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Chicago Zoological Society Announces Recipients of Conservation Leadership Awards
The Getz Family, Walgreen Co. and Randall Wells, Ph.D. honored for conservation efforts

Recognized for their significant impact on conservation efforts locally and around the globe, the Chicago Zoological Society (CZS), which manages Brookfield Zoo, honored three recipients with its 2013 Conservation Leadership Awards. The awards were presented to the Getz Family, Walgreen Co. and Randall Wells, Ph.D., of the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program. The special evening, benefited CZS conservation and education initiatives, was held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago on Thursday, September 26.

“As a leader in moving people to take action on behalf of wildlife and nature, we are proud to recognize this year’s honorees for their collective commitment to make a difference in our environment,” said Stuart D. Strahl, Ph.D., president and CEO of CZS. “The honorees share our hope for a world where people connect with nature and engage in more sustainable behaviors.”

The Corwith Hamill Lifetime Achievement Conservation Award was presented to the Getz family for their lifelong commitment to conservation and sustainability, which spans four generations. The Getz family legacy dates back to 1927, seven years before Brookfield Zoo opened to the public, when the family patriarch, George Fulmer Getz, Sr., served as an early governing member and trustee. In 1933, Getz Sr. donated all 270 animals from his private zoo in Holland, Mich., to occupy Brookfield Zoo’s revolutionary new moat-and-grotto exhibits. Since then, four generations have served on the CZS board of trustees and the Getz Foundation has been a major benefactor to the Society.

Thomas J. Sabatino, Jr., executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary of Walgreen Co., accepted the Edith Rockefeller McCormick Corporate Conservation Award on behalf of the company for its commitment to reducing its carbon footprint. The company is developing a net-zero store in Evanston, Ill., which will use renewable energy from solar, wind, and geothermal sources, along with efficient refrigerators, LED lights and green building materials. Walgreen plans to extend many of these clean energy technologies to its 8,000 stores. The company also offers an environmentally-safe alternative to medication disposal, helps reduce the life cycle impact of products by offering reusable shopping bags, collaborates to create new light bulbs that are more efficient than those used by any other retailer, and provides LED parking lot lights that provide energy savings and improved visibility.

Randall Wells, Ph.D., senior conservation scientist for CZS and director of the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program (based at Florida’s Mote Marine Laboratory) is the recipient of the George B. Rabb Conservation Medal. Wells, who has dedicated his life to studying dolphins, has led the world’s longest-running study of a wild dolphin population. The program studies up to five concurrent generations of bottlenose dolphins that reside in Sarasota Bay year-round. The Sarasota Dolphin Research Program is now in its 43rd year, and Wells and his team of researchers focus on many aspects of dolphin biology, including health, behavior, genetics, environmental change, and adverse interactions with humans. The data collected are repeatedly used in scientific studies, as well as public policy decisions that can help protect marine animals.