June 20, 2009

Elmwood Park Zoo Needs Your Help

My family has been members & patrons of the Elmwood Park Zoo for slightly over 3 years. It's the kind of place that due to the locale, prior to one's first visit they may not have high expectations. However upon arriving they easily see what an asset this is for Norristown & the surrounding area.

Due to the current "tough times" across the country it is understandable that budgets everywhere are being scrutinized, however please take the time to review the email below, and if in agreement take action. The following was sent out by Bill Konstant, Executive Director/CEO of the Elmwood Park Zoo on Friday, June 19th.

Dear Friend of the Zoo,

As you may be aware, the proposed state budget eliminates funding for the six accredited zoos in Pennsylvania, including Elmwood Park Zoo. We rely upon this funding to help care for our animals during the winter months when we have fewer visitors.

Each year Elmwood Park Zoo attracts about 140,000 visitors, including nearly 40,000 students. Our animal ambassadors, education programs and lovely grounds contribute to the quality of life in this region, support the community's economic vitality and help promote tourism, Pennsylvania's second largest industry. If state funding is eliminated, it will create a significant shortfall in our budget that will impact staffing levels, and our ability to serve the community.

This year Elmwood Park Zoo will contribute nearly $2.5M to the local economy. This will help create an estimated 225 jobs and generate more than $240,000 in local and state tax revenues. If state funding is not restored, it will result in fewer jobs and less income tax revenue for our region and for the state. Now, more than ever, the General Assembly of Pennsylvania (House and Senate) must place a priority on programs that fuel economic development.

I urge you to contact the legislative leaders in both chambers listed below and express your support for continued funding for Pennsylvania's zoos in the coming fiscal year. You can:

1. place a call to one, or all of the legislators
2. send an e-mail
3. send a fax
4. send a letter
5. any combination of these options

Phone calls have the greatest impact. You should call the district office, but you can also call Harrisburg if you prefer. It can be a brief conversation in which you give your name, etc., and express support as indicated above.

I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for you to get involved if you value Elmwood Park Zoo's role in the community and the work we do. Calls from residents of Pennsylvania are heard by legislators, and they can have an impact on shaping next year's budget.

You can find the contact information for the elected officials for your district by visiting http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/find.cfm and click on the county in which you reside.

It only takes a few minutes of your time to help. All of us at Elmwood Park Zoo thank you in advance for your continued support, help, and involvement.

Bill Konstant
Executive Director/CEO

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