As I write this, I’m looking out onto Eucalyptus Grove, which has been transformed into the holiday home for our visiting reindeer. Reindeer Romp is just the beginning of our winter holiday whirlwind, which offers a little something for everyone—the dazzling wonderland of L.A. Zoo Lights, Holiday Happy Hours at L.A. Zoo Lights (this year’s colorful themes will be “Bavarian Holiday Haus” and “Tiki Tidings”), Breakfast with Santa for our members, and, to kick off a new year, the L.A. Zoo Lights Family New Year’s Eve party.
The New Year will bring many exciting changes at the L.A. Zoo. November marks my sixteenth anniversary as GLAZA president, and it’s been a great run. I’ve been privileged to work with many great people at the Zoo and GLAZA and, together, we have accomplished many milestones—including the completion of Elephants of Asia and new programming such as L.A. Zoo Lights, which has brought new revenue to the Zoo. Of all these achievements, what makes me happiest is the way our entire Zoo family joins together to advance the Zoo’s mission of wildlife conservation.
Sixteen years is a long time, and, this past year, I’ve been thinking the time has come to turn over the reins. With Zoo Director John Lewis leaving (his tenure ends this month), a new leader will guide the Zoo toward a vision plan that will transform the campus. Now’s the ideal time to transition to new leadership at GLAZA as well, to engage the community in the ambitious 20-year plan and the wonderful future that lies ahead.
I will retire in March 2019. I’ll always be rooting for the Los Angeles Zoo as it works to save species around the world. We’ll work together over the next few months, and I will enjoy every minute of it. For now, please accept my greatest thanks for having helped make my tenure here so enjoyable.
With the winter holidays on the horizon, I know that many of us will be turning our thoughts to family gatherings with meals and stories shared. I hope that you, our Zoo family, will include a visit with us in your holiday plans and make us part of a memorable year-end tale.