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Zoo Update with Zoo CEO and Director Denise M. Verret – February 2022

Denise M. Verret, Zoo Director and CEO Photo by Jamie Pham

When we opened our doors back to the public in 2020, I was thrilled to see how many different faces were coming through our gates – faces that represented the diverse communities of Los Angeles.

Now, this Black History Month is challenging all of us to consider and reflect on Black Health and Wellness – a theme that is so timely as the pandemic has shown me how important and integral our L.A. Zoo is to our community and how we can help safely connect Angelenos from all walks of life with wildlife and nature. Research has confirmed that exposure to nature is linked to a host of benefits, including improved attention, lower stress, better mood, and even upticks in empathy and cooperation. The Zoo is committed to equitable access to the natural world, contributing to the positive mental, emotional, and physical benefits that it brings. One of the L.A. Zoo’s community partners, Outward Bound Adventures, has been working to ensure that youth from diverse communities have access to nature, environmental education, leadership development, and preparation for careers in conservation for decades. Partnerships like this are part of our continued work to ensure that the Zoo – and all outdoor spaces – are open and accessible to Black communities and to all.

The Los Angeles Zoo will continue to work and co-create with our partners and all of you to foster a space of inclusion for everyone, not just during Black History Month but every month of the year. I look forward to stepping up to this challenge with all of you by my side and for the positive changes and opportunities that we can help create around us, together.