Woodland Park Zoo Announces First Round of Capacity Building Grants

Woodland Park Zoo’s (WPZ) Building Organizational Capacity to Foster Empathy for Wildlife Granting Program is a part of the zoo’s Empathy Initiatives, which are multi-pronged approaches to building collaboration across Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) organizations as well as integrating effective empathy best practices to inspire conservation action in all our audiences.

Supported by a private funder, this granting program supports AZA-accredited organizations (within Alaska, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin) in their efforts to plan, build, and/or expand programs aimed at advancing empathy for animals and wildlife. Projects supported by these grants will help organizations develop and sustain effective empathy practices, leading to increased empathetic connections to animals in their respective communities and across the seven-state region. Tools, resources, and lessons learned will be shared with the collaborative Advancing Conservation through Empathy (ACE) for Wildlife Network.

“These grants will nurture and sustain empathy engines at zoos and aquariums throughout the ACE for Wildlife Network,” said Woodland Park Zoo President and CEO, Alejandro Grajal. “By inspiring empathy for wildlife in our guests we look to spark behavior changes that will positively impact wildlife and communities.”

This is the first of three granting cycles from 2021-2023, with a total of $3.3 million in grant funds to distribute. In this first cycle, WPZ is funding 10 grants from nine organizations: four in Tier 1 (up to $250,000) and six in Tier 2 (up to $50,000). Funding for both tiers totals $1,156,284. Sites funded include: Northwest Trek Wildlife Park in Eatonville, Wash.; Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Wash.;  Zoo Boise in Boise, Idaho; Como Park Zoo and Conservatory in St. Paul, Minn.; Lake Superior Zoo in Duluth, Minn.; Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley, Minn.; ZooMontana in Billings, Mont.; Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, Wis.; and Racine Zoo in Racine, Wis. Projects span multiple focus areas, from interpretive master planning to preschool and elementary school partnerships, animal biography signage and more. 


About Woodland Park Zoo

Founded in 1899, Woodland Park Zoo engages more than a million visitors of all ages, backgrounds, abilities, and walks of life in extraordinary experiences with animals, inspiring them to make conservation a priority in their lives. The zoo is helping to save animals and their habitats in the wild through more than 35 wildlife conservation projects in the Pacific Northwest and around the world. Woodland Park Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums and certified by the rigorous American Humane Conservation program. The Humane Certified™ seal of approval is another important validation of the zoo’s long-standing tradition of meeting the highest standards in animal welfare. Visit www.zoo.org and follow the zoo on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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