PROFILE: Penelope Bodry-Sanders
When Broadway actress-singer Penelope Bodry-Sanders answered an advertisement calling for volunteers at the American Museum of Natural History, she did so only with the certainty that it was time for a change from the stage world of The Threepenny Opera, Jesus Christ Superstar, and the New York Shakespeare Festival: “I have always been interested in anthropology and animal behavior, so it was not just a random chance to volunteer at the Museum.”
During her twenty years at the Museum, her experience was varied. She supervised and cared for bird colonies; preserved archival photographs, films, memorabilia, and other materials; curated a special exhibition on the history and accomplishments of the great explorer and collector Carl Akeley; and wrote Akeley’s biography. As Education coordinator for Discovery Tours, she designed and developed the educational component of the Museum’s travel program.
Inspired by Akeley’s vision and concerned about massive habitat destruction in Madagascar, she founded the Lower Primate Conservation Foundation. Dedicated to breeding and raising endangered lemurs in captivity, the foundation has purchased land in Myacca City, Florida and the reserve is now home to a colony of free-ranging lemurs that includes thirteenanimals of four different species. Says Bodry-Sanders, “ If each of us helps save a piece of the natural world, together we can accomplish a lot.”
More About This Resource...
This online article, from The Biodiversity Crisis: Losing What Counts, profiles the work of an actress takes a quick look at:
- Penelope Bodry-Sanders' acting and singing experience on the Broadway stage.
- How she first became involved in working with the AMNH, and her many subsequent roles at the museum.
- Her role as founder of the Lower Primate Conservation Foundation in Florida.
Supplement a study of ecology or biodiversity with an activity drawn from this essay about an actress who made a major career change.
- Ask students to name careers other than scientist that you can pursue if you have an interest in science.
- Send students to this online article, or print copies of the essay for them to read.
- Have them write a one-page reaction to the article, summarizing Bodry-Sanders' career in their own words.