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Community Howls for Wildlife Heroes

Posted by Alexa Woodard, Engagement

Thrive 2019 was an amazing show of support from our community. Woodland Park Zoo’s Thrive 2019 Wildlife Heroes, our signature conservation-focused fundraising event of the year, took place at Fremont Studios on February 27th with more than 400 zoo supporters attending. Funds raised will support the zoo’s Living Northwest program, which saves species, engages students in inquiry-based science learning and protects ecosystems right here at home.

Thrive co-chairs Sandra Andrews of Microsoft and Anders Brown of Valence with Woodland Park Zoo President and CEO Alejandro Grajal.

Fremont Studios made a festive location for our conservation-focused fundraiser, Thrive 2019!
Co-chaired by Sandra Andrews of Microsoft and Anders Brown of Valence, Thrive Wildlife Heroes brought together Puget Sound region businesses, community and conservation leaders, and philanthropists to advance the mission of the zoo.

The Thrive Wildlife Heroes event also kicked off Woodland Park Zoo’s significant new efforts to raise funds for our Living Northwest Initiative. The funds will expand and advance our Living Northwest conservation and education programs, as well as support a re-imagined Living Northwest exhibit experience projected to open in 2020. The new exhibit experience will be a revitalization of the zoo’s award-winning Northern Trail exhibit and will become a hub for engaging zoo guests and community members around discovery, species recovery, human-wildlife coexistence, and saving the wildlife and ecosystems right here at home for the benefit of every species.

Dr. Jenny Pramuk and Thrive host Matt Lorch with an endangered Western pond turtle.
We are so grateful for our sponsors at every level and our wonderful community of supporters who not only howled for conservation (literally), but are a group of conservation-minded individuals whose passion and spirit for saving species infuses our mission every day. Their support of our conservation work and enthusiasm for our 2019 awardees is so impactful—what a tremendous community we share.

 Honoring our Wildlife Heroes

“Each of our 2019 honorees brings their passion, dedication, and resources to helping Woodland Park Zoo advance our social movement to better our relationship with nature, consistently inspiring and empowering our mission. Together, we stand for wildlife,” - Woodland Park Zoo President and CEO Alejandro Grajal, PhD.

Our awardees included a filmmaker and adventurist who has been face-to-face with grizzly bears (on more than one occasion), a young woman and aspiring doctor who found her voice while educating others about conservation action, an organization that has supported the zoo for decades in its mission to reach new audiences and create innovative moments for conservation, and a pioneering environmental philanthropist who embodies the spirit of generosity and the power of philanthropy.

Chris Morgan received the Conservation Leadership Award. Chis has worked as a wildlife researcher, wilderness guide, and environmental educator on every continent where bears and other large carnivores exist. Chris is the founder of the Western Wildlife Outreach whose mission is to promote an accurate understanding of Washington and Idaho’s large carnivore heritage through education and community outreach.

Woodland Park Zoo Conservation Leadership Award: Chris Morgan, a wildlife researcher, wilderness guide, and environmental educator who has worked on every continent where bears and other large carnivores exist. Western Wildlife Outreach Founder and Senior Advisor, Morgan has partnered with Woodland Park Zoo to raise awareness about imperiled species and the recovery process in a non-advocacy environment. Morgan most recently completed the documentary BEARTREK, an epic feature following him on a global crusade to four continents to discover the wondrous world of bears.

Rose Letwin received the Philanthropic Leadership Award and was honored for her passion for conservation including her support of our zoo and Robert Long’s research on regional carnivores.
Outstanding Philanthropic Leadership Award: Rose Letwin, who advances the zoo’s mission through annual leadership gifts and was instrumental in launching the zoo’s wildlife conservation program with generous seed funding. Through the Wilburforce Foundation, she also made possible the critical work of Woodland Park Zoo’s research on regional carnivores with the goal of informing best practices around how humans and carnivores can coexist peacefully in the state’s shared landscapes. A pioneering environmental philanthropist, Letwin embodies the spirit of generosity and the power of philanthropy to improve lives for all species.

Thrive 2019 Wildlife Heroes…Be One!
Guy C. Phinney Corporate Leadership Award: BECU, who for more than a decade has been a dedicated supporter of Woodland Park Zoo and a loyal sponsor of ZooTunes. The local cooperative has helped to bring music to the community and helped advance the zoo’s mission to save wildlife and inspire people to make conservation a priority in their lives. The zoo thanks BECU for their longstanding partnership and financial contributions in working together to save species and empower communities.

Nazma Noray received the Youth Conservation Award and is a member of ZooCorps and credits Woodland Park Zoo with helping her build her confidence and find her voice. She is on her way to great things!
Woodland Park Zoo Youth Conservation Award: Nazma Noray, a member of Woodland Park Zoo’s ZooCorps teen program. Noray is a senior at Shorecrest High School, where she started a composting program with the school’s Environmental Club—a program that has since expanded to two other schools. She credits the zoo with helping her find a confident and passionate voice about conservation and education. Noray hopes to use that voice one day as a physician caring for marginalized groups in the Puget Sound community.

Watch: Nazma Noray speak about her experience at Woodland Park Zoo: 

It is an honor to acknowledge the impact these wildlife heroes have in our community—their dedication to conservation will influence and shape the way others see their role in saving species for generations.

In addition to our incredible hosts, presenters, wildlife heroes, supporters and sponsors, we’d like to tip our hats to our horticulture team (they transformed Fremont Studios into a Pacific Northwest wonderland!), event volunteers, board members and staff who greeted guests with smiles and exuded superior hospitality. Thank you all for making Thrive 2019 a success!

Were you unable to attend Thrive but still want to support your zoo? You can donate any time:

Thank you to our generous Thrive 2019 sponsors.