Empathy is a powerful emotion that drives our connection with those around us and can be an important motivator for positive social change. Woodland Park Zoo’s (WPZ) Empathy Initiatives work to foster empathy for animals in order to empower our guests and the community to make conservation a priority in their lives. Through these Empathy Initiatives, WPZ is working to build collaboration across Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited organizations and integrate effective empathy practices to inspire conservation action in all our audiences. One piece of this is WPZ’s Building Organizational Capacity to Foster Empathy for Wildlife Grant Program.
Supported by a private funder, this granting program supports 19 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 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 are 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 second of three granting rounds from 2021-2023, with a total of $3.3 million in grant funds to distribute. In this round, WPZ is funding 10 grants from nine organizations: six in Tier 1 (up to $250,000) and four in Tier 2 (up to $50,000). Funding for both tiers totals $1,631,856. Sites funded include: Zoo Boise in Boise, Idaho; Idaho Falls Zoo in Idaho Falls, Idaho; Como Park Zoo and Conservatory in St. Paul, Minn.; Lake Superior Zoo in Duluth, Minn.; Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone, Mont.; Seattle Aquarium in Seattle, Wash.; International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wis.; Zoological Society of Milwaukee in Milwaukee, Wis.; and Racine Zoo in Racine, Wis. Projects span multiple focus areas: from interactive exhibits to new bear dens, culturally-responsive programs to teen marine science clubs and more.
About Woodland Park Zoo
Founded in 1899, Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle 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 Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.