We’re sending congratulations to Head Gardener, Carl Stevens, who today reaches a tree-mendous 40 years working at DZC!
The 57-year-old was thanked and presented with gift vouchers for his dedication and service by Zoo Director Derek Grove and Zoo Manager, Matt Lewis, and we’ll also be planting an ornamental cherry tree on site in his honour.
Carl was just 17 when he joined Dudley Zoo as a groundsman, after initially going to start work in a factory as an aerospace engineer.
Carl said: “I’ve always had an interest in gardening since my dad used to give me a cucumber or tomato plant to care for when I was little.
“I was all set to go to work in a factory, but dad asked if I really wanted to work inside or do something outside, I made my decision and the rest is history!”
Carl started work at DZC straight from college after studying horticulture and worked his way up to the top job in 1994, where he now leads a team of gardeners who tend the 40-acre site.
Over his four decades, standout moments include working his first Easter bank holiday when 7,500 people visited in one day; meeting and marrying Upper Primates Section Leader, Pat and hand rearing red-ruffed lemur twins, Nelson and Hardy alongside Pat 18 years-ago.
Carl added: “To work anywhere for 40 years is an achievement, but there’s not many people who can say they work in the grounds around a castle and exotic animals every day. It’s certainly a special place to be.”
Zoo Director Derek Grove, said: “Carl is one of our longest serving members of staff, starting work as a fresh-faced wee lad and learnt his trade on the job, gaining experience and knowledge through his own hard work and enthusiasm. Carl is a great example of an employee dedicating his working life to one goal, that of improving the gardens and landscape at Dudley Zoo and Castle and on behalf of all the staff, we thank him and his team for all the hard work they do.”