SUPPORT LOCAL SPECIES AT COSLEY ZOO RUN FOR THE ANIMALS 5K/10K
Cosley Zoo (1356 N. Gary Ave. in Wheaton) is animal after magnificent animal, and the annual Cosley Zoo Run for the Animals 5K/10K and half-mile Zippity Zoo Run on Saturday, June 4, 7:30-9:30A are mile after magnificent mile.
Marking its 35th year, the run is one of the zoo’s biggest regular fundraisers, supporting the development and renovation of its exhibits and the superb stewardship of its 150-plus animals representing more than 60 native Illinois species.
For the first time, the Chicago Area Runners Association named the event a 2016 Runners’ Choice Circuit Race, which includes such other storied events as the Bank of America Chicago Marathon and the Fleet Feet Sports Soldier Field 10 Mile.
This recognition reflects the race’s local heritage.
“The Run for the Animals is the granddaddy of the Wheaton Park District’s four races, beginning 35 years ago before there were many for people to choose from,” said Sue Wahlgren, director of Cosley Zoo. “The run has also established itself as one that is very well organized with wonderful volunteers, providing runners with a great experience year after year.”
It’s the run’s special purpose that boosts it above others, though.
“Last but not least is the reason people run: the animals at Cosley Zoo,” she said. “I believe knowing the money comes back to a great facility that serves so many people and provides excellence in animal care is a great motivator.”
Indeed, Cosley Zoo was accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) last September for the fourth consecutive time, continuing a tradition started in 2000 with its first accreditation. Nationwide, fewer than 10% of USDA-licensed animal exhibitors earn it.
Because of this, it’s long been recognized as the national gold standard for animal care and welfare. The rigorous accreditation process involves a meticulous onsite inspection by trained zoo professionals and an interview of top officials at a formal hearing of AZA’s Accreditation Commission. This process must be repeated every five years to regain accreditation.
“There really is no such thing as re-accreditation,” said Wahlgren. “It is like starting over each time. You don’t get any ‘passes’ because you were accredited previously.”
The Cosley Foundation, Inc.—whom the run’s proceeds benefit—helps the zoo achieve accreditation by developing its facilities and services, Wahlgren said.
“The foundation has been responsible for every capital project at the zoo since 1987 when we constructed the Vern Kiebler Learning Center. As one of the foundation’s biggest annual fundraisers, the Run for the Animals is critical to the success of the zoo,” she said.
Those capital projects include the bobcat exhibit that opened in 2012 at the zoo’s north end, the adjacent rabbit and chicken exhibits, and the clinic that allows the zoo to provide topnotch care for its animals onsite.
Each year, the Run for the Animals attracts over 2,500 runners, joggers, walkers, and zoo supporters, many of whom have participated and visited the zoo for decades.
“Many in this area have grown up coming to the zoo and are now bringing their own children,” said Natasha Fischer, Education Manager. “We have a wonderfully loyal base of supporters who help the zoo in many ways throughout the year, including buying their Christmas trees and pumpkins here as well as participating in the Run for the Animals.”
Both race routes start at the corner of Seminary Avenue and Main Street at 7:30A and wind through residential Wheaton. The 10K route makes a loop through Northside Park.
It’s not only adult athletes getting their weekend workout and supporting the zoo. Kids can dash through the half-mile Zippity Zoo Run, which kicks off at the corner of Seminary Avenue and Main Street, turns east on Franklin Street, heads south on Scott Street, and finishes westward at its starting line. The Zippity Zoo Run begins at 8:45A.
Overall winners and age division awards will be given for the 5K and 10K. All Zippity Zoo participants will receive an award at the finish line.
Registration is available at cosleyzoo.org/events.
The Cosley Zoo Run for the Animals 5K/10K is supported by Northwestern Medicine, Wheaton Bank & Trust Co., First Trust Portfolios L.P., Gerald Subaru, Bear Paddle Swim School, Borter Heating & Air Conditioning, Chick-fil-A Wheaton, David J. Allen Wheaton Orthodontic Center, Dick Pond Athletics, Nike, Smart Sinus + Allergy, and Ultra Foods.
For remaining sponsorship opportunities, contact Carey Moreland, Marketing & Development Assistant, at 630.510.4961 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more, visit cosleyzoo.org/events.