While the Gates incident has dominated recent discussion here at BMG, in the Boston papers, and nationally, the media hoopla surrounding Zoo New England has not disappeared. Joan Vennochi’s column in today’s Globe
unfortunately perpetuates some common misperceptions about the funding crisis facing the zoos.
First, with a record number of visitors last year, the zoos are an economic engine for our state, an affordable destination for families, a living classroom for children, and a source of life-changing jobs for many teens and people with disabilities. Their continued potential for growth is exciting as they build on this positive momentum. More people visit accredited zoos and aquariums each year than attend professional baseball, basketball, football, and hockey combined.
Second, over the last ten years, Zoo New England has made tremendous strides in improving the zoos and increasing their self sufficiency. Earned revenue and private fundraising now account for 40% of Zoo New England’s total budget, with the remaining 60% coming from state funding. This is a typical ratio of public/private funding for accredited zoos in the United States. Zoo New England has a bold strategic plan to continue to increase its self sufficiency.
Third, consolidating the two zoos is not the answer to the current fiscal crisis. This option has been carefully analyzed; it would not yield significant savings and from a practical standpoint would be extremely difficult and costly to implement. Stone Zoo accounts for 40% of the attendance and membership acquisition, but only about 22% of the cost of operating the two zoos. Relocating the animals from Stone Zoo would require new exhibits to be built at Franklin Park which would cost millions of dollars.
I have a personal connection to the Stone Zoo. It is in my district and I’m a frequent visitor with my two daughters. In fact, my six year old is planning to have her next birthday party at the Stone Zoo.
The Franklin Park and Stone Zoos are a unique cultural resource that contribute significantly to our economic development and quality of life. They are a smart investment, particularly in these tough economic times, and they deserve our continued support.
You can find out more information about why we need to save the zoos in a recent op-ed I wrote in the Stoneham Sun.
If you look at the “donations” and outreach aspect of the ZNE, items like support by a classroom, or a “friends society” if they are “there” are hard to find.
p>I agree with your statement that the zoos both deserve our support, and if they are to become “independent” a weaning process is in order, not the sword of 9C.
p>Is this a State or National figure?
This is a national figure.
but I wouldn’t be surprised if attendance in MA tops too.
p>2008 attendance for sports (ish):
p>Five mil divided by 52 weeks is about 96,000 visitors per week. Does Franklin Park + Stone + NE Aquarium top that? For a little extra help, maybe we add Southwick’s Zoo and the Maria Mitchell Association Aquarium?
p>I have no idea on the numbers of visitors… I didn’t find anything easily for NE Aq or for FPZ. Anybody got those numbers?
You could take out baseball and put NASCAR into the equation and the zoos will blow sports away.
Frankly, I was offended by Ms. Vennochi’s column. I am a member of Zoo New England and have visited the Stone Zoo many times with my family. If the Stone Zoo were to close I doubt I would keep my membership since it would not make economic sense for me. There is no practical way I could visit Franklin park as often as I visit the Stone Zoo. The Zoo (Franklin or Southwick, perhaps) would become more of a “destination” for a once a year excursion such as Story Land in NH or Disney in Florida. It is just not convenient for those of us north of Boston. I have no great fear of Dorchester, racial or otherwise.
p>I also really like that the Stone Zoo also has only relatively small animals in reasonably natural exhibits. I visited the San Diego Zoo years ago and was appalled by some of the conditions. I still remember a camel that continually walked around in the same circle, over and over again. It was sad.
That’s some solid work from a freshman representative… the people of your district should be proud.
you espouse support for the Stone Zoo but are silent on Stoneham’s intent to destroy the Fells Reservation of which the zoo is a part. The fact that Stoneham is in your district speaks volumes. Once you stand up for the Fells I will listen to you ramble on about the zoos.
We are closing homes for the develpmentaly disabled and withdrawing support for the citizens in the Commonwealth in dire need of services to live.
p>The comparison to sports attendance is non compelling.
p>Give Zoo New England the same public support ss we give the sports teams.
How can a zoo that needs to attract families expect visitors to come when shootings like this happen one mile form the entrance to the zoo?
p>pray of bullets wounds girl, shakes neighborhood
Gangs in Dorchester fired assault rifles
By Brian R. Ballou, Globe Staff | July 29, 2009
As night fell on Whitman Street, Arisneve Tejeda took up a spot on her father’s bed and watched a television show. Outside, five young men assembled near a wrought-iron fence at the bottom of the dead-end street in Dorchester. As neighbors settled on their balconies and porches, three other young men approached from a parking lot on the opposite side of the fence, witnesses said.
p>And then rapid gunfire erupted Monday, with bullets bouncing off the fence, cutting down large tree limbs, and slicing through walls of several apartment buildings. Sparks illuminated the evening sky, and the ping of bullets ricocheting off the fence echoed down the street.
p>For about 15 seconds, bullets flew in every direction. As gunpowder clouds floated through the air, Tejeda, a 12-year-old, felt a burn on her upper leg. She had been grazed by a bullet.
p>Early yesterday afternoon, after spending the night at Boston Medical Center, Tejeda returned home, exiting gingerly from the family van and limping into her house, her parents walking at her side.
p>The girl’s cousin, Eufry Cabral, 22, said Tejeda was shaken by the experience. “She’s always active and likes to dance and go out riding her bike, but now that this has happened, she’s scared,” Cabral said. Tejeda’s parents declined to comment.