Contact: Steve Feldman, AZA, 301.562.0777 x252

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Chicago Zoological Society – Brookfield Zoo Receives Renewed Accreditation from AZA and Wins Major Awards for Education and Marketing

     Silver Spring, Maryland (September 26, 2012) – The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) today announced that the Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo, was granted renewed accreditation by AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission.

“Only zoos and aquariums that meet the highest standards are accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums,” said AZA president and CEO Jim Maddy. “The community should take great pride in knowing that Brookfield Zoo is ranked among the best zoos and aquariums in the world.”

To be accredited, the Chicago Zoological Society underwent a thorough review to ensure it has and will continue to meet ever-rising standards in areas that include animal care, veterinary programs, conservation, education, and safety. AZA requires zoos and aquariums to successfully complete this rigorous accreditation process every five years to be members of the Association.

The accreditation process includes a detailed application and a meticulous on-site inspection by a team of trained zoo and aquarium professionals. The inspecting team observes all aspects of the institution’s operation, including animal care; keeper training; safety for visitors, staff and animals; educational programs; conservation efforts; veterinary programs; financial stability; risk management; visitor services; and other areas. Finally, top officials are interviewed at a formal hearing of AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission, after which accreditation is granted, tabled, or denied. Any institution that is denied may reapply one year after the Commission’s decision is made.

“We are extremely pleased with our accreditation from AZA,” said Stuart Strahl, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Chicago Zoological Society.” Animal welfare is a top priority at Brookfield Zoo, and we constantly strive to be an industry leader in animal care, conservation, and education.”

The Chicago Zoological Society has also been awarded AZA’s Top Honors national award in Marketing for its 2011 summer campaign “Face a Real Bear/Bull/Wolf and More at Real Fan Days,” as well as Significant Achievement in the AZA’s 2012 Education Award for its Centers of Science Excellence program.

“These awards provide well-deserved national recognition for the creativity of the staff and marketing savvy of the Chicago Zoological Society, as well as demonstrate how the Society is a nationwide leader in science education,” added Maddy.

The AZA Marketing Award recognizes excellence in marketing campaigns developed and executed by its AZA member institutions. The campaign must utilize a marketing mix with a minimum of three communication channels, such as television, radio, print advertising, outdoor, Internet, or direct mail. The Society won in the category for budgets over $175,000.

The AZA Education Award recognizes outstanding achievement in educational program design, judging programs on their ability to promote conservation knowledge, attitudes, and behavior; show innovation; and measure success. The Chicago Zoological Society – Brookfield Zoo was recognized for Significant Achievement in the category for programs with budgets over $5 million.

Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science, and recreation. Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting an institution dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation, and your link to helping animals in their native habitats. For more information, please visit www.aza.org.

The Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo, inspires conservation leadership by connecting people with wildlife and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society is a private nonprofit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County. Open every day of the year, the zoo is located off First Avenue between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and is also accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, CTA, and PACE bus service.

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Please contact Sondra Katzen, media relations manager for the Chicago Zoological Society, at (708) 688-8351 for additional information about the facility, including special events and activities for visitors and its ongoing commitment to wildlife conservation and science education.