From the front page of our website to the gates at the zoo, you may have noticed a new look at Lincoln Park Zoo. We have been working hard to forge our future, and have set a new vision to strive towards over the next 100 years: Inspire communities to create environments where wildlife will thrive in our urbanizing world.
Advancing this vision will guide everything we do, from partnerships to our relationship with our members and guests. It has also shaped our new logo and a new tagline: For Wildlife. For All. These four words distill our commitment to you and to wildlife.
We are proud to be an urban zoo in the heart of Chicago. Our location helps us serve visitors from across the city and beyond. This is especially relevant as we look to the future. More than two-thirds of the world’s population will live in urban centers by 2050.
Connecting visitors to nature through the collective efforts of our caregivers, scientists and educators is a responsibility that motivates us every day. After all, this is your zoo. Through purchases and contributions, zoo members, donors and visitors provide more than 80 percent of the annual operating budget that keeps this privately managed institution open, free and amazing every day of the year. Truly, Lincoln Park Zoo is for all. Together, we are a formidable force that is taking action on behalf of wildlife from Chicago to the Serengeti.
Urban Wildlife Institute Assistant Director Liza Watson Lehrer collects photos of local wildlife from a camera trap. This unprecedented research has led to parallel efforts in other cities through the zoo-led Urban Wildlife Information Network.
The epic biodiversity-monitoring project run by the zoo’s Urban Wildlife Institute is a perfect example of how we can all help wildlife. Anyone can go online at chicagowildlifewatch.org and help ID animals in camera-trap photos collected from transects across the metro area. UWI’s scientists analyze this massive amount of data to better understand how different species utilize urban areas. The work has important implications for environmentally conscious urban planning. Other cities across the country are now following suit in the zoo-led Urban Wildlife Information Network (UWIN), which will ultimately lead to more wildlife-friendly cities around the world. UWI Director Seth Magle, Ph.D., discusses how the emerging scientific discipline of urban wildlife ecology drives this project in Lincoln Park Zoo’s new National Geographic blog channel.
Big, game-changing developments like this don’t just happen. They take a lot of hard, shared effort and community engagement—whether that community is our own zoo grounds, a neighborhood in Chicago, or villages bordering protected wildlife parks in Tanzania.
Kids in Little Village learn about birds at a pop-up art workshop organized by the zoo’s community engagement team and local residents.
In Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood, educators from our Hurvis Center for Learning are busy co-creating programs with local residents that live and thrive in the community. From art workshops infused with wildlife conservation lessons to the teaching garden our horticulturists are helping to plant this spring at Hammond School, these programs will only succeed if we help and learn from each other.
The same principle guides the zoo’s ongoing work in mitigating human-wildlife conflict in Tanzanian communities near the iconic Serengeti ecosystem. By vaccinating more than 1 million domestic dogs for rabies and canine distemper, our Serengeti Health Initiative partnership has protected people, pets, and predator species like lions. There’s no way this work could succeed without local residents assuming a joint leadership role. We’re also working with community members on digital data collection so everyone can gain a better understanding of their own relationship to wildlife park management and wildlife in general. And plans are moving forward to assist Serengeti National Park’s outreach team with its environmental education mandate.
The zoo’s community-engagement efforts in Tanzania build on a rabies and canine-distemper vaccination program that protects people, pets and wildlife.
Our Serengeti Research Scientist, Dennis Rentsch, Ph.D., sums it up best. “Wildlife conservation issues in Tanzania are really more about people than wildlife,” says Dennis. “If you get people on board you can protect the wildlife.”
Or, in other words, inspire communities to create environments where wildlife will thrive in our urbanizing world.
For Wildlife. For All. We hope you’ll join us on the journey forward.