“Are Zoo Kidding Me?”

Louisville Zoo partners with local public radio station 91.9 WFPK for monthly conservation segment

On the first Thursday of every month Louisville residents can learn about important global and local conservation efforts just by turning on their radio.

In an effort to educate the community about issues impacting the world, the Louisville Zoo has partnered with local public radio station 91.9 WFPK for the new “Are Zoo Kidding Me?” monthly segment which airs at 11 a.m. the first Thursday of each month.

“Education and conservation are two key components of the Zoo’s mission ‘to better the bond between people and our planet,’” Louisville Zoo Director John Walczak said. “The Louisville Zoo is involved in critical conservation programs—efforts both large and small, here at the Zoo and around the world—to improve the health of our planet Earth.”

WFPK Program Director Stacy L. Owen said she thought the Zoo feature segment would be a great idea and wonderful addition to the WFPK lineup.

“WFPK actively seeks ways to form partnerships in the community so we can reflect the flavor of the city we’re in,” Owen said. “Also, WFPK along with our sister stations WFPL and WUOL have begun a company wide environmental initiative. We’ve recently hired an environmental reporter who’ll be covering the entire Ohio River valley and are working toward becoming a much ‘greener’ facility!”

The five-minute segment features WFPK radio host Duke Meyer and Louisville Zoo’s Curator of Education Marcelle Gianelloni chatting about animals, conservation and environmental efforts and what’s going on at the Zoo.

The first segment aired in November and highlighted Cuban Crocodiles, the most highly endangered crocodilian in the world.

The Louisville Zoo is highly involved in saving Cuban Crocodiles with the Zoo’s Curator of Ectotherms Bill McMahan leading the charge around the world for saving the species as the national Species Survival Plan (SSP) Coordinator for Cuban crocodiles. Gianelloni serves as the education liaison for the Cuban Crocodile SSP and Louisville Zoo Veterinarians Dr. Roy Burns and Dr. Zoli Gyimesi both act as veterinary advisors for the Cuban Crocodile SSP and offer their expertise on the care and health issues facing the species.

The Louisville Zoo has also created an extensive web component at www.louisvillezoo.org/conservation/wfpk to compliment each “Are Zoo Kidding Me?” radio segment. The site contains video, a fact sheet, glossary of terms, frequently asked questions, photos, links to additional information and a question submittal form.

“We’ve really tried to think this through with the web component,” said Kara Bussabarger, Louisville Zoo Media Relations Manager. “As leaders in conservation education we want to provide as many avenues as we can for people to learn about the issues facing our planet and how they can help.”

The next “Are Zoo Kidding Me?” segment will air Thursday, Dec. 6 at 11 a.m. and will highlight polar bears. Other upcoming topics include the amphibian crisis, African elephants and Black-footed ferrets.

“The Zoo has always been a strong supporter of conservation,” Walczak said. “And there has never been a more critical global need than there is today to make a difference in the world.”

Zoo admission fees, along with other Zoo purchases, help preserve and care for threatened and endangered species as well as support critical conservation education programs. In addition, 15 cents of every Zoo admission supports the Zoo’s partnership in conservation projects worldwide. Programs the Zoo contributes to include Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, Polar Bear International, Black-footed Ferret Recovery Program, the International Elephant Foundation, American Chestnut Tree Conservation, Cuban Crocodile Project, Butterfly Initiative, Kentucky’s Blanton Forest and more.

BIOGRAPHIES

Marcelle Gianelloni
Marcelle Gianelloni became the Louisville Zoo Curator of Education in 1984 after having taught in the classroom for 13 years.

She is responsible for directing, coordinating and implementing the educational activities at the Louisville Zoo, including the MetaZoo Education Center and the Louisville Nature Center. She created “School at the Zoo,” a weeklong program that takes students out of traditional classrooms and brings them into the Zoo’s living classroom.

She has served on the American Zoo and Aquarium Association’s (AZA) Conservation Education Board since 1991 and has been working on protecting the endangered Cuban Crocodile since 1997 by working with biologists and educators in Cuba.

Duke Meyer
Duke was born and raised in Shively, Ky., and graduated from Western High School. He wanted to pursue a career as a well-paid, multi-talented baseball player. The desire was there, but a massive lack of talent put a halt to that ambition. After a few years in the Army reserve, in Armed Forces Radio and Television, he decided to make radio his career. While working in radio here in Louisville, Duke returned to school and graduated from Spalding University with a B.S. degree in Mass Communication and spent a short time teaching at the University of Louisville and Spalding University.

After leaving commercial radio he was contacted by The Public Radio Partnership and you can now hear him Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon on 91.9 WFPK.

ABOUT WFPK

91.9 WFPK is a non-profit public radio station. For more information, visit www.wfpk.org or contact WFPK Program Director Stacy L. Owen at (502) 814-6500.

ABOUT THE LOUISVILLE ZOO

The Louisville Zoo, a non-profit organization and state zoo of Kentucky, is dedicated to bettering the bond between people and our planet by providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for visitors, and leadership in scientific research and conservation education. The Zoo is accredited by the American Association of Museums (AAM) and by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).