How does a Bronx boy go from a career in basketball to one in wildlife? By marrying a flight attendant.
Taking advantage of Diana’s airline passes, Gerry Ward traveled outside the United States for one of his first times to Africa, where he fell in love for the second time… with wildlife photography.
Shortly thereafter, Gerry retired from the NBA, and began full time with the food service company for whom he flipped burgers during his offseasons. He quickly tired of the daily Manhattan grind, but the opportunity to ditch the commute, suit and tie did not present itself until a visit several years later, to a new account, his childhood zoo, the Bronx Zoo.
With his new appreciation for wildlife, Gerry noticed the lack of realistic wildlife product selection in the gift shop, borrowed $50 (which was a lot in 1974) from Diana’s mother to purchase an adding machine, and Wildlife Artists was born in his cottage basement. Partnering with renowned wildlife artists, Wildlife Artists created and produced wildlife-themed items with the hope that putting something endearing and tangible in children’s hands would spark their desire to do more for our world.
A move to Connecticut, and 40 years later the next generation of basketball, and wildlife-loving Wards are involved in the business that considers employees and customers amongst its family members. It is rewarding to have a product that has been and always will be defined by quality, creativity and something that is uniquely our own. And we couldn’t be more grateful for what we do, with whom we work and partner, and the homegrown passion we show for wildlife through our products.