Here at Practical Art, our mouths are watering as we gear up for next week’s Charity Pie Night. Yet it’s not just the thought of Vonceil’s Pies that has us excited. This month we are hosting Pie Night in support of the Phoenix Zoo– which means we get to spend the evening with some of their amazing critters. Last year we met Buttercup, the most adorable armadillo in Arizona. We can’t wait to see who we’ll get to meet next Friday!
Many people don’t know that the Phoenix Zoo is actually a 501c3, non-profit organization. In fact, it’s one of the largest not-for-profit zoos in the nation. They rely on the support of the community to fulfill their mission: to provide experiences that inspire people to care about the natural world. Earlier this week, we had the fantastic opportunity to chat with Bert Castro, President and CEO of the Phoenix Zoo. He gave us a bit of insight into this important community organization.
If you’ve been to the Phoenix Zoo lately, you were likely impressed with the beauty of their expansive grounds, the thoughtful layout of their animal homes and habitats, and the sheer number and scope of the creatures they care for. Housing more than 1,400 animals, including 30 species that are endangered or threatened, the Phoenix Zoo is an important center for nature conservation.
If you’ve walked along the paths, you may also have noticed their recycling efforts. Mr. Castro explained to us that energy efficiency and sustainability are important to the Phoenix Zoo’s mission. Recycling and composting campaigns are one way in which they promote a ‘greener’ Phoenix. However, they are also leading the way in sustainable efforts as they build and expand their site. The new Phoenix Zoo Administration building was awarded LEED Gold status by the U.S. Green Building Council, scoring highly for optimal energy performance and onsite renewable energy (it’s solar powered!). As lovers of all things recycled (or up-cycled as we like to say), repurposed, reused, and sustainable, we were impressed!
A sustainable, energy efficient campus isn’t the only way the Phoenix Zoo positively impacts our community. They are also an important gathering space. The Zoo hosts special events, camps, and educational opportunities that support the sharing of ideas and resources. You can join them April 17th for their annual Dia Del Nino, celebrating children, animals, and hispanic culture. Or head to the Zoo April 23rd for Earth Day and participate in hands-on activities that support reducing your carbon footprint. Keep your eyes peeled for walks and runs in honor of other local nonprofits– according to Mr. Castro, the Zoo hosts more than 35 charitable walks throughout the year! For details about events, and to see what’s upcoming, visit the Zoo’s online calendar.
As Phoenix natives, we have watched the Zoo expand and grow from our visits as kids to our visits with kids, and we wanted to know what we could look forward to in the future. Mr. Castro couldn’t give official details, but he did say that future plans for the Phoenix Zoo include intensive and immersive visitor experiences in which you feel you are with the animals….and a new indoor restaurant! We can’t wait!
Want to get more involved with the Phoenix Zoo? There are many ways you can support this local landmark. Help the animals and conservation efforts by making a donation. Volunteer at one of their awesome events. Or buy a membership and become part of the Phoenix Zoo family (we highly recommend it!). To get started off right, head to Practical Art next Friday, April 22 from 7:00-9:00p.m.
As a community organization with a heart for all things local, Practical Art is extremely excited to partner with the Phoenix Zoo for Charity Pie Night. Come by. Eat delicious pie. Meet amazing animals. Buy local artwork. And donate to this Phoenix treasure.