February 16, 2022

Why These Current Events are Relevant to You

We’ve been following the latest news articles and are highlighting four topics that are relevant to your organization:

  1. Brian Flores Case Highlights Diversity Issue Across Sports and Bigger Than Football Even the NFL is facing diversity issues in leadership roles across the football league. In 2021, a study reported that while 41% of NFL assistant coaches in 2021 were people of color, that figure fell to 15.6% for head coaches. This is despite efforts with the ‘Rooney Rule’, requiring teams to interview at least one minority candidate for head coach and general manager openings. It’s clear work needs to be done to change the face of leadership in sports league as it does in many fields, including ours.

  2. “Dolly Parton’s Dollywood Says it will Pay all Tuition Costs for Employees Pursuing Higher Education” Is this becoming a new standard benefit that needs to be offered to all our teams? As many other companies begin to offer tuition-related benefits to entry-level employees, we may need to rethink our benefit packages as a way to attract and retain staff and attract a diverse team.

  3. “Fourteen Articles to Celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in ScienceFriday, February 11th was the 7th anniversary of the global movement of The International Day of Women and Girls in Science. The theme of this year’s Assembly, which brought together women in science and experts from around the world, high-level government officials, representatives of international organizations, and the private sector to gather at the United Nations New York, focused on “Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: Water Unites Us.” Learn more at the official website  https://www.womeninscienceday.org/.

  4. “Environmental Education in Zoos—Exploring the Impact of Guided Zoo Tours on Connection to Nature and Attitudes towards Species Conservation” Kathayoon Khalil, PhD is always supportive of institutions undertaking evaluations like this one – she says evaluations, because she thinks the findings aren’t necessarily broadly applicable (which is okay!). Individual institutions who are interested in the efficacy of their programs should continue to do this kind of work to understand where they are excelling and where there is room for improvement. Constructs like connectedness to nature and environmental attitudes are worthy outcomes of our programs, though we shouldn’t be too disappointed if a single program doesn’t create the massive gains that we want – people are complicated, and their environmental learning/attitudes/identities come from so many different places. We are a critical part of this learning ecosystem, but we are not the only part; the more we can do to understand how these experiences weave together, the more effective we will all be.

  5. “Dublin Zoo: Conservation, Education & a 10-year Plan” Founded in 1831, the Dublin Zoo has a rich history and now also manages Fota, a park near Cork. The Dublin Zoo’s total attendance is nearly 25% of the entire population of Ireland. Since 2020, they have a new Director, Dr. Christoph Schwitzer. He literally grew up at the Cologne Zoo in the lemur house and went on to become a lemur specialist in Madagascar, then worked at the Bristol Zoo. In a recent interview, his passion for conservation is contagious — he has embarked on a 10-year strategic planning exercise called “Dublin Zoo 200” (no that is not a typo, it will be in place for their 200th anniversary!) which includes a plan to increase conservation spending five-fold, providing more focus not only internationally, but also on Irish species. Dr. Schwitzer believes such a plan should have three components:

    • Breeding for reintroductions

    • Field conservation

    • And most importantly, behavior change and advocacy

    An example of the latter is the Bristol Zoo’s Forestry Sustainability Institute campaign for sustainable charcoal that he instituted. To quote him about the future of the Dublin Zoo, “We could have a biomass boiler, and burn the poo that the animals produce to make energy.”

    “We’ve been here for 190 years, and I’m sure we’ll make it for another 190. Most other conservation organizations are reliant on short ground cycles. There are very few projects where you can make a huge difference within a year. Successful conservation is a long-term commitment that zoos can fulfill.” Best wishes to the Dublin Zoo and the Zoological Society of Ireland as they plan for their 3rd century!

As always, Zoo Advisors is here to help you navigate the continuously changing landscape within the zoo and aquarium industry. Contact us if we can be of assistance.

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