On June 11th, WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) honored three champions of the oceans at their Turning Tides Gala. WCS Trustee and philanthropist, Barbara Hrbek Zucker; New York real estate developer, Donald Zucker; and executive director of The Monterey Bay Aquarium, Julie E. Packard, were honored for their commitment to ocean conservation. Held at the WCS Central Park Zoo, this year’s gala highlighted WCS’s role in ensuring a healthy future for our oceans, their incredible marine biodiversity, and the human communities that depend on them.
The gala also focused on the transformation of the WCS New York Aquarium and its new exhibit – Ocean Wonders: Sharks! – which, when complete, will inspire nearly 1 million visitors each year to care for the oceans and will serve as a resource for local marine conservation and science education.
“This year’s honorees are unmatched champions for our oceans and all wildlife,” said Cristián Samper, WCS President and CEO. “We are delighted to honor Barbara Hrbek Zucker, Donald Zucker, and Julie E. Packard for their passion for marine conservation.
“Barbara and Donald’s support of the transformation of the New York Aquarium will bring a renewed focus on the waters around New York and across the globe. Barbara and Don are longtime friends of WCS’s zoos and aquarium and champions of field conservation. One thing is certain. There is no one more committed to the importance of conserving marine life and habitats in New York and around the world than Barbara and Don.
“Julie Packard is a world leader for marine conservation and her dedication to advancing ocean conservation is recognized globally. WCS is proud to call her a friend and partner. She inspires us all in our zoos and aquariums and in our field conservation programs.
“Through the stories and passion of our honorees, we hope to spark attention to the threats facing our world’s oceans and marine mammals, and to the beauty and benefits of our world’s waters. Our marine environment covers more than two-thirds of our planet. We must focus on turning the tides in its favor.”
Barbara Hrbek and Donald Zucker are prominent New York philanthropists. Their leadership gift to the Campaign for the New York Aquarium, and their challenge gift announced this evening, will help educate visitors about the importance of conserving marine wildlife and habitats. Their generosity will ensure the success of the new Ocean Wonders: Sharks! exhibit.
Julie E. Packard is the founding executive director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium and is dedicated to advancing ocean conservation. The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s commitment to marine conservation efforts through exhibitry, education, science, and technology has had a profound impact worldwide. Ms. Packard is also a trustee of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, which has been a significant supporter of WCS and its marine programs since 1995.
WCS conservationists work in nearly 60 nations and in all of the world’s oceans. The New York-based organization’s marine program is committed to ocean protection, sustainable fisheries, and marine species conservation across the waters of 23 countries and all five oceans. The longstanding marine expertise of WCS will infuse the new exhibits at the New York Aquarium, shape educational programs, determine strategies to protect New York’s threatened marine wildlife, and help to identify important coastal and open-ocean areas for protection.
WCS’s marine conservation efforts are underpinned by field-based science and outreach to educate and inspire an ocean constituency. Through our national and global initiatives, WCS inspires millions to take action for the oceans.
WCS is grateful to HP, JetBlue Airways, and Paul Gauguin Cruises for sponsoring this year’s gala.
Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)’s mission is to save wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. They envision a world where wildlife thrives in healthy lands and seas, valued by societies that embrace and benefit from the diversity and integrity of life on earth. To achieve their mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in nearly 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by four million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission.