BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – October 25, 2023 –Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo invites members of the community and friends of the Zoo to attend the fourth-in person Gala on Saturday, November 11 at The Inn at Longshore in Westport, Conn. The evening promises a wildly good time and all funds raised will support the Zoo’s mission of conserving critically endangered species with its award-winning conservation, education, and animal welfare programs.
The Gala includes a seated dinner, musical entertainment, and silent and live auctions at a beautiful venue on the water. The evening begins at 5:30 p.m. with a cocktail hour offering up-close experiences and photo opportunities with the Zoo’s ambassador animals. The program features representatives of the Zoo’s Conservation Discovery Corps, an award-winning teen program, with remarks from Jennifer Farrell, the recipient of the Zoo’s Achievements in Conservation Award. Farrell will talk about Monarch Watch, a Citizen Science program that collects valuable data to study the declining population of Monarch butterflies.
Fairfield University Associate Professor Ashley Byun, Ph.D., will also speak at the Gala about the Zoo’s RIZE program: Research, Internships, and Zoo Education. RIZE conducts animal behavioral observation studies at the Zoo by Fairfield University Vertebrate Zoology Lab students. This year, the RIZE program was awarded Top Honors in Education from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), recognizing outstanding achievement and the ability to promote conservation knowledge.
The evening’s emcee will be Chris Rowlands, a popular musician, songwriter, and entertainer with a long history of supporting the Zoo through his family-oriented stage shows each summer. A native of Connecticut, Rowlands’ signature entertainment style creatively blends music, comedy, and education to create fast-paced shows that teach and inspire young people.
“The Gala is a celebration of the Zoo’s wildlife conservation achievements, inspiring supporters who are passionate about protecting the natural world,” said Zoo Director Gregg Dancho. “As animals continue to disappear in the wild, and as the “wild” itself disappears due to climate change, deforestation and human-wildlife conflict, the role of accredited zoos becomes more important in ensuring the future of endangered species.”
The Zoo would like to thank its very generous sponsors: VIP Sponsor: The Natt Family; Amur Tiger Sponsors: Cardello Architects, Day Pitney, EY, Fletcher Development LLC, M&T Bank, Stratford Mayor’s Charity Golf Tournament, Teel Technologies; Red Wolf Sponsors: Claudette and Steven Kunkes, The Matthews Family; Ocelot Sponsors: Bradley and Son Locksmith, Cross Insurance, The Hilb Group, REMAX Heritage, Robinson & Cole LLP; Otter Pup Sponsors: Cintas, Gault, Parillo Cohen & Co, Pullman & Comley LLC; Media Sponsor: Greenfield Hill Neighbors, as well as the more than 100 local businesses, restaurants and corporations who contributed items to our live and silent auctions.
Committee members include Sue Amatrudo of East Haven; Judi Cardello, Lisa Clair and Audrey Delfoe of Fairfield; Teresa Nakouzi of Hamden; Chip Dumais, Dean DeBiase, Lisa Croce Jackson and Ashley Volkens of Milford; Lisa DeGoursey of Orange; Jennifer DiBlanda of Prospect; Antonio Rodrigues of Stratford; Nadine Green of Thomaston; Bernadette Baldino of Trumbull; and Brooke Hopkins of Woodbridge.
Tickets to the Gala are $250; tables of ten are also available. The public can bid on dozens of incredible auction items and experiences online at https://e.givesmart.com/events/ulq/. More information, including the link to purchase tickets, can be found at https://www.beardsleyzoo.org/gala.html.
About Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo
Get your ticket to adventure! Connecticut’s only zoo, celebrating its 101st year, features 350 animals representing primarily North and South American and Northern Asian species. Guests won’t want to miss our Amur leopards, maned wolves, Mexican gray wolves, and American red wolves. Other highlights include our new Andean Bear Habitat, Spider Monkey Habitat, the prairie dog exhibit, and the Pampas Plain with giant anteaters and Chacoan peccaries. Guests can grab a bite from the Peacock Café and eat in the Picnic Grove. As an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and participant in its Species Survival Plan (SSP) programs, the non-profit Zoo is committed to the preservation of endangered animals and wild habitats. Tickets must be purchased on the Zoo’s website at beardsleyzoo.org.
Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo appreciates the support it receives from local, regional and national media outlets. Media representatives are invited to tour