4 • The Louisville Zoo Trunkline • Spring 2016 MESSAGE FROM LEADERSHIP FROM THE MAYOR Greg Fischer Metro Mayor I am constantly challenging our Louisville Metro Government team to be world class in everything we do, because I believe that creates a culture of continuous improvement — and results in better service to citizens. The Louisville Zoo has again risen to that challenge, receiving the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Quarter Century Award. This new award honors facilities that have maintained AZA accreditation continuously for 25 years or more, highlighting their commitment to animal care, welfare, FROM THE DIRECTOR John Walczak Louisville Zoo Director T his year is shaping up to be a big year for your Louisville Zoo. We have some sensational openings on the way: NEW camel rides, a fantastic bird show, an expanded and enriched elephant exhibit in our Africa area, and later in the year — the new Penguin Cove. Our staff has worked hard to make these changes possible and I’m excited for you to see the fruits of our hard work. I’m also excited to tell you about the official new Master Plan that will define the future of your Zoo. This plan was drafted to ensure that the Louisville Zoo continues to be the first choice for family fun in the region, a conservation, education and more. I congratulate Zoo Director John Walczak and his team for the award, which shows their commitment to excellence and dedication to constant growth. To be accredited, organizations must demonstrate they are meeting the AZA’s high standards through a meticulous onsite inspection covering animal care, veterinary programs, conservation, education and safety. I applaud the Louisville Zoo’s leaders and staff for their hard work on that score, and I thank them for their commitment. I and my team believe that the citizens of Louisville deserve the best city government in the country, and we are committed to setting best-practice standards across the nation in every aspect of our work. Recently, the city’s website, louisvilleky.gov, placed in the Center for Digital Government’s 2015 Best of the Web Awards. And the center’s Digital Cities Survey included Louisville as one of America’s top digital cities. Our Office for Performance Improvement is always at work to uncover smarter, more efficient ways to deliver services, and these awards, as well as the Zoo’s recognition from AZA, confirm we are moving in the right direction. However, like the Louisville Zoo, we are not resting on our achievements. We are continually looking for innovative ways to better deliver services to citizens. We will continue to use all the tools available to us to ensure that all divisions of Metro Government, including our Louisville Zoo, are measuring results, zeroing in on areas for improvement — and making those improvements. That’s our promise to Louisville Zoo visitors — and all citizens. leader in innovation, and an everpresent reminder to our community to live in better balance with the planet and those who share it with us. We plan to engage and amaze our guests like never before. A transformed welcoming plaza will ensure you are greeted in comfort and better prepared for your adventure. We plan to introduce even more inventive exhibit designs to captivate and inspire young conservation advocates. The proposed Crocotorium will show species from novel perspectives, surprising your family with natural displays of athleticism as crocodiles leap into the air. We have plans for a Shark Conservation Institute that will bring you closer than ever to the ocean environment with sharks, string rays and other iconic ocean residents. You will be introduced to important research and shark conservation programs that help us all better understand the drastic plight of these apex predators. We will redefine how you are able to interact with the Zoo wildlife by dissolving traditional barriers and creating new ways for animals to cross our paths — at our feet and over our heads. These passages will provide unforgettable nose-to-nose encounters while encouraging enriching opportunities for giraffes, elephants, primates and others. A new education hub will be built at the front of the Zoo on the western edge of the reimagined multispecies African Savannah. Your children will be able to learn while watching the sun rise over grazing giraffes and zebras. Our Zoo is a story of innovation, forward momentum, and a mission of reconnecting people to wildlife, wild places and to each other. We can and will continue to inspire people to love, respect and protect wildlife. We will, “better the bond between people and our planet.” Our Zoo of tomorrow begins today.