Zoos Prevent Extinction

(And do other good work.)

This is an excerpt from an email from the American Zoo and Aquarium Association to its members. The AZA isn’t the only zoo accrediting body in North America, but it is the largest and arguably the most rigorous, requiring its members to participate in research, conservation, education, and sustainability efforts. Here’s a list of some of the 2016 accomplishments of the members:

Field Conservation:·         

AZA-accredited and certified related facilities spent approximately $216 million dollars last year on field conservation projects, breaking the $200 million dollar mark for the first time (217 facilities reporting).·         

Projects benefitted species in more than 127 countries, and projects most frequently occurred in the United States, Kenya, Indonesia, China, and Canada.·         

823 species and subspecies benefitted from conservation action, including 231 species listed as endangered or threated under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.  

Education Programming:·        

 AZA-accredited facilities engaged in more than 90 million audience-driven education opportunities, including visitor-initiated interactions like nature play spaces, interpreters at exhibits, discovery carts, and more (146 facilities reported). ·         

Over 21,500 education volunteers contributed 2 million hours of service at AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums.  

Green Practices:·         

52 facilities generated renewable energy on-site or purchased it for their business operations (128 facilities reported).   ·         

Twenty facilities reported having certified wildlife habitat on-site, 16 facilities reported buildings that are LEED-certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, and 10 were certified as “Dine Green” through the Green Restaurant Association.   


Approximately $26.8 million was spent on 1,249 research projects conducted in 55 countries around the world (180 facilities reporting). ·         

AZA members published 237 peer-reviewed papers, technical reports, book chapters, or graduate thesis.·         

Research most often focused on animal care, health, and welfare; and species and habitat conservation. (122 facilities reporting) With each year, more information is collected that demonstrates how the AZA community of accredited zoos and aquariums and certified related facilities provide unique venues for informal learning, set examples in sustainable business practices, make important contributions to science, and work toward securing the future for wildlife. 

Philadelphia: the inside track

Not just the birthplace of the nation, Philadelphia has a dynamic food culture, a booming arts scene and cool to spare. Philly native Nell McShane Wulfhart shares her insider guide.

Home-grown style and sips

Photo by stokpic on Pixabay

Shopping in Philly runs the gamut from classic (at Macy’s in the historic Wanamaker building) to cutting-edge, with local fashionistas producing one-of-a-kind lewks. Bonus: clothes and shoes aren’t taxed! Check out Fishtown for boutiques like Toile, which sells clothes by up-and-coming Philly designers. And it’s not just about fashion – the neighbourhood is home to remarkable local distilleries. Skip the duty free; instead pick up award-winning Bluecoat Gin at Philadelphia Distilling and micro-batch herbal liqueurs at Rowhouse Spirits.

Garden city

Fairmount Park, a sprawling series of woods and hiking trails, is one of the largest urban parks in the nation, and makes a fabulous afternoon nature excursion for the whole family. There are gorgeous smaller green spaces too. Rittenhouse Square (known in summer as ‘Rittenhouse Beach’, thanks to the hordes who sun themselves on the grass) is right in the centre of town and hosts farmers’ markets and art fairs. Tiny ‘parklets’, stocked with just a few chairs and tables, are hidden all over town.

Foodie paradise

Photo by PublicCo on Pixabay

Philly’s food scene is booming, with over 2500 restaurants to choose from and the likes of high-profile chefs such as Jose Garces building restaurant empires here. Head to his Amada restaurant for exquisite Andalusian tapas paired with adventurous Spanish wines, or try sophisticated modern Israeli food by Michael Solomonov at Zahav. Also look out for the city’s dozens of tiny BYOBs with sophisticated menus and affordable prices – book a table at Will, where chef Christopher Kearse sends out French-inspired seasonal plates including scallops with garlic flower buds and monkfish tail in a lobster bouillon.

Go hard or go home

Photo by jneiheiser on Pixabay

Philly fans are infamously passionate, and the city’s nine professional sports teams keep emotions keyed up year-round. Tailgating in the parking lot of Citizens Bank Park or Lincoln Financial Field (the two South Philly stadiums) with portable barbecues and coolers crammed with beers before a big game is an unmissable part of the local sports experience, though cheering on the Eagles (American football) or the Phillies (baseball) with hyper-enthusiastic crowds isn’t bad either.

Rock(y) on

Rocky is the quintessential Philly movie, but Trading Places, The Sixth Sense and many others were filmed here – not to mention National Treasure, which sees Nicholas Cage running around from City Hall to Reading Terminal Market. Check out the spots that made it onscreen with Philadelphia Movie Sites Tour, or stick with the hometown hero on a self-guided Rocky journey. The imposing and historic Eastern State Penitentiary offers tours, too – it was the asylum featured in Brad Pitt hit Twelve Monkeys.

Cultural fix

Photo by skeeze on Pixabay

An extraordinary 3600 murals and counting (including tributes to city history and beloved local groups like The Roots) have turned the city into an enormous, bright open-air gallery. More traditional work can be found in the two world-renowned museums on the Parkway: the Barnes Foundation and the Philadelphia Museum of Art (snap a photo with the Rocky statue while you’re there), which give New York and Washington DC, just one and two hours by train, respectively, a run for their money. History buffs must make time to visit one of the city’s newest attractions, the Museum of the American Revolution which brings the past to life with immersive galleries, astonishing historical works of art and Revolutionary-era weapons.

Dream on

Bed down at the fresh-from-a-redesign Logan hotel, which has its own art collection and is just a 15-minute ride from the airport, with direct flights from London Heathrow with British Airways. The LEED-certified Courtyard Philadelphia South at the Navy Yard has a cool futuristic vibe; plus, it’s walking distance to the stadiums. And, there’s old-school glamour in abundance at the chic Warwick which is surrounded by the city’s most luxurious shops.

Book your trip to Philadelphia

Words by Nell McShane Wulfhart

Header Photo by 12019 on Pixabay


Model Monday: Zuellig Building

Glass is the primary expressive material used on the Zuellig Building in Manila’s Makati Central Business District. In model form, the distinctive facade of the office tower speaks to its environmentally conscious design: a double-paned low-emissivity curtain wall with a ceramic frit pattern minimizes solar heat gain and energy loss while allowing 90 percent of interior spaces to have access to natural light and views. Certified LEED Platinum, Zuellig was the first office building in the district to be pre-certified at the LEED Gold level by the U.S. Green Building Council.


Certified LEED Platinum Barn House

Architects- Turnbull Griffin Haesloop 
Location- Petaluma, California
Images- David Wakely
Source- design*milk

Certified LEED Platinum, the house features all kinds of energy saving features that exceed Title 24 by over 95% – passive heating and cooling with thermal mass and insulation, Geothermal, and radiant cooling and heating with solar and photovoltaic panels.

*for design inspiration, follow @designismymuse