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You created more wonder and more wild. Thank you!

Posted by: Dr. Deborah B. Jensen, President and CEO

WPZ President Jensen.
Photo by Matt Hagen.
Because of your support and the generosity of nearly 16,000 individuals, I’m thrilled to share the news that we exceeded our $80 million More Wonder More Wild campaign goal by raising more than $83.5 million! If this isn't enough to celebrate, in 2013 we also set an all-time record for zoo visitor attendance!

During the eight-year campaign, our community experienced the deepest recession since the Great Depression. But world events continued to illustrate the urgent need to save our planet’s wildlife and habitats, to create a future in which animals and people can co-exist and thrive together. So, with passion and commitment, we continued to tell our story. Our animals continued to provide the wonder and joy that we all experience when we visit the zoo. And you continued to show your generous support!

This member-submitted photo iconically conveys the wonder and wild donors sought to create through Woodland Park Zoo’s campaign. New, sustainably designed Humboldt penguin exhibit, 2009. (Photo: Jennifer Svane)

Many of you made gifts beyond your annual membership fees to support a program or initiative that especially touched your heart. Some of you helped improve the quality of animal care and nutrition at the zoo, and expanded the ways visitors can get up-close experiences with animals and keepers.

With upgraded medical equipment and training, and new enrichment and behavioral husbandry programs, the zoo is advancing the science of animal care and health, thanks to generous supporters. (Photo: Ryan Hawk/WPZ)
A new centralized commissary enables animal diets to be more scientifically managed and efficiently delivered. (Photo: Ryan Hawk/WPZ)
Many new animal feeding experiences allow visitors to get closer than ever to the wonders of wildlife. (Photo: Ryan Hawk/WPZ)

Some of you helped us build a strong early learning program and engage more underserved youth in science and environmental learning opportunities.

Photo: Ryan Hawk/WPZ
Generous supporters have helped grow the zoo’s early learning, elementary, middle school and high school programs, along with a new master’s program offered with Miami University, reaching more underserved communities and sparking learning adventures across the lifespan. (Photo: Ryan Hawk/WPZ)

Others of you helped build wonderful new exhibit experiences: Zoomazium; the Historic Carousel; flamingos and meerkats; the award-winning Humboldt penguin exhibit and West Entrance; and the Asian Tropical Forest Initiative featuring the Bamboo Forest Reserve exhibit.

The first zoo project in the nation to earn Gold LEED certification, Zoomazium is a nature-inspired indoor play space designed for kids 8 years and younger, featuring whole-bodied learning, imaginative play, and integration with existing zoo programs. (Photo: Ryan Hawk/WPZ)
The sustainably designed Humboldt penguin exhibit earned the zoo its fifth exhibit achievement award. Not only does the closed-loop system save millions of gallons of water a year, the experience transports zoo visitors to the rocky coastal peninsula of Punta San Juan, home to the largest breeding population of Humboldt penguins in Peru. (Photo: Ryan Hawk/WPZ)
The zoo’s Historic Carousel was already 100 years old when installed in 2007. Since 2011, a solar array allows for renewable energy to power the carousel’s 100,000 rides a year and show our community how viable solar is in the Pacific Northwest. (Photo: Ryan Hawk/WPZ)
Coming in May 2015: New endangered Malayan tiger and sloth bear exhibit complex will immerse you in the sights, sounds and smells of a tropical Asian forest teeming with life. Phase One opened in May 2013 thanks to your generosity. (Artist rendering:  Mir)

And many of you helped us foster innovative wildlife conservation projects in the Pacific Northwest and in faraway places such as Tanzania, Borneo, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea.

In 2009, WPZ announced creation of Papua New Guinea’s first officially decreed Conservation Area—188,000 acres of pristine forest, assisted by the zoo’s Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program and supporters like you. (Photo: Ryan Hawk/WPZ)
The newly relaunched Living Northwest program includes (clockwise from top left): Raptor Ecology of the Shrub Steppe, Western Pond Turtle Recovery Project, Western Wildlife Outreach, Northwest Amphibian Recovery Project, and Butterflies of the Northwest.
Woodland Park Zoo and Panthera’s new tiger conservation project supports research, technology and anti-poaching rangers to protect key habitats endangered tigers use to hunt and breed in the Taman Negara region of Peninsular Malaysia. (Credit: Ruben Clements/Rimba)

The breadth of your giving has truly humbled us. Gifts large and small represent the community’s love for Woodland Park Zoo, and our shared goal to transform it into a modern wonder of excellent animal care, science learning, wildlife conservation and sustainability. From the nearly 800 people who participated in our Give Ten for Tigers social media campaign, to dozens of families embracing their ability to make leadership and legacy gifts, many of them remembering us in their wills. Local and national corporations also made major contributions, along with hundreds of thousands of dollars in matching gifts.

During the campaign, many children began their philanthropic journeys by donating proceeds from bake sales or lemonade stands, and requesting donations to the zoo in lieu of birthday gifts. Since 2007, 13-year-old Maille Martin has frequently donated her charity allowance to the zoo, eventually convincing younger brother Griffin to join in. Since three years of age, another budding philanthropist, Lucas Engles-Klann, has held animal-themed auctions for the last five years, cumulatively donating nearly $12,000. When he was 10 years old in 2008, avid penguin enthusiast Harrison Grad made the first youth gift to support penguin care for the new exhibit. After learning about endangered species in school, for his seventh birthday Teddy Hanlon requested gifts in the form of donations to support our red pandas. Many youth filled up Tiger Banks and came to the zoo to present their checks in person.

Downloadable Tiger Banks are still available! Children can earn a Young Philanthropist Recognition Certificate with our roaring thanks. (Photo: Ryan Hawk/WPZ)

The groundswell of private support has engendered in our board and staff a sense of humility and increased responsibility to our donors and our community: to fulfill our mission through naturalistic exhibits, engaging guest experiences, science education, and community-based conservation programs in our region and abroad; sustainability throughout the zoo; and  for transparency in all we do.

Every day our planet illustrates the challenges of creating a sustainable future for people and wildlife. That’s why we are committed to showcasing positive solutions, such as the award-winning Humboldt penguin exhibit, built as part of this campaign, which already has saved more than 15 million gallons of water compared to the old, 1950s-era exhibit. Another is our new collaboration with Panthera  to protect endangered tigers in Peninsular Malaysia whose successes will be featured in our new Asian Tropical Forest exhibit, which also incorporates principles of sustainable design. You see, each time you visit the zoo, we’re creating more wonder and saving more wild – together.

We look forward to celebrating the campaign’s success when we open the Asian Tropical Forest exhibit and welcome tigers back to Seattle in May 2015. Meanwhile, please accept my profound gratitude for your support during the campaign. As I’ve shown, it has already made a tremendous difference to our mission on and beyond our 92 acres.

Thank you.

Supporters enabled the birth and care of more than 1400 animals at Woodland Park Zoo during the More Wonder More Wild campaign. (Photo: Ryan Hawk/WPZ)