Chief Executive’s Blog
May 23, 2014 § Leave a comment
Well this week has certainly been a busy one for the Society.
On Tuesday evening we held the Annual General Meeting of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, with many of our members coming along to show their support and give their valuable input. We really appreciate how much our members care and how much of their time and energy they offer to the Society. They really are central to who we are and what we do.
The evening saw our members elect a new member, Karen Jervis, to our board. Karen has held senior roles across life sciences and business in both Scotland and Australia and has been a member of the Scottish Science Advisory Council. She also has strong links with science academia in the UK, having worked with local universities, the Moredun Foundation and the Roslin Institute. We are delighted to welcome Karen on-board and look forward to working with her in the years to come.
The evening also gave us a chance to share with our members the highlights from 2013. Jeremy Peat, our chair of the board, told all those present how the two sites – Edinburgh Zoo and the Highland Wildlife Park – received an excellent number of visitors through their doors; brilliant news for us all and, as a not-for-profit organisation, essential for our core goals of conservation, research and education. In its centenary year Edinburgh Zoo continued its strong performance, even bucking the trend of a giant panda zoo in year two. The Highland Wildlife Park again set more records, with both the highest number of visitors coming to the Park in its 42 year history and a record number of births – with 54 new-borns from 21 different species arriving in 2013 alone.
The night also saw the return of the Honorary Fellows of RZSS, a lifetime award. We felt that now was the right time to reintroduce this award and to honour four individuals with our Fellowship. We were delighted to award:
Sir Gerald Elliot – His contribution via the Binks Trust has helped advance many areas of Scottish life. Together with his wife Lady Margaret Elliot (who is already an Honorary Fellow of the Society), the Binks Trust is a long term supporter of our Society and the work we do.
Christine & Ewan Brown – The Browns are major supporters of the Society and the work we do. They have shown their generous support over many years, in good times and less good times, and are both Patrons of the Society and Panda Bond Holders.
Robert Ollason – A former Head of Education for the Society, Rob is already the proud recipient of an MBE. Under his guidance from 1977, the education programme at Edinburgh Zoo evolved and we were actually the first zoo to employ qualified teachers.
On other subjects, we are delighted to be part of BIAZA’s Love Your Zoo Week. From Sunday 25 May, RZSS will release a series of behind the scenes videos that focus on our ongoing charitable conservation work. Six videos in total will be released each day until Friday 30 May, with each video showing a different project the Society is involved in. Footage will include never before seen camera trap images from animal dens, interviews with keepers, scientists and field researchers and behind the scenes views of areas that are usually off show to visitors. All videos will be viewable via www.edinburghzoo.org.uk/lyz as well as the Edinburgh Zoo and Highland Wildlife Park YouTube channels and social media pages.
Earlier this week Edinburgh Zoo also welcomed Mr Pan Xinchun, Consul General for the People’s Republic of China, as part of an RZSS and Scotland China Education Network’s (SCEN) Global Classroom Day. The Global Classroom Day brought together 175 students from 13 schools across Scotland to learn about China and its history, culture, language and environment, and is just one of several RZSS/SCEN joint educational programmes aimed at developing stronger bonds between the two countries.
Finally, there is still time to book last minute tickets for the first of our award winning Edinburgh Zoo Nights on Friday 23 May. An evening of entertainment for adults only, Edinburgh Zoo Nights is an after-hours event where you get the rare opportunity to see what the animals get up to in the evening and enjoy a drink and a range of delicious street food.There is also a great variety of entertainment, including a silent disco, face painting and animal talks, plus a different combination of live music, street performers and comedy acts at each event. To book tickets or for more information, please visit http://www.edinburghzoo.org.uk/events/2014/05/edinburgh-zoo-nights-may-23rd
The old Lakota was wise. He knew that man’s heart away from nature becomes hard; he knew that lack of respect for growing, living things soon led to lack of respect for humans too.
~Chief Luther Standing Bear