News Release

September 18, 2014


Chicago Zoological Society Announces Recipients of 2014 Conservation Leadership Awards

Longtime Conservation Leaders Honored for Commitment to Animal Welfare

Brookfield, Ill. – At its 2014 Conservation Leadership Awards Dinner, the Chicago Zoological Society (CZS) will honor three recipients for their dedicated commitment to conservation and animal welfare. The award winners are Dr. Iain Douglas-Hamilton, Ph.D., a renowned trailblazer in elephant conservation; River Forest residents Jerry and Sandy Manne, champions of CZS leadership and the driving force behind the creation of the Society’s Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) Endangered Species Fund; and Nicor, a steward of energy conservation and a supporter of Chicagoland wildlife preservation. The evening celebration will benefit CZS conservation and education initiatives and will be held on Wednesday, October 1, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago.

“The 2014 award winners are all longtime leaders of conservation who have achieved so much in the name of animal welfare and environment preservation. We are proud to honor them,” said Stuart D. Strahl, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Society. “Their tireless dedication to animals and their habitats is an inspiration to anyone interested in making our world a better place.”

The George B. Rabb Conservation Medal will be presented to Dr. Iain Douglas-Hamilton for his authoritative work to benefit African elephants. He is the CEO of Save the Elephants, an organization that he founded in 1993 to protect elephants and stop the ivory trade. Dr. Douglas-Hamilton pioneered the first in-depth scientific study of elephant social behavior in Tanzania's Lake Manyara National Park. He has also played an integral role in investigating the status of elephants throughout Africa and was the first to alert the world to the issue of ivory poaching, which helped bring about the world ivory trade ban. Dr. Douglas-Hamilton spoke before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on elephants and ivory poaching, and in 2013, his meeting at the White House was followed by the Obama Executive Order, as well as the Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action, to “Stop the Killing, Stop the Trafficking, and Stop the Demand” for ivory.

The Corwith Hamill Lifetime Achievement Conservation Award will be presented to Jerry and Sandy Manne for their longtime leadership roles at CZS and for playing an instrumental role in creating the Chicago Zoological Society CBOT Endangered Species Fund. Jerry was the inspiration behind the fund, which he established with five colleagues in 1989. The CBOT Endangered Species Fund, administered by CZS, makes strategic grants to worldwide conservation projects that conduct critical research on endangered species and innovative conservation methods. Jerry joined the CZS Board of Trustees in 1979 and currently serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the Board and chairs the Guest Services & Marketing Committee. He also serves on the Conservation & Education, Development, and Finance & Investment Committees. Sandy has been an active member of the Women’s Board since its 1992 founding and a Governing Member Ambassador since 1995. She also sits on the Conservation & Education Committee of the Board of Trustees. In 1987, she was given the title of associate in research at the Chicago Zoological Society and focused her studies on the behavioral biology of primates and hoofed animals, especially siamangs, rhinos, giraffes, and okapi.

Beth Reese, president of Nicor, will accept the Edith Rockefeller McCormick Corporate Conservation Award on behalf of the company for its commitment to energy conservation and wildlife preservation in Illinois. To help businesses save energy, Nicor Gas provides financial and technical assistance, tools, and information to help reduce operating costs and preserve the environment for future generations. It also works with industry participants to promote the use of cost-effective technologies and practices to reduce methane emissions and to help combat climate change. Nicor Gas is a member of the Chicago Wilderness Corporate Council, a group of local businesses that have made a commitment to preserve the Chicago region's natural heritage and improve the quality of life for local residents. Nicor Gas supports Chicago Wilderness initiatives like the “Green Infrastructure Vision,” which maps existing natural areas so that opportunities for protecting and restoring the environment are better identified. The company is a generous supporter of CZS and has sponsored and supported a variety of the zoo’s transportation needs, exhibits, and events.

Tickets are $500 per person and tables of 10 or 20 are also available. For more information about the Chicago Zoological Society’s Conservation Leadership Awards Dinner and to make reservations, call 312-553-2000.

The Chicago Zoological Society inspires conservation leadership by connecting people with wildlife and nature. The 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 Brookfield Zoo's innovative, naturalistic, multispecies exhibits and for its international role in animal population management and wildlife conservation. For further information, visit

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Sondra Katzen
Public Relations
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