Silver Spring, MD – The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) today hosts its Annual Capitol Hill Advocacy Day and Reception. Leaders from the zoo and aquarium profession will educate Members of Congress about the importance of AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums to their communities.
“AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums support tourism and local businesses,” said AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy. “In addition to being leaders in conservation and education, zoos and aquariums are an economic engine in the communities they serve.”
AZA accredits 224 zoos and aquariums in the United States and overseas. These institutions collectively generate more than $16 billion in annual economic activity and support more than 142,000 U.S. jobs.
In the last 10 years, AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums formally trained more than 400,000 teachers, supporting science curricula with effective teaching materials and hands-on opportunities. 12 million students (pre-K through Grade 12) visit AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums each year as part of school field trips.
“Zoos and aquariums work closely with Federal, State and local education agencies to provide effective science-based education programs,” said AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy.
Zoo and aquariums professionals will inform legislators about programs at their own institutions and encourage them to act on important issues affecting all AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums, including:•
Support funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services – AZA supports $35 million in FY2013 for the Office of Museum Services, which awards grants to museums including accredited zoos and aquariums.
• Cosponsor H.R. 3510, the Multinational Species Conservation Funds Semipostal Reauthorization Act – This legislation benefits essential programs for conserving tigers, rhinos, elephants, great apes, and sea turtles.
• Support H.R. 2547 and S. 1372, the No Child Left Inside Act – This legislation provides incentives for states to create environmental literacy plans from pre-kindergarten through grade 12 which include environmental education standards and teacher training.
• Support Funding for the John H. Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Grant Program – AZA supports an appropriation of $3.981 million in FY2013 for this program to rescue stranded marine animals (dolphins, manatees, whales, otters, turtles, seals, walruses, sea lions, porpoises, polar bears, and dugongs).
Following a day of Capitol Hill visits, AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums will introduce Members of Congress and their staff to special animal ambassadors at the Annual Association of Zoos & Aquariums Reception.
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“175 million people enjoy the animals at AZA-accredited aquariums and zoos every year,” said AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy. “We always look forward to bringing that special experience to Capitol Hill.”
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