studying humpback chub (fish) in Grand Canyon.

I also trained with the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators and National Association for Interpreters. My freelance business, Life Drawing & Education, http://www.lifedraw.com, has served over 80 clients – parks, museums, historic sites, schools, and tribes – to educate visitors through custom signage, exhibit and publications. Recent I’ve added Paraprofessional work at Flagstaff High School, assisting special needs students in science classes.

I was fortunate to have my sexual awareness surface in a town accepting of LGBTQ+ people. I came out gradually in the late 1980’s, learning later there were 3 closeted gay men on my Hotshot fire crew, and 2 in my USFWS district. A close cadre of hetero men friends supported me to trust and commitment to my sexual awareness.

I’ve helped out with local public gay events. In 1997 fell in love with my partner Robert (a lab biologist), developing the sweetest, mind-blowing relationship I had never known possible and shedding shame. Friends, 6 siblings, Mom and work mates embraced him as well. After 17 years, we live apart now as stronger fiends. Now, I’m exploring BDSM, raising native plants, drawing info graphics, swimming, cc sking and pondering my elderhood.

As I treasure the life I’ve lead, I do wonder if I had open gay science peers, role models and supervisors as you all, would I have spent less time hiding and dealing with mental health? I hope my outness helps motivate young peopl to explore ways they can participate in science inquiry and a welcoming world.

Best wishes everyone in your careers and inspiration to others! Reach out through my website if you like to talk.

Life Drawing & Education, http://www.lifedraw.com
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/zackzdinak

http://www.lifedraw.com/