While I write to you from my office at the Zoo, I’m watching glorious sunshine pushed away by drenching rain, blustery wind, and sleet outside my window, all within the last half hour. The wet and wild weather of this winter season belies Southern California’s reputation as the mild climate capital of the United States and reminds us that, even in urban Los Angeles, we’re in the midst of nature—and often at its mercy!
Nature made its presence known in a big way on February 25 when a torrential downpour and dangerous winds forced us to cancel Walk for the Wild, which would have been our first in-person walkathon at the Zoo. Even canceled, Walk for the Wild was a huge success, raising more than $260,000 against a $225,000 goal. Thanks to the over-and-above generosity of our members and to our walkers, presenting sponsor Skechers, associate sponsors California Credit Union and Kennedy Wilson, and contributing partners (Pepsi, GoGo squeeZ, and Don Francisco’s), Walk for the Wild grew leaps and bounds from the $158,000 raised by the virtual version in 2021. To celebrate this groundbreaking—if still virtual!—collective achievement, we will host an exclusive event for Walkers at the Zoo in the coming weeks.
Staying in the “wild” theme, the month of April will be Wild for the Planet at the Zoo. We will celebrate spring as a season of natural renewal with a wide variety of conservation-themed programs every weekend. And, on April 8, GLAZA members at the Family Deluxe level and above can experience Wild for the Planet before the Zoo opens to the public! This year’s celebration will shine a light on key conservation players close to home: you! Conservation of species starts at the community level when people take care of the species in their own backyard. That’s why the arts and entertainment offerings for Wild for the Planet will focus on community groups, celebrating not only the people that make our community vibrant, but also the small things that individuals can do to help make a big difference.
At the end of the spring season, as the weather warms up, we’ll continue the celebration of nature with our annual Beastly Ball on Saturday, June 3. This year we’re excited to honor two of our local heroes: GLAZA Trustee Diann H. Kim and the beloved, late Los Angeles City Councilmember Tom LaBonge, our Betty White Conservation Hero. We look forward to celebrating their leadership at the Beastly Ball and hope you will join us on June 3. Buy tickets or make a sponsorship contribution here.
Spring is our busiest season at the Zoo, and we hope to see our members enjoying their benefits during beautiful, warm weather—fingers crossed!