Full Bio

Annette Berkovits was born in Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet Republic, near China’s western border. She is the daughter of Polish Jews who survived World War II in Soviet gulags. Daniel Libeskind, the noted architect and master planner for rebuilding Ground Zero in New York is Annette’s brother.


Annette’s birthplace

Annette received her primary education in Lodz, Poland and in Tel Aviv, Israel. On her arrival in New York as a teenager Annette entered the highly selective Bronx High School of Science not speaking a word of English, the only student to ever be admitted without taking the entrance exam. She earned a BS in Biology from City College of the City University in New York in its heyday and later a Masters Degree in educational administration and supervision from Manhattan College.

Annette at Bronx Zoo

In her three-decade career with the Wildlife Conservation Society, based at New York’s Bronx Zoo, she led the institution’s nationwide and worldwide science education programs. Berkovits spearheaded partnerships among school systems and conservation organizations. She negotiated the first ever agreement to bring environmental education to China’s schools, long before China became an industrial power. Similar programs in Papua New Guinea, Bhutan, Cuba, India and elsewhere, followed.

For several years she served as the Chair of the International Association of Zoo Educators. Even before being elected to lead the international association she convened the First Pan American Congress for Conservation Education in Venezuela attended by representatives from dozens of nations.

Recognized for her leadership in the field of science education by the National Science Foundation, Berkovits authored and edited numerous science education publications for children and teachers.

Now retired, she is pursuing her life-long love of writing.

Her stories and poems have appeared in Silk Road Review: a Literary CrossroadsPersimmon Tree; American Gothic: a New Chamber Opera; Blood & Thunder: Musings on the Art of Medicine; and in The Healing Muse. Her essay appeared in Curator: The Museum Journal.

Her first memoir, In the Unlikeliest of Placesa story of her remarkable father’s survival, was published by Wilfrid Laurier University Press in September 2014 and reissued in paperback in 2016. A Polish translation is forthcoming.

Her second memoir Confessions of an Accidental Zoo Curator was published in April 2017. Berkovits has completed another non-fiction manuscript, Learning to Speak American, and is working on a poetry collection, Erythra Thalassa, as well as a novel.

Berkovits and her husband share their time between Manhattan and Florida.

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