News Release
Contact: Sondra Katzen, Public Relations, 708.688.8351,
January 8, 2021                                       
Chicago Zoological Society Offers Virtual Lecture Series

Brookfield, Ill. — This winter, the Chicago Zoological Society is offering a virtual lecture series featuring an array of fascinating topics about Brookfield Zoo’s history, incredible animals, and innovative conservation programs. The best part is, those interested in attending, can do it from the comfort of their own homes. Following each presentation, there will be time for a question and answer session. Lectures, which begin at 7:00 p.m. CT, are free, although a $10 donation is appreciated. Online reservations are required and can be made at

On Thursday, January 14, join Andrea Friederici Ross, author of the recently published book Edith: The Rogue Rockefeller McCormick, as she recounts the tumultuous life of the woman who donated the land that made Brookfield Zoo possible. Local character actress Ellie Carlson, will join the presentation by portraying Edith Rockefeller McCormick, who was described as a fiercely intellectual, unapologetically opinionated, and often cantankerous woman.
Join Randy Wells, Ph.D., director of the Chicago Zoological Society's Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, on Tuesday, January 26, as he discusses the world’s longest-running study of a wild dolphin population. Wells, one of the program’s founders, will share major findings from the past 50 years, including the biology, behavior, ecology, social structure, life history, health of, and human impacts on Sarasota Bay’s year-round community of resident dolphins.

Learn about the many facets of the Animal Programs Department at Brookfield Zoo, including nutrition, veterinary services, animal welfare, and husbandry on Wednesday, February 10. Bill Zeigler, senior vice president of animal programs for the Chicago Zoological Society, will present “The Zoo Beyond the Exhibits: Maintaining a Leadership Role” during which he will discuss how Brookfield Zoo’s 2,600 animals are cared for. From enrichment and preventative health to local and international conservation efforts, get an in-depth look at what goes on behind the scenes.

“The Reign of Wolf 21” with Rick McIntyre will take place on Thursday, February 25. McIntyre, acclaimed author of the Alpha Wolves of Yellowstone Book Series, has recorded more sightings of wild wolves than any other person in history. Having spent years in the field observing wolves in Yellowstone National Park, McIntyre is considered one of the world's foremost experts on wild wolf behavior. He’ll speak about the true story of a wolf pup, called 21, whose father was shot and killed the day he was born. Wolf 21 and his seven siblings were raised by a single mother before a young adult male joined the pack and helped her care for the pups. Later Wolf 21 left the pack and joined a neighboring one as its new alpha male. He had an especially close relationship with female Wolf 42 that lasted for many years. When she died he was never the same and did something especially poignant at the end of his long life.

Designated Illinois’ state insect in 1975, the monarch butterfly is recognized for its beautiful orange and black markings and phenomenal migration. However, its numbers are declining due to climate change, pesticide use, and habitat loss. Find out what Illinois is doing and how the public can help the monarch during an informative discussion, “The Illinois Monarch Project: Helping Pollinators, Empowering People,” on Tuesday, March 9. Join two leaders of the Illinois Monarch Project—Andre Copeland, interpretive programs manager for the Chicago Zoological Society, and Iris Caldwell, program manager for the Energy Resources Center at the University of Illinois Chicago, as they share the state-wide action plan to add 150 million milkweed stems to the Illinois landscape by 2038. The success of this effort depends upon the contributions of individuals and organizations all across Illinois—from farmers in central Illinois, to balcony gardeners in downtown Chicago.

The final virtual lecture, “Connecting One Landscape for Wildlife and People,” takes place on Wednesday, March 24. Ryan Lutey, executive director for Vital Ground Foundation, and Mitch Doherty, conservation program manager for Vital Ground Foundation, will give an overview on the organization’s efforts to protect and restore North America’s grizzly bear populations for future generations by conserving wildlife habitat and encouraging ways to reduce conflicts between bears and humans. Based in Montana, since its founding in 1990, Vital Ground Foundation has helped conserve and enhance approximately 620,000 acres of habitat.

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About the Chicago Zoological Society
The mission of the Chicago Zoological Society is to inspire conservation leadership by engaging people and communities with wildlife and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society is a private nonprofit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserves of Cook County. The Society is known throughout the world for its international role in animal population management and wildlife conservation. Its Center for the Science of Animal Care and Welfare is at the forefront of animal care that strives to discover and implement innovative approaches to zoo animal management. Brookfield Zoo is the first zoo in the world to be awarded the Humane Certified™ certification mark for the care and welfare of its animals, meeting American Humane Association’s rigorous certification standards. The zoo is located at 8400 31st Street in Brookfield, Illinois, between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and also is accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, CTA and PACE bus service. For further information, visit


Sondra Katzen
Media Relations Manager
Office: 708-688-8351
Cell Phone: 708-903-2071


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