The Seneca Park Zoo Society recently announced that Mark and Maureen Davitt committed $2.5 million to the zoo’s A Wilder Vision capital campaign.
The Davitts were recognized for their gift in the naming of the new Animals of the Savanna building, part of the recent 5-acre expansion.
“Maureen and I have worked in the Rochester community since 1982, and we have raised our family in this community,” said Mark Davitt, CEO of ConServe. “Part of our personal passion is to help enrich this community for the benefit of all who live and visit here. We consider it a privilege to be able to help create a spectacular experience for all members of our community to see some of the most wondrous creatures in the world, right here in our own backyard.”
In addition to indoor habitats for Masai giraffes, plains zebra, ostriches and the zoo’s white rhino, the Animals of the Savanna building is home to other smaller species native to the African savanna, like naked mole rats.
“We are hopeful the connections and memories between children and parents viewing the inspiring power, elegant grace and subtle behaviors of these amazing animals amplifies the realization that Greater Rochester is one of the best places to live, work and raise our families,” Mark Davitt said.
The zoo’s transformation started in 2017 and is anticipated to cost $60 million. Monroe County committed $37.75 million through its capital improvement program budget. The Zoo Society will raise the remaining $23 million to ensure the complete transition of the zoo. In addition to the Animals of the Savanna expansion, the master plan improvements include a new restaurant, tropics complex and guest services facilities.
“The importance of this gift to the A Wilder Vision campaign cannot be understated, as it represents 10 percent of our total campaign goal,” said Pamela Reed Sanchez, president and CEO of the Zoo Society. “This investment helps ensure that the transformation of the zoo continues past this year’s Animals of the Savanna opening, through the construction of a new restaurant and the complete rebuilding of the front third of the zoo.”
Stephen Brown, capital campaign chairman, said the Davitts’ gift confirms that the community shares in the zoo’s mission to connect guests with wildlife and wild places.
“The support for the expansion that takes Seneca Park Zoo to a national leader in conservation and education has been strong,” Brown said. “This transformational gift from the Davitt family, however, is validation that the families in our community share in this vision. We hope that it inspires others to join in our mission.”
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