SEATTLE, 2014-03-14 — /Travel PR News/ — Woodland Park Zoo announced the conclusion of its More Wonder More Wild Campaign which surpassed its $80 million goal by more than $3.5 million. The eight-year campaign is the largest in the zoo’s history.
Since 2006, the year the campaign launched, more than 15,750 private supporters, foundations, organizations, corporations, schools and children supported the fundraising effort. Of those, 10,700 or 68%, made their first gift to the zoo during the campaign, which included a $70 million goal for capital and program improvements and $10 million endowment goal.
“This is a watershed moment for our zoo, made possible by the devotion of so many private donors and campaign volunteers during the most trying economic downturn in more than three generations,” said Nancy Pellegrino, Chair of the WPZ Board of Directors. “It shows what a revered community icon the zoo is – and will be well into the future – because of the enthusiasm, vision and tenacity of supporters and friends. I’m especially proud that 100% of our board members stepped up through thick and thin to lead this ambitious effort.”
Every gift large and small has been essential to transform the zoo into a modern wonder of excellent animal care, science learning, wildlife conservation and sustainability. “I’m truly humbled by the remarkable commitment people of all ages have made to Woodland Park Zoo’s mission,” said WPZ President and CEO Deborah Jensen. “Today our zoo is a dynamic hub for engaging all generations in learning to care for and protect the wildlife with which we share the planet. I’m grateful to see how deeply our generous donors, zoo members and the people of Seattle embrace this worthy institution.”
Major accomplishments, to name a few, include new and expanded programs to educate diverse youth in our community, from early learners to middle and high school students, in science and environmental conservation; official protection of 188,000 acres of cloud forest in Papua New Guinea for tree kangaroos and people; a new, 10-year tiger conservation project in Peninsular Malaysia; and award-winning sustainable building and exhibitry design, including Zoomazium, an indoor nature-learning center, the Humboldt penguin exhibit and the West Entrance’s Bank of America Commons. (See attachment.)
“My Woodland Park Zoo journey began when I was 8 years old,” said Rick Alvord, former board member and major campaign supporter. “I’ve witnessed dramatic changes at this zoo. It’s still a great urban oasis for a weekend family stroll, but now it’s so much more. It’s a dynamic hub for saving animals, connecting 1.26 million visitors to conservation and sustainability, and educating future leaders.” Alvord and Maria Barrientos, also a former board leader, played key roles in getting the campaign off the ground.
Numerous young children have showed their love of the zoo through school fundraising contests, donating proceeds from bake sales or lemonade stands, and requesting birthday donations in lieu of gifts. Since 2007, 13-year-old Maille Martin has frequently donated her yearly charity allowance to the zoo, eventually convincing younger brother Griffin to join her. Since 3 years of age, Lucas Engles-Klann, another budding philanthropist, has enlisted help from his family and friends to hold an animal-themed auction each year for the last five years, ultimately donating nearly $12,000. When he was 10 years old in 2008, Harrison Grad, an avid penguin enthusiast, made the first youth gift to support penguin care in the Humboldt penguin exhibit. After learning about endangered species in school, for his seventh birthday Teddy Hanlon requested donations in lieu of birthday gifts to support the zoo’s red pandas. Many youth have filled Tiger Banks and proudly presented checks to zoo officials to help create a new Malayan tiger and sloth bear exhibit, which opens in May 2015.
Many young-at-heart community leaders also guided the campaign to success. Among them, Cameron Ragen and Stuart Williams, former board chairs, and Sally Wright, a campaign volunteer and former board member, were the driving force behind the $12 million Humboldt penguin exhibit/West Entrance project – the first major exhibit makeover completed during the campaign. Because of the zoo’s highly successful breeding program, the exhibit now houses a thriving colony of nearly 40 tuxedoed birds, the first animals encountered upon passing through the lush new entry plaza. Both projects earned awards for sustainable design. Up-close animal encounters and ways to help conserve endangered species in the wild are a favorite experience among zoo visitors.
The More Wonder More Wild Campaign has been the first private fundraising effort since a 20-year public-private management agreement between the zoo and the City of Seattle began in 2002. The partnership enables the zoo to pursue creative revenue ventures, such as WildLights, and attract major private funding to fulfill the Long-Range Physical Development Plan, which was approved by the city council. “Our zoo would not be as healthy and making such a big difference in the community without this public-private model,” says Bill Lewis who, along with Maggie Walker, both former board leaders, helped negotiate the agreement. Jan Hendrickson, former zoo board chair, emphasized that “community stakeholders voiced clear conservation and education directions for the zoo. This ambitious campaign has been essential in securing diversified financial support to deliver on the zoo’s promise.” Since the campaign began in 2006, the zoo’s base of private donors has grown 23%.
“The campaign’s conclusion does not mean we rest on our laurels,” said WPZ President and CEO Deborah Jensen. “The community wants to deepen the zoo’s positive impact on our families, schools and environment. Expectations are high. Strengthening support for this remarkable institution remains a top priority.”
Among the More Wonder More Wild Campaign donors, significant leadership support was provided by: The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, Richard and Nancy Alvord, Bank of America, Bezos Family Foundation, The Boeing Company, Brown Bear Car Wash, Conservation International, The Hugh and Jane Ferguson Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Joshua Green Foundation, Microsoft Corporation, Helen Mull, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, The Norcliffe Foundation, The Nysether Family Foundation, Allan and Inger Osberg, PACCAR Foundation, and Lisa and Charles Simonyi.
Highlights of MORE WONDER MORE WILD Campaign
Highlights of major program achievements include:
- More interactive guest experiences are getting kids and families closer to animals through delightful hands-on keeper talks, animal feeding experiences, and explorations of zoo wonders with smart-phone technology. New visitor engagement programs incorporate the science of conservation and the effects of climate change on wildlife in fun, action-oriented ways. A new customer service program ensures welcoming experiences, while Quarters for Conservation kiosks help guests direct their support to their favorite wildlife.
- An innovative, science-based animal nutrition program and upgraded commissary more efficiently tailor nutrition to species-specific needs, while new veterinary medical technology advances non-invasive methods of animal care. During the campaign, more than 1,400 animals were born at the zoo thanks in part to increased support for science-based breeding programs, called Species Survival Plans, which ensure genetic diversity and are managed cooperatively by the national Association of Zoos & Aquariums.
- Innovations in lifelong science and nature learning, including new and expanded early learning programs; new youth education programs on zoo grounds and in the community, such as ZooCrew and ZooCorps; and new school programs such as Co-existing With Carnivores, Project WOLFF and Ready, Set, Discover help underserved elementary, middle and high school students learn to think like scientists. In partnership with Miami University, the zoo launched a new Advanced Inquiry master’s degree for educators.
- Expanded hands-on conservation expertise, beyond the zoo’s 92 acres, through revitalized and refocused Living Northwest and Partners for Wildlife programs, and a broadened wildlife conservation research program led by the zoo’s first Conservation Fellow. Other Northwest regional accomplishments include a new head-start facility for endangered frogs and a new citizen-science amphibian monitoring program; species recovery successes for endangered western pond turtles and Oregon silverspot butterflies; and collaborations to save and protect wild habitats for raptors, bears and other Northwest wildlife.
- Internationally, the zoo established a 10-year, $1 million tiger conservation partnership with Panthera and in-country Malaysian colleagues to save these endangered big cats in Peninsular Malaysia; the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program, with Conservation International, helped the government and people of Papua New Guinea to establish a 188,000-acre Conservation Area.
Highlights of major capital and infrastructure achievements include:
- Completion of Zoomazium, a year-round, nature play space for early learners, the first zoo project nationally to earn LEED Gold certification for sustainable design; installation of the Historic Carousel on the North Meadow; and flamingo and meerkat exhibits.
- The award-winning Humboldt penguin exhibit integrates premier viewing, swimming and built in nest sites with wetland and geothermal innovations. Adjacent, the spacious and welcoming West Entrance and Bank of America Commons provide an immersive soundscape, prevent stormwater runoff, and reduce lines with enhanced ticketing.
- Phase one of the Asian Tropical Forest initiative’s new, sustainably designed Bamboo Forest Reserve exhibit complex opened in May 2013, featuring an exhibit for Asian small-clawed otters, an aviary and children’s nature-play area. Phase two, scheduled to open in May 2015 will introduce new homes for Malayan tigers and sloth bears, up-close visitor programs, and a new, hands-on conservation hub to learn about and help save endangered Malayan tigers.
- An award-winning, 10-year sustainability plan drives further reductions in energy and water use and waste, and engaging staff and visitors in conservation actions. Exhibits and operations are integrating more green design, constructed wetlands, geothermal energy, permeable pavement, living roofs, and solar panels to help keep our Northwest waterways and landscapes healthy.
For immediate release | March 12, 2014
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