Minutes of Y's Men Meeting of February 2, 2017
Gregg Dancho and Anne Keefe
Mr. Dancho has been the Beardsley Zoo Director since 1983. The Beardsley Zoo is only one of 222 accredited zoos in the country although there are thousands of zoos in the U.S.
Mr. Dancho pointed out that everyone expects zoos to emphasize conservation and education, but that a zoo has to be fun in order to attract visitors. Apparently, Mr. Dancho has managed to make the Beardsley Zoo fun as it attracts over 250,000 visitors a year including more than 50,000 children.
In addition to the usual collection of animals, the Beardsley Zoo has over 100 exotic or endangered species. This practice helps with the zoo’s accreditation. But even more important it provides a habitat for animals that would otherwise become extinct.
The zoo does strongly promote conservation and has multiple conservation programs on its grounds. It also lends out employees to various conservation programs throughout the state.
In addition to its conservation programs, the zoo hosts people from out of the country who need help in establishing their own programs. It also has a variety of outreach efforts to help educate children as well as adults.
The zoo has its own research station and greenhouse as well as a carousel, which helps with the fun aspect. It also serves as a venue for various entertainment events such as Shakespeare performances and professional singers.
One of the zoo’s future efforts is focused on developing a South American adventure venue.
Following the presentation, some nursery school children were brought in and Mr. Dancho brought out some zoo denizens including an African grey parrot, a baby alligator and a snake, which he promised to let the children touch.