November 20, 2014

Saint Louis Zoo 314/781-0900
Susan Gallagher, 314/646-4633 Christy Childs, 314/646-4633
Joanna Bender, 314/646-4703


Julie and Bill Gerlach, Prairie Farms Dairy,
Gertrude and William A. Bernoudy Foundation Also Honored

The 2014 Saint Louis Zoo Conservation Award went to Patricia Parker, Ph.D. Chair of the Department of Biology, University of Missouri-St. Louis, Dr. Parker was named the first endowed Des Lee Professor in Zoological Studies at UMSL.

She is also a Senior Scientist at the Zoo and Director of the Zoo's WildCare Institute Center for Avian Health in the Galápagos Islands.

Established more than a decade ago, this center is the first-ever avian health program in the Galápagos Islands to protect avian species. Under Dr. Parker's leadership, center staff has successfully developed training courses for Ecuadorian personnel, held veterinary workshops, conducted major biomedical surveys and documented the increasing threat to endemic bird health from diseases associated with the growing poultry industry in the islands. Dr. Parker and her team have discovered new disease agents previously undescribed.

Over the past decade, Dr. Parker and her research team have written more than 85 scientific papers. Over 30 University of Missouri-St. Louis graduate degrees have been awarded to students who have conducted research on the islands under Dr. Parker, a mentor to some of the field's best and brightest graduate students from across the globe.

The Zoo also presented three Saint Louis Zoo Awards to outstanding community leaders at its 23rd annual Marlin Perkins Society Celebration on Nov. 12, 2014.

Individual Award

The Saint Louis Zoo Individual Award went to Julie and Bill Gerlach, longtime Zoo volunteers and supporters. In 1984, Julie Gerlach became a Zoo volunteer; her husband, Bill, began volunteering the following year. Since 1984, Julie Gerlach has donated approximately 29,000 hours, receiving the Highest Hour Award annually; Bill Gerlach has volunteered more than 14,000 hours.

The couple's combined contribution equates to 20 years of 40-hour work weeks with no vacation, sick time or even federal holidays.

In addition, the Gerlachs have been Marlin Perkins Society members for 16 years and are Heritage Society members.

Corporate Award

Prairie Farms Dairy received the Saint Louis Zoo Corporate Award. Prairie Farms Dairy/North Star Frozen Treats first signed on as a Zoo sponsor in 2002 and has since become one of the Zoo's strongest corporate partners. In 2004, the company's North Star brand became the title sponsor of North Star Summer Zoo Weekends, helping the Zoo promote its extended hours. Since then, Prairie Farms Dairy has served as a major sponsor for Zoo events including Winter Zoo, Make Tracks for the Zoo, Boo at the Zoo and Wild Lights. Since 2002, through annual sponsorships and their Marlin Perkins Society corporate membership, Prairie Farms has contributed more than $475,000 to the Zoo.

Foundation Award

The Gertrude and William A. Bernoudy Foundation received the Saint Louis Zoo Foundation Award. The Saint Louis Zoo has a strong and historic connection with the Bernoudys through William A. Bernoudy's 1966 architectural design of the Zoo's Serpentine Wall and Kiener Memorial Entrance, both prominent features.

Mr. Bernoudy was a noted 20th century architect who was among the first Taliesin Fellows under Frank Lloyd Wright. His wife, Gertrude, was a friend of the late Marlin Perkins, former Zoo director, and his wife Carol. Gertrude Bernoudy had a deep love for animals and was a noted arts advocate.

Established in the late 1990's, the Bernoudy Foundation supports a wide variety of non-profit interests, seeking to provide assistance for arts and culture, historical organizations, civic development, children and youth services as well as in the areas of health and education.

The Gertrude and William A. Bernoudy Foundation has provided generous support of the Zoo, including a 2001 gift of $100,000 and in 2008 a $50,000 commitment to help underwrite the Zoo's Centennial book, Animals Always: 100 Years at the Saint Louis Zoo. Most recently, the foundation presented the Saint Louis Zoo with a $1 million leadership gift to endow the position of the William Bernoudy Vice President, Architecture & Planning, which supports the professional who oversees the design and construction of buildings and animal habitats at the Zoo. That position is currently held by David F. McGuire, AIA.

In 1991, the Marlin Perkins Society was formed to honor one of the Zoo's great directors. The Society, which was formed with only 48 members, provides a way to recognize those individuals, corporations and foundations that generously support the Zoo. In 2014, the Marlin Perkins Society membership has exceeded the 1,070 members.

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