Wednesday, April 9, 2008

We're off to see the Wizard!

Good news! CPOP and the Memphis Zoo will meet for the first time on Monday, April 14. Stacey, Amy and I are working on a list of questions for the people behind the green curtain.

We'd like to hear from y'all -- what would you ask the Zoo?

Update: It looks like we have to wait awhile longer. We just got word that our April 14 meeting has been postponed until May 2. But we still want your input, so please keep the comments coming!

6 comments:

Mr. Ent said...

I'd ask, "How can you sleep at night with the knowledge that you have become your own worst enemy?"

Stacy Pennington said...

I support the Citizens to Preserve Overton Park. However, as much as the clearcutting bothers me (and it bothers me a lot), I'm more concerned about a zoo more determined to mimic the failures of suburban developments rather than enhance the exhibits they currently have.

Rather than actively court donations from those many Memphians willing to preserve, enhance, and expand the existing exhibits at the Zoo, those in charge of the Zoo seem determined to go after (easier) larger single (and corporate) donations from those that would like to extend the footprint of the Zoo, even into a virgin forest.

The fact of how oblivious the Zoo management is to hypocrisy of their actions when compared to the nearby words of Chief Seattle in the Northwest Passage is icing on the cake.

As much as this is an environmental issue, in the near-term at least, this is an issue about the competency of those that run our Memphis Zoo.

A good zoo is not a big zoo. A good zoo is one that seeks the best care of its animals and has quality educational programs and well-kept exhibits.

Like the example of suburbia, the Memphis Zoo cannot grow out of its problems. The tougher choice of better management is required, and it far from clear that the current Zoo leadership is up for the job.

Anonymous said...

I love what Stacy Pennington commented. I might say the same thing! To the zoo: One of the main turn offs for me as a visitor is the poor living quarters of some of the animals. This is part of why the new exhibits rub ME so wrong- I would be so much happier with seeing improvements in the exhibits that already exist instead of shiny new ones that, although may be high quality, are put up while, say, the giraffes continue to get callouses on their knees because the only ground they have to rest on is paved. I can hardly look at the zebras and giraffes on account of feeling so sorry for them! Oh it bothers me so much to know that the zoo will spend monies on new exhibits while some of the already existing ones need so much help! Or could be WAY cooler if they were improved (like cat country). And I would say stop encroaching on Overton Park! That's what I'd say.
Thanks ya'll,
Shawna

Anonymous said...

WOW.. What is the zoo doing? Are they doing it with the "full knowledge" of the neighborhood, and of the larger Memphis community? Were there appropriate public meetings that were properly advertised? Or is the zoo trying to "pull a fast one"?

We certainly do not need a "corporate zoo", and I very much want to see our zoo and our Overton Park controlled by the public interest, rather than corporate interests..

Most importantly, the Zoo Master Plan must be balanced against a timely Overton Park Master Plan (I understand that the last OP plan was 1988- is that correct?) which properly considers the role of each element (current and future)- the Zoo, the Forest, the golf course, the open space, the College of Art and Brooks. It is definitely not necessary for all space to be intensely used.

I think the zoo's actions should be stopped now until we go through a proper public process, including an OP Master Plan, etc, etc.

Dennis L

Taylor Perry (Evergreen) said...

Not much more can be said that hasn't already. I agree with all of the comments above. I would much prefer to see the zoo better utilize the space within the current footprint than take out any of the forest. It is sad how many of the exhibits are seemingly completely ignored. I would gladly volunteer my time to the zoo, as would many other Memphians, in an effort to make exisiting exhibits more inhabitable for the animals and more appealing to zoo visitors. I feel as if there needs to be more dialouge between the zoo and the citizens it serves.

Naomi Van Tol said...

mr. ent - Do you mind if we save that question until the end of the meeting?

Stacy Pennington - Excellent insights, thanks. The comparison to suburbia is scarily apt.

Shawna - See, this is why we need to move the giraffes to the Greensward! ;)

Dennis L. - Yes, the Overton Park Master Plan is dated 1988. The most recent Memphis Zoo Master Plan (see our sidebar) is dated 2001.

Taylor Perry - Thanks!

Since our meeting with the Zoo has been postponed until May 2, please keep the comments coming if you think of additional issues that need to be raised.

Be sure to tell your friends and neighbors about our website if you know anyone else who would like to help the Zoo mend its ways.

We really appreciate your ideas and involvement!