The Aquarium of Niagara recently welcomed Richelle Swem for the position of curator of animals, and Joe Weickart for the position of director of development and marketing. They are pictured.
Swem has an extensive background in animal training and care. For 15 years, she worked at SeaWorld of Orlando, in the animal care department, taking care of marine mammals; and as a member of the rescue, rehabilitation and release program. Following SeaWorld, Swem moved back to Pennsylvania to work at the Erie Zoo as a keeper for large cats, apes and bears. She furthered her career becoming supervisor of behavioral training and then on to the position of supervisor of animal care for the entire zoo before joining the Aquarium of Niagara.
"I look forward to being a part of this magnificent team here at the Aquarium of Niagara. There are so many wonderful opportunities here and the future is going to be amazing," Swem said.
Weickart brings a knowledgeable background in development and marketing. He was born in Long Island and moved to Western New York with his family when he was 16 and never left. He was director of development for the Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village (formerly Amherst Museum) for two years. He then moved up to executive director for nine years before branching out and starting a tourism business. Weickart discovered development was his true passion and wanted to get back into the field, which brought him to the aquarium.
"I cannot imagine a better place to work with WNY's business community to enhance the aquarium's facilities to provide the best in care for our animal collection, while also enhancing our guest experience," Weickart said.