Zoo Update from Director and CEO Denise M. Verret – December 2022

Male big horn sheep
The Zoo has welcomed a male bighorn sheep to its herd. Photo by Jamie Pham

The holiday season is my absolute favorite time of the year as I yearn to bundle up, sip something warm by the fire, and relinquish my flip flops (although in Los Angeles you should keep them handy year-round). It is a time of joy and also a reminder of giving thanks for family, friends, life, and health, not just in this season but every day. The holidays also remind me of another year gone by and the opportunity for reflection as we look back at our progress and impact, as well as renew our spirit and prepare for a brand-new year to come, bringing with it opportunities for continued growth and lasting connections.

I’m very proud to say that L.A. Zoo Lights has returned this year in a completely reimagined way that I hope everyone is enjoying. L.A. Zoo Lights: Animals Aglow has turned our Zoo into an immersive landscape filled with beautiful lighted sculptures of animals among blooming flowers, towering trees, and animated displays representing the impactful conservation work of your Los Angeles Zoo. This inclusive event has been extended this year through January 22, 2023 to celebrate the Lunar New Year with additional activities and programming during January. I hope everyone takes an opportunity to come back and enjoy this special time, beginning on January 6, 2023.

As I look toward 2023, I am excited to see the Zoo strengthen its partnerships and develop more meaningful connections with our diverse communities. We will be following the journey of our first-ever cohort of bright, young conservationists in the L.A. Zoo’s Teen Council for Conservation as they build their leadership skills, grow their knowledge, share their input and ideas for impacting their community by taking conservation action, and empowering their peers to enact meaningful change both at the Zoo and in their communities. We will also see the return of the Zoo’s Paid Internship Program, which will give college students from systemically excluded communities the unique opportunity to directly engage with zoological and conservation professionals. All of these partnerships and more in 2023 will help increase the Zoo’s impact on wildlife and biodiversity right here in Los Angeles.

I hope this holiday season provides us all an opportunity to reflect on the beauty and importance of the nature and wildlife that surrounds us and on the important role that we can play in preserving it. May you, your family, and your friends share amazing memories both here at the L.A. Zoo and at home this holiday season and all throughout the year. Happy Holidays, and I look forward to seeing you all in 2023 as we continue our mission to create a place where people and wildlife thrive, together.

Denise Verret posing with the giraffes
Denise M. Verret, Zoo Director and CEO Photo by Jamie Pham

Author: Denise Verret