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LEGISLATOR SAVAGE HONORS DR. DONNA FERNANDES AS CITIZEN OF THE MONTH


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Donna Fernandes & Peter Savage

Erie County, NY - At the session of the Erie County Legislature on Thursday, March 23, 2017, Legislator Peter J. Savage III (D-Buffalo) presented renowned conservationist and Buffalo Zoo President and CEO Dr. Donna M. Fernandes with the Erie County Legislature’s Citizen of the Month Award for March 2017.  The award comes as an expression and commemoration of Dr. Fernandes’ illustrious career and leadership of the Buffalo Zoo to make it one of the best zoos in the country under her guidance.

“It is my great honor and privilege to recognize and thank Donna Fernandes for her many years of service at the Buffalo Zoo.  Donna has not only been the zoo’s leader and public figure, but the engine that has made it go, helping to make the Buffalo Zoo one of the premier zoos in the nation and a true local treasure,” said Legislator Savage.

Dr. Fernandes joined the Buffalo Zoo in 2000 to become the first female President in its entire 142 year history, and her leadership was vital in the Zoo earning accreditation from the prestigious Association of Zoos and Aquariums, being one of only 232 institutions worldwide that meet the Association’s standards.

"I would like to express my gratitude to Legislator Peter Savage and the entire Erie County Legislature for honoring me in this way.  I am also grateful for the incredible financial support that the County has provided to the Buffalo Zoo during my tenure," stated Dr. Fernandes.

Dr. Fernandes’ tenure is distinguished by the Buffalo Zoo’s undertaking of rebuilding its urban facility to create and renovate exhibits coupled with adding conservation education for visitors. Over the last decade under Dr. Fernandes’ leadership, the Zoo was able to raise and secure $50 million in capital funds for zoo revitalization projects, including the opening of several major exhibits including Vanishing Animals, EcoStation, Otter Creek, Sea Lion Cove, M&T Bank Rainforest Falls, the Delta Sonic Heritage Farm, Arctic Edge, and a new entry complex.

Dr. Fernandes has also set the stage for expansion plans to continue in the future, with the next phase of the Zoo’s revitalization being a multi-million renovation of its historic Amphibian and Reptile House with state-of-the-art exhibits. Dr. Fernandes is retiring from her role as President and CEO of the Buffalo Zoo after serving for 17 years.