Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo Launches $10 Million Capital Campaign

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The Lowry Park Zoological Society announces the launch of the “New Horizon Campaign"

Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo Launches $10 Million Capital Campaign

Dec 3, 2010

Rachel Nelson
Director of Public Relations
813-935-8552 x 212

TAMPA, Fla. – The Lowry Park Zoological Society today announced the launch of the $10 million “New Horizon Campaign,” the first capital campaign in 10 years to provide vital support for expanding animal science and conservation programs, and conserving Florida’s natural resources. Approximately $4.7 million of the $10 million campaign goal has been pledged.

The announcement came during a dedication ceremony within the Zoo’s Florida wildlife center, a short walk from the future site of a planned animal care and conservation complex to be known as the Veterinary Hospital and Conservation & Animal Science Center. Zoo CEO and Executive Director Craig Pugh was joined by Catherine Lowry Straz, chair of the Zoological Society Board of Trustees, trustees of the Jacarlene (pronounced Jack-ar-layne) Foundation, and members of the New Horizon Campaign cabinet Robert Thomas, Heather Caswell, Curt Harbsmeier, Hunt James, Dick Stohler and Bet Snyder for the presentation and unveiling of the center’s architectural plans.

A leadership gift of $1 million from the Jacarlene Foundation provided the resources to complete the design and begin construction of the Veterinary Hospital and Conservation & Animal Science Center to be named for the Foundation. When complete, the facility will be a 12,000 square foot complex with dedicated areas for surgery, pharmacy, radiology, labs, indoor and outdoor animal holding spaces, animal quarantine and veterinary offices. It will also provide bench space for visiting conservation professionals.

“Trustees of the Jacarlene Foundation have proudly supported the Zoo for 20 years,” noted John Howley, foundation trustee. “The Zoo’s commitment to medical care and research, along with education, provided this unique opportunity to help lay the foundation for the Zoo to be recognized as a national leader in conservation, animal science and health.”

In addition to the animal care complex and renovated Florida boardwalk, the campaign will provide for new exhibits and visitor amenities under development. “We, in leadership positions at the Zoo, have the great responsibility of preserving and improving one of the crown jewels of the Tampa Bay area. Paramount to us is our campaign to improve and refresh our wonderful facilities because so many families depend upon the Zoo for quality affordable entertainment and education,” said Catherine Lowry Straz, chair, Lowry Park Zoological Society.

The new state-of-the-art complex will be designed to be LEED certified, a designation available to green builders. It is intended to be the first hospital at a zoo to be accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA).

Dr. Larry Killmar, director of collections, and Dr. Ray Ball, director of medical sciences, work in collaboration to guide the Zoo’s conservation and research programs, and to oversee the veterinary medicine program for the Zoo’s 1,700 animals. When complete, the animal science center will accommodate tours affording Zoo guests a closer look at veterinary medicine in action.

“We are increasingly called on to be centers of expertise for animal care, for animals here at the Zoo and in global cooperative conservation programs,” said Craig Pugh, executive director and CEO, Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. “This facility will bring together keepers, curators and veterinary staff under one roof to encourage collaboration, and link our work with colleagues in other states and countries.”

The Veterinary Hospital and Conservation & Animal Science Center will be located just off the boardwalk of the Mason M. and Charles P. Lykes Florida Wildlife Center. The center is being designed by Elements Architects.

Another important component of the New Horizon campaign will direct funds to conserving Florida’s natural resources. The Lykes Florida Wildlife Center was established in 1990 to promote environmental awareness of Florida’s diverse natural environments and habitats that are at risk of extinction.

The Zoo is recognized as a center for Florida wildlife conservation and biodiversity, with the most comprehensive collection of Florida’s endangered species in any wildlife facility. The Zoo today recognized Publix Super Markets Charities whose leadership gift of $250,000 will enable the Zoo to begin immediate renovation of the Florida boardwalk with re-designed elevation to bring guests eye-to-eye with Florida’s endangered species.

New interpretive signage about distinct biomes that house these native species and improved pathways will provide Zoo guests access and new information about Florida’s environment and priority conservation issues.

For a number of species like Florida’s endangered manatees, merely encouraging awareness of environmental issues is not enough. The David A. Straz, Jr. Manatee Hospital at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo expands the traditional boundaries of a zoo, focusing efforts on critical care for injured, sick and orphaned wild manatees. It is the only non-profit hospital in the world specifically dedicated to the treatment of these endangered animals, and one of three manatee critical care facilities in the state of Florida.

The Zoo has treated more than 250 manatees since opening the facility -- approximately five percent of the state’s estimated wild population. A leadership gift from the TECO Energy Foundation, also announced today, will establish a Center for Manatee Studies within the new Conservation & Animal Science Center.

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo gratefully acknowledges the corporations and philanthropists who have pledged their support to the New Horizons Campaign.

About Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is operated by the Lowry Park Zoological Society, an independent 501(c)(3) charitable organization committed to excellence in education, conservation and research. Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), and has been named the No. 1 zoo in America by both Parents magazine (2009) and Child magazine (2004). The Zoo is located at 1101 W. Sligh Avenue in Tampa, one mile west of I-275 (exit 48) and is open seven days a week, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, with extended hours on select nights during the summer. Parking is free. For more information, visit www.LowryParkZoo.com. Also find the Zoo on Facebook and Twitter.

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