Today is Lincoln Park Zoo’s Annual Meeting, our yearly opportunity to gather the zoo’s Board of Trustees to take stock of the year behind us.
Every year is a busy one at Lincoln Park Zoo—that’s no surprise when a “normal” year involves caring for hundreds of animals, conserving wildlife a world away and welcoming 3.5 million visitors.
But this year was pretty exceptional. There were big changes for some of the zoo’s iconic species. We introduced the first all-male gorilla troop in the zoo’s history. We celebrated two babies for this critically endangered species—females Patty and Nayembi. And we established a new standard for world-class care after Nayembi suffered an injury that required delicate surgery and months of around-the-clock nurturing.
On a side note, I’m very happy to share that Nayembi continues to thrive behind the scenes. The active baby gorilla is now teething on solid foods within eyesight of mom Rollie and groupmates Bana and Patty. Our animal care experts are working hard to introduce her to her family group at Regenstein Center for African Apes this summer—a worthy milestone for the year ahead.
Returning to the year behind us, though, we welcomed a familiar face at a new position as Lisa Faust, Ph.D., was named the zoo’s vice president for conservation and science. Beyond continuing her own innovative work creating computer models to conserve species like eastern massasauga rattlesnakes, she now oversees dozens of projects stretching from the zoo’s backyard to the wilds of the Serengeti.
We also took a big leap forward with the February creation of the Hurvis Center for Learning Innovation and Collaboration. Led by Senior Director Leah Melber, Ph.D., and funded by a generous $3 million gift from the Hurvis Charitable Foundation, the Hurvis Center will explore new approaches for science education. It will pair a local focus with a global reach, sharing discoveries with partners around the globe.
Those are just a handful of highlights from a year full of exciting plans and new arrivals. As you consider the accomplishments of the year behind us, know that it’s your support that makes it all possible. Thank you for your commitment to Lincoln Park Zoo—and a great year ahead!