News Release

March 12, 2013


Contact: Sondra Katzen
Public Relations

Chicago Zoological Society to Sponsor Poetry Contest to Honor
Late Latino Activist Cesar E. Chavez


            Brookfield, Ill.—The Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo, is inviting all Chicagoland area students in grades 6 through 12 to participate in a poetry contest reflecting the spirit of Cesar Chavez and his commitment to improving the standard of living, wages, and working conditions of farm workers through nonviolent social action.

Students are encouraged to write poetry about how his/her own positive actions and the actions of others, such as in community service, and their connection with wildlife and nature, could keep this legacy of commitment alive in their schools, communities, and/or the world. The entries may be in either English or Spanish or a combination of both languages.

“The Chicago Zoological Society is committed to inspiring conservation ethic in all people so they may care more deeply about wildlife and nature. This contest is just one of many ways of reaching out to youth from diverse communities,” said Stuart Strahl, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Chicago Zoological Society.

Only original, unpublished works written solely by the entrant will be accepted. All poems must be 30 lines or fewer, a maximum of 450 words, and neatly handwritten or typed. Entries must be signed by a parent or guardian and will be accepted by First Class mail, or a PDF version of the entry form may be submitted electronically. For further information, including the official contest rules and to download the entry form, go to or call (708) 688-8000. Mail entries to Brookfield Zoo, 3300 Golf Road, Brookfield, IL 60513 or email to All entries must be received by the Society on or before Friday, April 5, 2013, at 5:00 p.m. CST to be considered.

Winning entries, along with other select entries, will be on display in Brookfield Zoo’s Discovery Center from April 21-29. Winners will receive four general zoo admission passes, one parking pass, and four reserved lawn seats for one of the Viva la Fiesta concerts in June 2013 (date to be chosen by Chicago Zoological Society).

A celebration will take place on Sunday, April 28, at Brookfield Zoo’s Nature Stage. Guests can join students from Youth Crossroads, as well as other volunteers, for three short poetic/dramatic performances, at the beginning of each hour, 2:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m., and 4:00 p.m. After each performance, there will be a parade to Discovery Center for a viewing of the poetry contest entries and winners.

The Society also commemorates the late Latino activist Cesar Chavez by encouraging students to participate in community service such as planting a garden, cleaning up a park, or volunteering in a community organization of their choice.

Additionally, everyone is invited to visit the State of Illinois’ website at to learn about the Cesar Chavez Learn and Serve Program. “During the week of March 31 (Chavez's birthday), schools, agencies and community organizations may participate in this innovative program to encourage community service by our young people while serving as an educational tool for history, social studies, environmental, and art

classes. Students across Illinois will learn the importance of community service by addressing hunger issues, volunteering at nursing homes, cleaning up parks and planting gardens.

The mission of the Chicago Zoological Society is to inspire conservation leadership by connecting people with wildlife and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society is a private nonprofit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County. Open every day of the year, the zoo is located off First Avenue between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and is also accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, CTA, and PACE bus service.



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