My Story: Shawn Dunwoody

“My Zoo isn’t just about families; it’s about the world family.”

Shawn Dunwoody, lifelong Rochester resident, Creative Director, DunWoodē Visual Consulting

I used to think of zoos as cages with animals, and it made me sad. But now I know Seneca Park Zoo is actually on a mission to conserve animals and wild life for our future generations. That you’re connected to other accredited zoos to preserve the future of these animals.

There’s a care and concern for the animals, and there’s a care and concern for people understanding what our world looks like, and that when you support the Zoo, you’re actually supporting life to continue forward in and around the world. Seneca Park Zoo may have a small footprint but it has a global impact.

I now see the Zoo as something a bit different – an entity that cares and wants to preserve, but also wants the community to know about these things. You are focused on the community and what it needs for generations to come. This small Zoo is not just about families, but about the world family, which I think is important in supporting life globally.

Seneca Park Zoo may have a small footprint but it has a global impact.

Shawn and his family are just one example of people in our community who thought the Zoo wasn’t for them. There are few things more satisfying than seeing the “Aha!” moment when a zoo naysayer understands the full impact of our efforts.

And Shawn’s reference to our global impact isn’t hyperbole. The Seneca Park Zoo Society recently won an Environmental Leadership Award for its biodiversity assessment, “One Cubic Foot,” in the Genesee River, a project highlighted in a six-page story in Connect, the national journal of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. In June, we replicated the project in Madagascar, with National Geographic photographer David Liittschwager and scientists from the Smithsonian Institution.

At the Zoo, our successful breeding programs with orangutans, lions, and African penguins, are helping to build genetically sustainable populations of endangered species. In fact, we just celebrated our 100th successful hatching of an African black-footed penguin, cementing your beloved penguins’ reputation as one of the most significant breeding colonies in North America.

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