Silver Spring, MD - The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) today called for shovel-ready zoo and aquarium infrastructure projects to be eligible for Federal stimulus funding.
According to a 2008 national public opinion survey 79 percent of Americans believe that zoos and aquariums are good for their local economy, and an impressive 80 percent believe that zoos and aquariums are important enough to local communities to be supported by government funding.
Zoos and Aquariums Essential To American Economy
"Zoos and aquariums are woven into the fabric of American life," said AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy. "They are viewed by the public as important to the quality of life in their communities."
Many zoos have their roots in the Great Depression, when the Federal Work Projects Administration (WPA) helped build many zoos across America. In more recent times, aquariums have been successful anchors of waterfront renewal and development.
AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums enhance local and regional economies, collectively generating $7.6 billion in annual economic activity and supporting more than 100,000 jobs.
Local Economic Engines and Centers for Education
"Zoos and aquariums will deliver incredible value for the Federal government," added Maddy. "Investment in these institutions will pay-off twice, first in immediate job creation, and second, in the environmental education of our children for years to come."
Two hundred and six U.S.-based AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums attracted more than 170 million visitors in 2007, up 9 percent from 2006. Approximately 50 million visitors were children, making accredited zoos and aquariums some of the best places for families to connect with nature and each other.
Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science, and recreation. Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting an institution dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. With its more than 200 accredited members, the AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation, and your link to helping animals in their native habitats. To learn more, visit www.aza.org.
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