WORCESTER, MASS. – At its Annual Meeting of the Corporation on June 21, 2016, the EcoTarium elected and renewed Trustees and Corporators, highlighted 2015 successes, announced the public launch of a capital campaign created to move closer to its vision of becoming a national leader in engaging communities with science and nature, and revealed two exciting upcoming exhibits that will enhance visitor experiences and educational programming.
Raymond L. Quinlan, chair of the board of Trustees, welcomed attendees and described the institution’s successes in 2015, notably the long-planned grid connection project and the completion of the extensive railroad track repair project.
The grid connection allowed the EcoTarium to decommission the aged power plant and build an energy-efficient mechanical plant. The iconic narrow-gauge Explorer Express Train has provided fun and excitement for visitors for 40 years. In its two-year project, 1-1/2 miles of new rails was installed around the EcoTarium grounds, allowing for enjoyment for generations to come.
David P. McManus, representing the Finance Committee, explained to the attendees that contributions and gifts continue to be a cornerstone of EcoTarium’s support. Further, earned income, which includes admissions, programs, membership and museum shop sales, comprise a third of the organization’s income and exceeded 2014 revenues despite having been closed for three weeks due to winter storm damage. Direct expenses incurred in order to offer educational programs, provide interactive exhibits, care for and house our wildlife, maintain and beautify our extensive grounds, hold special events and provide a variety of guest services comprised 63% of EcoTarium’s expenses.
EcoTarium President Joseph P. Cox revealed the launch of the $9.1 million Third Century Campaign: Phase 2, and that during the quiet phase of the campaign, the EcoTarium has secured $7.2 million in support from private, foundation and corporate donations, and pledges. The campaign is part of the Third Century Plan, a larger strategic effort to reinvigorate the EcoTarium’s campus, visitor experience, and community impact as it approaches its 200th birthday in 2025. The two 2015 projects, grid connection and track repair, were a part of the campaign and completed due to the success of the quiet phase of the campaign.
According to Cox, “This campaign investment represents the museum’s largest capital investment in almost 20 years, with two new major exhibits planned that will create innovative learning environments both indoors and outdoors.”
The two new exhibits are:
- City Science is a first-of-its-kind exhibit where visitors will engage in a comprehensive investigation of urban science, from city animals and neighborhoods, to engineering infrastructure, to larger questions of how we design cities and how they impact our lives. This dramatic 2,500-square-foot exhibit is funded in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Anticipated opening date is December 2016.
- Wild Cat Station brings mountain lions and other native New England species to the EcoTarium in a spectacular outdoor exhibit. Located at the end of the Wildlife Path, it will transform a large parcel of land, including the former polar bear exhibit, into a strong anchor destination for guests on the EcoTarium campus. Anticipated opening 2018.
More information about the EcoTarium’s Third Century Campaign: Phase Two can be found online at ecotarium.org.
Annual Meeting guest speaker Dr. Paige Warren, associate professor, Department of Environmental Conservation, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, presented her research on the changing diversity of birds as cities become more urban. Dr. Warren was the lead investigator for the NSF’s Urban Long-term Research Area Exploratory (ULTRA-Ex) project and is a partner with the EcoTarium in the development of its City Science exhibit. Five interactive components in the exhibit are based on the ULTRA-Ex research.
During the Business Meeting portion of the EcoTarium’s Annual Meeting, the following new Trustees were elected to serve a three-year term: Paul Belsito, assistant vice president, Community Relations, Hanover Insurance Group; Robert Laut, retired banker, Naureen Meraj, former senior global director, Digital Engagement & Gamification at NTT Data Corp.; and William Sullivan, principal, Sullivan Group. Returning Trustees elected to serve a three-year term: Todd Brodeur, attorney and partner, Fletcher Tilton P.C.; William Cavanagh, former owner C.C. Lowell Art Supplies; Timothy Gray, financial advisor, UBS Financial Services; John Mannila, vice president, Commercial Lending Group, UniBank; David McManus, CPA and Co-President AAFCPA’s; and Raymond Quinlan, president, Rayne Development Corporation. Returning Trustee elected to serve a one-year: Susan M. Foley, owner, Foley Engines.
Photo Caption: EcoTarium’s new Trustees elected at the June 21, 2016 Annual Meeting include (l-r) Paul Belsito, Naureen Meraj and Robert Laut; not pictured is William Sullivan.
Charlene L. Leith-Bushey
Manager of Marketing and Communications