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Zoo Update with GLAZA President Tom Jacobson – March 2022

Tom Jacobson, GLAZA President Photo by Jamie Pham

It’s spring at the Zoo, and it really feels like we’re emerging from hibernation! With the slow easing of pandemic restrictions, we’re beginning to resume normal event activities on site, and our guests, members, and donors tell us how happy they are to join us in person. The Zoo and GLAZA staff are also thrilled to welcome everyone back to the Zoo.

In January, we hosted a Searching Safari for the Safari Society donor program, and it was great fun exploring the Zoo together that morning. In February, our most generous annual fund donors were treated to breakfast and enjoyed a chimpanzee feeding and elephant enrichment demonstration. On March 5, GLAZA Board Chair Brian Diamond hosted dinner at the Zoo with elephant keeper talks and a tour of the LAIR for prospective Safari Society donors. (Five couples joined Safari Society that night!) Brian will be hosting more Diamond Evenings over the coming months to grow the Safari Society.

On March 19 the GLAZA Board of Trustees convened in person for the first time in two years for our annual Board Retreat. Zoo Director and CEO Denise M. Verret provided an update on the Vision Plan, and the trustees shared ways they’ll help GLAZA fundraise for the Zoo in the coming year. Also in March, the Silverback Leadership Dinner gathered some of the Zoo’s most passionate philanthropists to thank them for their generosity during the pandemic when we needed them the most. At the end of this month, our new Conservation Council will debut with a reception at the family ranch of GLAZA Trustee Jillian Romero Chaves, featuring a presentation by Director of Conservation Jake Owens. We’re especially excited about inaugurating this group for young adults who care deeply about wildlife conservation. 

Throughout the month of April, we’ll be celebrating Wild for the Planet with a wide variety of animal and conservation programs at the Zoo. We’re thrilled that this public event is back in person. Everyone is welcome!

We learned a lot about ourselves during the pandemic and had the opportunity to hone our virtual presentation skills. We’ve had such an enthusiastic response to our new online events that some of them will live on, including the popular L.A. ZOOm-to-You for Safari Society, Corporate Leaders, and other special friends. As we prepare to relaunch our travel program post-COVID, we’ll warm up with a virtual travel night at the end of April to tell everyone about the exciting travel opportunity for Botswana and Namibia scheduled for October.

We’re all looking forward to the Beastly Ball on June 4, back in person at the Zoo after two successful years in the virtual realm. And in the fall Walk for the Wild will return, so please join us on site for the most beautiful and exciting walkathon ever. We hope to see you at these events, but the Zoo is magical every day we’re open, and we look forward to welcoming you every time you visit!