Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HR0187
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Full Text of HR0187  102nd General Assembly




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2    WHEREAS, The members of the Illinois House of
3Representatives are pleased to congratulate Dr. Stuart Strahl
4on his retirement as president and chief executive officer of
5the Chicago Zoological Society after 18 years of service; and
6    WHEREAS, Dr. Strahl has served as the Chicago Zoological
7Society's (the Society) president and CEO since 2003; he has
8guided the Society in its mission to inspire conservation
9leadership by engaging people and communities with wildlife
10and nature; and
11    WHEREAS, Dr. Strahl received his Bachelor of Arts degree
12in Biology from Bates College, his Ph.D. in Biology from the
13State University of New York at Albany, and a Doctor of Humane
14Letters degree from Dominican University; a well-respected
15author and distinguished lecturer, he is the principal author
16of numerous scientific and popular publications and served for
17over 10 years as the founding chair of the IUCN/SSC Specialist
18Group on the Avian Family Cracidae; he also has considerable
19background in higher education and has served as adjunct
20faculty at the University of Florida, State University of New
21York, and Washington College, among others; and
22    WHEREAS, A career conservationist with 35 years of



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1experience in applied science, restoration ecology, public
2policy and not-for-profit management, Dr. Strahl is
3experienced in bringing together diverse interests around
4conservation causes; he began his career as a field biologist
5and later served as the founding director of the Latin
6American Programs for the Wildlife Conservation Society; his
7lasting partnerships in the U.S. and Latin America have
8resulted in the preservation of over 30 million acres of
9wildlife habitat and over $18 billion in conservation funding;
10prior to arriving at the Chicago Zoological Society, as
11founding president/CEO of Audubon of Florida, he led the
12National Audubon Society into prominence as the acknowledged
13private-sector leader in the largest ecological restoration
14initiative in history, known as the Comprehensive Everglades
15Restoration Plan; and
16    WHEREAS, Dr. Strahl has served on numerous boards and
17appointed commissions; he is a member of the board of
18directors of the Society for Conservation Biology, the Vital
19Ground Foundation, and the Pickering Creek Audubon Center of
20the Chesapeake Audubon Society, an elective member of the
21American Ornithologists' Union, and a professional member of
22the Boone and Crockett Club, among others; and
23    WHEREAS, As president and CEO, Dr. Strahl led the creation
24of the Chicago Zoological Society's new Centers of Excellence



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1– the Center for the Science of Animal Care & Welfare, which
2has enhanced high-level animal care in zoos by applying a
3broad range of sciences to evaluate and improve animal
4well-being; the Center for Conservation Leadership serves as a
5nexus for coordinating fieldwork, zoo-based education, and
6outreach to change the world by inspiring and engaging as many
7conservation leaders as possible; and
8    WHEREAS, The Chicago Zoological Society is world-renowned
9as a leader in animal welfare and veterinary care and produces
10award-winning conservation programs for people of all
11abilities; under Dr. Strahl's direction, the Society has
12developed new and innovative exhibits as well as enduring
13partnerships that provide service to urban communities of
14color, veterans, individuals with disabilities, and other
15vulnerable populations; and
16    WHEREAS, In an effort to connect communities across the
17region with nature and wildlife, Dr. Strahl encouraged the
18distribution of millions of free zoo passes in under-resourced
19communities; he also fostered the creation of an Animal
20Ambassador program, which brings the zoo's animals outside the
21park to meet with community members who would not otherwise be
22able to visit the zoo; and
23    WHEREAS, A passionate advocate for veterans and their



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1families, Dr. Strahl developed strong partnerships with local
2VA Hospitals and veteran groups, including the Wounded Warrior
3Project, which holds an annual Soldier Ride at Brookfield Zoo;
4under his direction, to honor their service, the zoo became
5free for all active, reservist, and retired members of the
6military; and
7    WHEREAS, During Dr. Strahl's tenure, Brookfield Zoo
8welcomed its 150,000,000th guest and was the most popular paid
9cultural attraction in the Midwest; it also became the first
10zoo in the world to receive humane certification from the
11American Humane Society for its exemplary animal care and
12welfare; and
13    WHEREAS, Brookfield Zoo's campus grew and modernized under
14Dr. Strahl; this growth fulfilled aspects of a strategic plan
15focused on animal welfare and the engagement of diverse
16communities; historical exhibits were transformed into Great
17Bear Wilderness and Regenstein Wolf Woods, which showcase
18endangered species of North America; the Children's Zoo became
19Hamill Family Wild Encounters, which highlights opportunities
20to get up close and personal with nature; the original Reptile
21House was transformed into the Mary Ann MacLean Conservation
22Leadership Center, which houses all of the zoo's educational
23outreach programs; the newly constructed Pavilions and Hamill
24Family Nature Plaza provide spaces for guests to relax during



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1their trip to the zoo; and
2    WHEREAS, Dr. Strahl reinforced the Chicago Zoological
3Society's commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and
4access by implementing comprehensive programs for audience
5diversity, vendor diversity, and workforce and workplace
6diversity and inclusion; this was to make Brookfield Zoo an
7even more welcoming destination for all visitors and to
8connect people of all backgrounds with conservation through
9cutting-edge, inclusive programs and experiences; and
10    WHEREAS, Under Dr. Strahl's leadership, the Chicago
11Zoological Society received over 60 awards from local,
12national, and international organizations for its educational
13and conservation programs, inclusive practices, and business
14acumen; these awards include the Institute of Museum and
15Library Services' National Medal for Museum Service, the
16Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Angela Petersen Excellence
17in Diversity Award and Community Engagement Award for the King
18Conservation Leadership Academy, the Illinois Association of
19Museums' Large Institution of the Year Award, the Illinois
20Department of Human Services' Distinguished Service Award for
21employment of individuals with disabilities, and the Fuller
22Park Neighborhood Development Corporation's Community Partner
23of the Year award, among many others; and



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1    WHEREAS, The year 2021 marks the 100 year anniversary of
2the creation of the Chicago Zoological Society, the non-profit
3that runs Brookfield Zoo, by the Forest Preserves of Cook
4County; during his time as CEO, Dr. Strahl strengthened this
5enduring public private partnership by helping to shape and
6advance a common recreational, educational, and conservation
7mission; he served on the Next Century Conservation Plan
8Commission and Steering Committee where he proposed bold
9actions to make Cook County a national leader in urban
10conservation; he was also instrumental in several successful
11governmental funding efforts that brought much needed revenue
12to the Forest Preserves of Cook County, the Brookfield Zoo,
13and the Chicago Botanic Garden; and
14    WHEREAS, An avid outdoorsman, Dr. Strahl and his family
15enjoy exploring remote natural areas and look forward to
16spending more time in the wilderness; therefore, be it
19we congratulate Dr. Stuart Strahl on his retirement, commend
20his dedication, service, and enormous contribution as
21president and CEO of the Chicago Zoological Society, and wish
22him well in all of his future endeavors; and be it further
23    RESOLVED, That a suitable copy of this resolution be



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1presented to Dr. Stuart Strahl as a symbol of our respect and