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On April 15, 2009, The Christopher Family Foundation of Hinsdale presented CZS with a gift of $1.5 million to go towards a conservation learning center at Brookfield Zoo. (from left to right) Jay and Doris Christopher, Dr. Stuart Strahl, CEO and President of CZS, and Michael Emmert, Treasurer of CZS.
The Chicago Zoological Society (CZS), which manages Brookfield Zoo, is pleased to announce the generous gift of $1.5 million from The Christopher Family Foundation of Hinsdale that will go toward the renovation of the zoo’s old Reptile House into a conservation learning center.

The donation was presented to Dr. Stuart Strahl, CEO and president of CZS, and Michael Emmert, treasurer of the Board of Trustees of CZS, today, April 15, by members of the Christopher Family, including Doris and Jay Christopher and Kelley Schueler, executive director of The Christopher Family Foundation.

“Our support of Brookfield Zoo is in response to the outstanding programs that our family has had the opportunity to enjoy over the years. Today, the third generation of children in our family visit Brookfield Zoo to delight in all that it offers. Our gift will help to assure that such excellent programs will continue into the future,” said Doris Christopher.

The gift will fund the construction of The Christopher Family Education Wing of the new center, which will feature four classrooms. One of the classrooms located in the center atrium below skylights, can also be converted to an exhibit hall for temporary traveling displays that would be open to zoo guests.

“The mission of the Chicago Zoological Society is to inspire conservation leadership, especially among young people. This charitable contribution from The Christopher Family Foundation will make it possible for us to bring together in one place all of our education programs,” said Strahl. “

The Christopher Family Education Wing of the new center will provide a state-of-the-art learning space that will enhance our ability to reach a broad range of students, from pre-school to post-graduate, and the teachers and educators who are so critical to the process of conservation education.”

The remaining portion of the renovated building will house staff members of CZS’s Center for Conservation Leadership. The entire project is estimated to cost $3.5 million.