Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo Wins AZA’s Top Honors in Education for its RIZE Program with Fairfield University
Observation Studies led by Biology Professor Ashley Byun Seek to Better Understand Animal Behaviors
Bridgeport, Conn.—September 29, 2023--Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo was awarded Top Honors in Education from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) at their annual national conference, held this month in Columbus, Oh. The annual award was given to the Zoo’s RIZE program, recognizing outstanding achievement and the ability to promote conservation knowledge.
The RIZE program is Research, Internships, and Zoo Education, developed with Associate Biology Professor Ashley Byun, Ph.D., and Fairfield University Vertebrate Zoology Lab students in conducting behavioral observation studies at the Zoo. Each spring semester since 2013 (with a one-year interruption due to the pandemic), Vertebrate Biology Lab students have gathered at the Zoo each Tuesday to conduct behavioral observation studies on a variety of species. Additional longer-term studies are also conducted.
Phase One of a Multi-Year Plan Begins This Fall
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – September 28, 2023 – Changbai, a sixteen-year-old Amur tiger and the mother of cubs born at the Zoo in 2017, is scheduled to depart Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo. Born on May 24, 2007, Changbai arrived at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo in January 2017 from the Philadelphia Zoo. After a brief transfer to the Columbus Zoo, Changbai returned in 2020. Her departure is scheduled for early next week.
After the birth of two endangered Amur tiger cubs in November 2017, the Zoo began a campaign to create a new, more spacious home for its tigers. Pamela Kochiss Werth first stepped forward with a $1 million pledge for a new tiger habitat, with additional funds raised from Zoo supporters. In April 2022, the Zoo received $4.1 million in funding from the state in bond awards, which made the new tiger habitat a reality.
Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo appreciates the support it receives from local, regional and national media outlets. Media representatives are invited to tour