Messages From The President

October 2016

Can you hear the majestic roar? Lions are coming back to Audubon Zoo. Thanks to a generous gift from philanthropists Boysie and Joy Bollinger, lions will once again graze our grounds in an all new African Savannah exhibit. Donations like this make it possible for Audubon to teach children in our community about the importance of wildlife, how to protect them and what it might feel like to step into an African safari.

Immersive experiences also abound at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas with a new behind the scenes sea otter encounter.  Beginning October 13, guests will be able to get up close and personal with our charismatic southern sea otters while learning about the threats they face in the wild.

At Audubon our hope is that by bringing visitors face to face with wildlife, they will leave with a new perspective on conserving wildlife and protecting endangered species. We look forward to celebrating the wonders of nature with you throughout the year.

L. Ronald Forman
President and CEO, Audubon Nature Institute

September 2016

Summer days are fading away, but here at Audubon Nature Institute the wildlife is bright as ever. At Audubon Zoo, guests can visit Bumi, our new Malayan tiger. One of only 300 members of his critically endangered species in the world, Bumi was transferred to our care as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums species survival program. Audubon will continue working with zoos across the country to help save this beautiful species along with many others.

Across town at Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, our team is gearing up for Scales & Ales, a premier fundraising event on Friday, September 30. Live entertainment, enticing cocktails and delicious cuisine are at your fingertips in the vibrant aquatic atmosphere. Come celebrate with us as we raise money for the Aquarium’s continuous work in education and protection of Louisiana’s precious resources.

At Audubon we strive to educate the public about conservation initiatives while providing fun and engaging opportunities for our guests to celebrate the wonders of nature. We look forward to continuing along this journey with you throughout the year.

L. Ronald Forman
President and CEO, Audubon Nature Institute

Summer 2016

Summer is here, and Audubon Nature Institute has many avenues to beat the heat. Come visit the newly-opened Elephant Pavilion in Audubon Zoo’s Asia exhibit. In addition to offering plenty of shade, the pavilion is an engaging, Asian-themed interpretive center providing visitors with a birds-eye view of Audubon’s beloved Asian elephants Panya and Jean. The elephant’s expansive new home is contoured with gentle inclines, shade trees, and two elephant pools: a four-foot splash pool and a 12-foot-deep immersion pool close to Cool Zoo, our wild and wet water park. 

Downtown, families can experience the sights and sounds of wildlife at Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium. Get up close with the colossal collection of the world’s largest insects and immerse yourself with majestic butterflies. Just a few blocks away at Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, take a journey through the 30-foot tunnel of the Maya reef, surrounded by exotic sea creatures. When you leave the Aquarium, enjoy a walk through Woldenberg Riverfront Park and cool off at the 90-foot long riverfront water fountain.

Audubon continues to be a leader in conversation efforts. A young dolphin is back in his natural habitat, thanks to a recent collaboration that included Audubon Nature Institute experts. Octavius, as the dolphin came to be known, was found stranded on a Grand Isle beach last October. After intensive treatment at Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center, Octavius was released into Barataria Bay. A tag on his dorsal fin provides real-time monitoring, and experts will continue to keep track of Octavius to ensure he thrives in the wild on his own. This is the first time a dolphin was rescued, rehabilitated and released back into the wild in Louisiana.

Audubon strives to combine education and conservation with quality guest experiences, so that all members of our community will cultivate a love of our natural world. Celebrating the wonders of nature is our mission and our passion. Come celebrate with us.

L. Ronald Forman
President and CEO, Audubon Nature Institute

March 2016

Spring is here, and Audubon Nature Institute is thriving. Like the leaves on the majestic live oak trees in Audubon Park, natural life is blooming all around Audubon’s attractions. Wonder awaits you, come soak in the warm sun at one of Audubon’s beautiful parks.

Audubon Wilderness Park, located in Lower Coast Algiers, is a natural and secluded green space with a loop trail, picnic shelters and restroom facilities that are open to the public, free of charge. Walk through Louisiana’s innate wonder, picnic under a canopy of trees and watch birds sing in their natural habitat.

Across the river, Woldenberg Riverfront Park and its 16 acres of sprawling greenspace provide breathtaking views of the rolling Mississippi and the historic French Quarter. Take a stroll on the riverfront promenade and watch the grand ships roll by all while being serenaded by local musicians and steamboat whistles. Continue your adventure with a visit to Audubon Aquarium of the Americas or Entergy Giant Screen Theater, both adjacent to the Park.

Audubon strives to combine green space with recreation so that all members of our community will have access to the beauty of nature. Celebrating the wonders of nature is what we are all about, come see for yourself this spring.

L. Ronald Forman
President and CEO, Audubon Nature Institute

February 2016

Audubon Nature Institute’s facilities are wonderful places to visit with relatives and friends for an entertaining, family-rich experience that generates lasting memories. Audubon also adds a tremendous economic value to our community—the tens of thousands of jobs that we create with tourism and family attractions and the tens of millions in tax dollars generated by the industry. While those benefits make for a greater quality of life, they are only part of what we do.

The real heart and passion of Audubon, its board, volunteers and staff is the protection of our environment. As we face monumental challenges brought on by our disappearing coast, climate change and mass extinctions, I see an Audubon that continues to stand at the ready to educate and ensure that these critical issues remain at the forefront of public debate and partner with organizations committed to devising realistic solutions.

At its core, Audubon is all about love of nature and conservation. So many of our young people have limited exposure to the beauty of nature. Audubon holds them by the hand and takes them on magical journeys many might never get to experience. The look of wonder on the faces of young children the first time they watch a shark sail by, or an elephant raise its trunk or a sea lion take a dive is what it truly means to celebrate the wonders of nature..

L. Ronald Forman
President and CEO, Audubon Nature Institute

December 2015

December is the perfect month to celebrate the many ways Audubon gives back to our community. The Taylor Audubon Awards Program, created in 1996 by the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation, recognizes students for their hard work in the classroom by rewarding them with a certificate of achievement and a complimentary membership to Audubon Nature Institute. This year approximately 196,431 Taylor Audubon scholars have been recognized across the state of Louisiana. This program not only exemplifies hard work, but endeavors to instill a love of nature in future generations. 

Through partnerships with local outreach organizations, Audubon is able to give underserved children an opportunity to experience Zoo Camp, special needs guests a quiet space to learn about penguins at the Aquarium, and local churches a visit from the Bugmobile traveling education program.

Educating our diverse audience is a core part of Audubon’s mission. It is essential that we spark passion in our guests of every age so that they will be inspired to help celebrate the wonders of nature in Louisiana’s natural environment. We look forward to fostering more relationships with our community in the new year.

L. Ronald Forman
President and CEO, Audubon Nature Institute

January 2016

Happy New Year! What better way to start the year than celebrating the wonders of nature with Audubon Nature Institute. The new year brings exciting projects to Audubon Zoo, Audubon Park and the Riverview. The Zoo will be adding an expansive overlook in between the new orangutan exhibit and elephant yard, offering our guests an all-encompassing view of beautiful Asian elephants Panya and Jean. Back in The Louisiana Swamp, a partnership with the New Orleans Pelicans will produce the “Pelicans’ Nest”—a new educational exhibit informing visitors of all ages about our valuable Louisiana cost and how each of us can help protect coastal wetlands. Audubon Park will see shelter upgrades, a new jogging path and exercise equipment and the Riverview will receive upgrades to the soccer fields, restrooms, playgrounds, concessions and parking.

Downtown at the Aquarium, new endangered southern sea otters Mollie and Clara have joined Emma in the Sea Otter Habitat. The otters were rescued by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sea Otter Research and Conservation (SORAC) program which strives to save the threatened species by treating and releasing injured otters, raising and releasing stranded pups and providing and caring for sea otters that can’t return to the wild, like Mollie and Clara. Audubon is proud to have the two girls serve as ambassadors for sea otter conservation and protection.

In New Orleans east, construction on Audubon Louisiana Nature Center is fully underway and everyone is excited for a of 2016 opening. Interactive and engaging, the all new, state-of-the-art Nature Center will be feature fun, educational exhibits, a planetarium, classroom pavilions and boardwalk trails with unique opportunities to experience the quiet and enriching beauty of the hardwood bottomland forest.

Providing opportunities for recreation in natural settings, conserving wildlife and educating our diverse audience about the natural world are critical components of Audubon’s mission. We look forward to sharing the new year with our entire Audubon family.

L. Ronald Forman
President and CEO, Audubon Nature Institute

November 2015

The month of November is a time to give thanks for the many wonders of nature. Audubon Nature Institute celebrates those wonders every day across our world-class facilities. Recently, in partnership with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Audubon professionals assisted in the rescue of a stranded juvenile dolphin. The animal was found on a Grand Isle beach lethargic and taking shallow breaths. Audubon carefully transported the dolphin to the Audubon Aquatic Center where our dedicated staff worked overnight delivering treatment to the injured dolphin. The young male has begun swimming on his own and will undergo further nurturing before being evaluated for release.

Conserving wildlife is tremendously important to all of us at Audubon Nature Institute. That passion translates into education efforts across all of our facilities. From our keepers to our education staff, each of us knows the importance of educating the community about our natural world. It is with that knowledge that we work to inspire the love of nature in guests of every age.

At Audubon we strive to be a leader in conversation efforts while educating our diverse audience about the wonders of Louisiana’s natural environment. We look forward to celebrating the wonders of nature with you throughout the year.

L. Ronald Forman
President and CEO, Audubon Nature Institute

October 2015

As the hazy days of summer draw to a close, Audubon Nature Institute looks forward to the cool opportunities fall brings. Cool Zoo and Gator Run have closed for the season after a successful summer refreshing guests with a lazy river ride. Now it’s time to enjoy the beautiful October weather with fall festivals and outdoor community events. Celebración Latina—celebrating Latin American culture with fun activities and dancing, the 28th annual UNCF Walk for Education and Crawloween and Boo at the Zoo—safe, fun filled Halloween events for families are just a few ways Audubon ushers in the fall season.

Audubon continues to make strides with conservation efforts. The Louisiana Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Rescue Program, coordinated by Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, is the primary response partner for the state of Louisiana for rehabilitating marine mammals and sea turtles. Recently, a severely injured Loggerhead Turtle was transported to Audubon after being found in distress in the Gulf of Mexico. Weighing in at 235 pounds, the endangered female is being treated by our dedicated staff for severe lacerations by washing her with sterile water and continuously changing bandages. She is currently on antibiotics and is receiving nutrients through bottle feeding.

At Audubon we strive to provide outstanding guest experiences while educating our diverse audience about the wonders of Louisiana’s natural environment. We look forward to celebrating the wonders of nature with you throughout the year.

L. Ronald Forman
President and CEO, Audubon Nature Institute

September 2015

The month of September is one of celebration as the Aquarium marks its 25th birthday. When the Aquarium opened on September 1, 1990 no one could have foreseen the tremendous impact it would have on our community. Since the grand opening, the Aquarium has had many memorable moments, including the arrival of rescued and rehabilitated Southern sea otters, the joyful homecoming of the Aquarium's penguins following Hurricane Katrina, and the opening of the Great Maya Reef.

September also brings growth to Audubon Louisiana Nature Center in New Orleans East. The site is now fully cleared and foundation piles are being driven for the new building. The restoration will bring a planetarium, an 8,500 square-foot Exhibit Pavilion, a glass and steel greenhouse Botany Center, classrooms, interactive educational exhibits, a network of trails and covered boardwalks. All of us at Audubon are anticipating the opening.

At Audubon we strive to provide outstanding guest experiences while educating our diverse audience about the wonders of Louisiana’s natural environment. We look forward to continuing along this journey with you throughout the year.

 

L. Ronald Forman
President and CEO, Audubon Nature Institute

Summer 2015

Summer is here and Audubon has many ways to escape the heat! Audubon Zoo’s new wild and wet attraction, Gator Run, offers you a cool ride in a 750 foot lazy river. After exploring the Zoo’s lush grounds, and learning more about exquisite wildlife, treat your family to the jumping jets of Cool Zoo and relax as soothing ripples gently float you down the lazy river.

Families can also experience the sights and sounds of wildlife at Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium and Audubon Aquarium of the Americas.  Get up close to the Insectarium’s newest guest, the giant Atlas moth, one of the largest insects in the world with a wingspan of up to 62 square inches. Just a few blocks away at the Aquarium, take a journey through the 30 foot tunnel of the Maya reef, surrounded by exotic sea creatures.  When you leave the Aquarium, enjoy a walk through Woldenberg Park and cool off at the new 90 foot long riverfront water fountains.

If adventure is what you seek, we’ve got a brand new one for you. Wild Nights—Insect Adventure allows kids of all ages to join Audubon Entomologists on an after dark hike through Audubon Wilderness Park’s hardwood forest to find and identify marvelous moths and beautiful beetles.  Guests will learn about insect natural history as well as how the entomology staff collects and cares for insects, spiders and other creatures.

Linking education, conversation and new adventures is what Audubon is all about. Come celebrate the wonders of nature with us.

 

L. Ronald Forman
President and CEO, Audubon Nature Institute

May 2015

Spring brings exciting new adventures across Audubon Nature Institute.  The lazy river of Gator Run is now open for cooling down after a hot trip around the Zoo.   Construction is nearing completion on state-of-the-art orangutan and elephant exhibits and an all-new Discovery Walk.  Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium displays a colossal collection of the world’s largest insects.  The Hop-on to Audubon Tour offers convenient access between the Zoo and our downtown facilities, along with an update on the incredible things happening around Audubon.

We continue to concentrate on conservation efforts, enhancing the care and survival of wildlife through ongoing research.  For example, our beautiful young orangutan Menari just lost her first primary tooth. Menari was born in June 2009 and is growing up right before our eyes.  This latest milestone in her development will help orangutans in the wild.  Audubon is participating in research tracking Menari’s teeth to help experts in Borneo and Sumatra determine the age of orphaned orangutans set for release into their native range.

At Audubon we strive to provide outstanding guest experiences while educating our diverse audience about the wonders of Louisiana’s natural environment.  We look forward to continuing along this journey with you throughout the year.

 

L. Ronald Forman
President and CEO, Audubon Nature Institute

April 2015

Spring brings exciting new adventures across Audubon Nature Institute.  The lazy river of Gator Run is now open for cooling down after a hot trip around the Zoo.   Construction is nearing completion on state-of-the-art orangutan and elephant exhibits and an all-new Discovery Walk.  Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium displays a colossal collection of the world’s largest insects.  The Hop-on to Audubon Tour offers convenient access between the Zoo and our downtown facilities, along with an update on the incredible things happening around Audubon.

We continue to concentrate on conservation efforts, enhancing the care and survival of wildlife through ongoing research.  For example, our beautiful young orangutan Menari just lost her first primary tooth. Menari was born in June 2009 and is growing up right before our eyes.  This latest milestone in her development will help orangutans in the wild.  Audubon is participating in research tracking Menari’s teeth to help experts in Borneo and Sumatra determine the age of orphaned orangutans set for release into their native range.

At Audubon we strive to provide outstanding guest experiences while educating our diverse audience about the wonders of Louisiana’s natural environment.  We look forward to continuing along this journey with you throughout the year.

 

L. Ronald Forman
President and CEO, Audubon Nature Institute

March 2015

Audubon Audubon Nature Institute’s year of growth continues. New attractions are opening for spring and more will follow in summer.  It’s an exciting time to be a part of the Audubon family.

Watoto Walk, the all-new animal encounter experience, has opened across from the giraffes in Audubon Zoo’s African Savanna. Watoto, the Swahili word for “children,” offers an open area where kids can interact with free-roaming goats and sheep. The exhibit lets children get eye-to-eye with the animals, enjoying a hands-on encounter that educates as much as it delights.

Another exciting opening is Kamba Kourse.  Located next to the petting zoo, Kamba Kourse is a four-story adventure ropes course that stands 44 feet high and features nearly three dozen elements designed to test agility, balance and strength for visitors of all ages and abilities. The sky’s the limit for outdoor family fun—and the views of the Zoo are incredible.

Growing also this year was the size of Audubon’s sea turtle population. Late last year, Audubon received over two dozen Kemp’s ridley sea turtles that had been stranded in Massachusetts due to cold weather.  The rare, endangered sea turtles were carefully nurtured and rehabilitated by Audubon’s dedicated staff and recently returned to waters off Louisiana’s coast in collaboration with our partners at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

Every day is a new opportunity for growth at Audubon Nature Institute. I hope that you will continue to grow with us as we Celebrate the Wonders of Nature.

 

L. Ronald Forman
President and CEO, Audubon Nature Institute

January 2015

As we reflect on 2014, we can proudly say that Audubon Nature Institute found many ways to fulfill its purpose of Celebrating the Wonders of Nature. Each member of Audubon’s family of museums and parks has contributed to enriching our community by preserving our delicate native Louisiana habitats. We at Audubon conserve wildlife—and we educate our diverse audience on the beauty and richness of our natural world, giving them the knowledge they need to serve as effective stewards of our precious environment.

When I think about the great opportunities that lie ahead in 2015, I am filled with excitement.  New orangutan and elephant exhibits, a new lazy river added to Cool Zoo, and a new splashpad water feature on the riverfront will help to make Audubon Zoo and Audubon Aquarium of the Americas the premiere destinations for family fun in New Orleans. New education initiatives, continued focus on conservation efforts and new premium experiences will dazzle our guests while developing deep-rooted connections with every generation. Not only do these new projects advance Audubon’s mission, they provide the means to have a greater positive impact on our community.

All of us at Audubon can’t wait to start 2015. We hope you will share our enthusiasm for the future and come join in the fun!

 

L. Ronald Forman
President and CEO, Audubon Nature Institute

November 2014

Winter is just around the corner, but the fun never stops at Audubon Nature Institute. Audubon invites families from all over the world to dive in to the colorful displays of life at Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas and Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium. Swinging orangutans, waddling penguins and exquisite butterflies all await your arrival and, along with our enthusiastic team of wildlife experts, stand ready to guide you through the wonders of nature.

Here at Audubon we are committed to providing outstanding experiences for our guests. Even though it might be chilly outside, come into the Aquarium, slip into a wet suit and take in the Maya Dive Experience. Snorkel or scuba dive in the warm waters of the Great Maya Reef, brushing past cow-nose rays and hundreds of beautiful tropical fish.

Another critical part of Audubon’s mission is to enhance the care and survival of wildlife through research and conservation. Audubon Nature Institute’s Gulf United for Lasting Fisheries (G.U.L.F.) program, for example, works with every level of the seafood industry to promote the sustainability and success of local fisheries, which are crucial to Louisiana’s economy and culture.

G.U.L.F. recently partnered with culinary leaders in the New Orleans restaurant community to form a Chefs Council, a team dedicated to promoting and conserving the seafood resources in the Gulf of Mexico.  Because 77% of all seafood consumed in the US is ordered through restaurants, educating chefs and wait staff on using sustainable Gulf seafood is an important step toward sustainability.

The Maya Dive Experience and G.U.L.F. are just two of the ways we Celebrate the Wonders of Nature every day. Come visit so you can join in the celebration!

 

L. Ronald Forman
President and CEO, Audubon Nature Institute

October 2014

We love bugs! We have been in love with bugs since 2008, when Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium first opened its doors on Canal Street. Our wondrous bugs are essential to the ecosystem of the planet, and we could not exist without them. There's a symmetry and beauty to bugs that fascinates our guests. The colors and designs, the economy and diversity of behaviors, the adaptations to environments - it's amazing to think how insects have been here so much longer than we have, and how they're likely to persevere long after we humans have moved on.

As you visit our family of Audubon attractions, you'll find that each has a character all its own. I hope you'll make it a point to visit our lovable bugs at Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium soon.

 

L. Ronald Forman
President and CEO, Audubon Nature Institute

Summer 2014

What a difference nine years make. Today Audubon Nature Institute is perfectly positioned to build for the future, and that’s exactly what we are doing. We have a number of projects underway to enhance our attractions and facilities, and to teach kids the importance of nature.

Audubon’s orangutans, arguably some of the most popular animals in Audubon Zoo, move to a beautiful new exhibit in spring of 2015. Most people know it as the “old elephant exhibit.”  It’s being totally renovated to accommodate our lively group of orangs.  So where are the elephants going? They moved to a spacious new barn while we complete a natural-habitat exhibit for them. They’ll have hills, pools, waterfalls and grass to roam on as their admirers in the public look on from a boardwalk. This project will also be complete in 2015.

Another project underway at the Zoo is Cool Zoo II. It’s no surprise that Audubon Zoo can be hot in the summertime. So we turned the hot Zoo into the “Cool Zoo” by adding a splash park full of fun features. It created a whole new season for us and our guests have been asking for more ways to get wet. So now we’re adding a second phase with Gator Run River Ride and other exciting features that will make Audubon Zoo wilder and wetter. This phase is set to open in summer of 2015. We’re very happy with the changes coming up and we know our guests will enjoy them, too.

Check back here often. Over the next couple of months, I’ll be updating you on the progress of projects Audubon Nature Institute is working on all across New Orleans.

 

L. Ronald Forman
President and CEO, Audubon Nature Institute

August/September 2014

Work progresses on compelling new projects all across Audubon Nature Institute. Last month, I told you about new construction at Audubon Zoo. Now we’re going to take a trip along the Mississippi River to the foot of Canal Street, where great things are happening at Audubon Aquarium of the Americas.

We had tremendous response to the opening of Great Maya Reef exhibit, where guests are immersed in the history and culture of the Maya people. We just recently started offering the Maya Dive Experience, where guests can actually be in the water with fish and other Aquarium creatures. It’s something people have been asking for and there’s no better way to educate than to put people right in the middle of these exotic environments. This new premium experience at the Aquarium is proving extremely popular!

We’re in the very first stages of designing a whole new area for our penguins. Everyone loves penguins and it’s been a successful program for us. We want to make visiting penguins even more memorable for guests. I’ll keep you posted as we move forward in our planning.

Both Audubon Aquarium of the Americas and Woldenberg Riverfront Park are receiving major upgrades including a new roof and wharf improvements. While visitors probably won’t notice that, it’s something we’re all very happy about at Audubon!

We know people will be pleased with what we’re creating. I hope you’ll visit us at one of our Audubon attractions soon.

 

L. Ronald Forman
President and CEO, Audubon Nature Institute

Early Summer 2014

At our Audubon Nature Institute attractions, nature is the star of the show. We put our world’s amazing creatures in context with their environment for our guests, showing you how animals and people together create rich culture, and how much we would lose if animals and their habitat disappeared.

Summer is a fantastic time to explore this idea at our Audubon attractions. The Louisiana Swamp Exhibit at Audubon Zoo and the new Great Maya Reef at Audubon Aquarium of the Americas are prime examples. A visit to Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium will introduce you to entire new worlds of wildlife, much of it right here in our backyard. Entergy IMAX Theatre takes you on adventures to habitats and cultures around the world. Or you can unleash your inner naturalist at our parks. Audubon Park and Riverview have infinite opportunities to explore natural South Louisiana flora and fauna, while Woldenberg Riverfront Park is a beautiful way to get to know the Mississippi River environment.

The long days of summer often seem like they will never end, yet before we know it, we’ll be immersed in back-to-school activities and looking forward to the holidays. I hope you’ll consider taking some relaxing time to enjoy nature at an Audubon attraction this summer. We’ll always be happy to see you.

 

L. Ronald Forman
President and CEO, Audubon Nature Institute

Spring 2014

Welcome to Audubon Nature Institute! There is nothing like springtime in New Orleans, and we invite you to enjoy it at one of our Audubon attractions. Everything is in bloom at Audubon Zoo – truly a zoological garden in the most delightful sense of the word. At Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, our new Great Maya Reef is open. We’re excited to share this beautiful new exhibit with you. Enjoy a walk along the Mississippi River at Woldenberg Riverfront Park downtown or along Riverview behind the Zoo. Stroll down world-famous Canal Street and drop in at Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium. This is the best time of year to soak up the wonders of nature in America’s most interesting city. I hope to see you at an Audubon Nature Institute attraction soon.

 

L. Ronald Forman
President and CEO, Audubon Nature Institute

February 2014

While the rest of the country counts the days until winter ends, here in New Orleans it’s Carnival time. We hit the streets and beg for beads, soaking up all the vibrant colors and sounds of Mardi Gras in New Orleans. At Audubon Nature Institute, we love this time of year.  We enjoy our Mardi Gras traditions and routines, and the crazy swirl of activity that accompanies this special season. But it’s always a welcome relief to come back to  our Audubon attractions to appreciate the natural beauty our world provides for us, reminding us that our corner of the globe here in New Orleans is special in so many ways. Whether you are visiting us from other parts of the world or just down the block, we hope you’ll enjoy many wonderful hours appreciating nature at our Audubon attractions this Carnival season, and we’ll look for you at the parades!

 

L. Ronald Forman
President and CEO, Audubon Nature Institute

January 2014

With the rush of the holidays over, and Mardi Gras still ahead, this is the perfect time to reconnect with family and with nature. We are so fortunate to live in New Orleans, where one day we might be chilled by a brisk northern cold front, and the next day dazzled by a brilliant blue sky with warmth from the sun. We have an Audubon adventure to suit any kind of day. Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Entergy IMAX® Theatre, and Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium might be just the ticket for a brisk or rainy day, while Audubon Zoo, Audubon Park, and  Woldenberg Riverfront Park are perfect for our beautiful sunny afternoons. Whether you choose one or all our attractions, we want to make your experience delightful and unforgettable. Every day can be an Audubon day! We hope to see you soon.

 

L. Ronald Forman
President and CEO, Audubon Nature Institute

President & Chief Executive Officer
Audubon Nature Institute, Inc.

  • Audubon Park
  • Audubon Zoo
  • Woldenberg Riverfront Park
  • Audubon Aquarium of the Americas
  • Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center
  • Entergy Giant Screen Theater
  • Audubon Louisiana Nature Center
  • Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species
  • Audubon Wilderness Park
  • Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium
  • Audubon Nature Institute Foundation

Ron Forman began his tenure with Audubon Park and Zoological Garden in 1972 as City Hall liaison. Arriving at Audubon in 1977 he continued with the transform of Audubon Zoo from an "urban ghetto" to the "Urban Eden" we see today. As president and CEO of Audubon Nature Institute, Ron Forman has been instrumental in the growth of this organization and stands as a community leader in the New Orleans area.

Employment
1977 - Present    President and Chief Executive Officer, Audubon Nature Institute
1973 - 1977    Deputy Director, Audubon Park & Zoological Garden
1972 - 1973    Administrative Analyst, City of New Orleans, Audubon Park Commission
     
Education
1976    Graduate of Zoo Management School, North Carolina State University
1969    B. S. Degree, Louisiana State University
     
Current Affiliations   
Professional
American Zoo and Aquarium Association
World Association of Zoos and Aquariums

Other
Greater New Orleans Miracle League Board
Louisiana Stadium & Exposition District Commission, Chairman
New Orleans Business Council
New Orleans Jazz Orchestra Board, Chairman
New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau, Past Chairman
Tulane President’s Council
Wake Forest Parents’ Council
     
Past Professional Affiliations
American Association of Museums Board
American Association of Zoological Parks & Aquariums, President
Chimp Haven Advisory Committee
Georgia Tech Center for Conservation and Behavior, Senior Fellow
     
Awards    
2005    Woodrow Wilson Award
2002    Man of the Year, Construction Industry Association
1999    Walk of Fame Inductee, New Orleans Hilton
1998    Jr. Achievement Business Hall of Fame
1995    Gambit Newspaper "New Orleanian of the Year"
1994    PR Society of America/New Orleans "Hornblower of the Year"
1993    ADL "Torch of Liberty Award"
1992    National Conference of Christians & Jews "Weiss Award"
1990    New Orleans Magazine "Man of the Decade"
           New Orleans Press Club "Headliner of the Year"
           New Orleans Area Boy Scouts Council "Distinguished Citizen Award"
1989    Big Brothers/Big Sisters "Man of the Year"
     
Publications    
1985    “Audubon Park:  An Urban Eden”, Co-Author
1986    “Red Pepper Paradise”, Foreword
1990    “Creatures, Corals, and Colors”, Foreword

 

The 10 highest-paid nonprofit executives in New Orleans: How much they make and why.
Read more at NOLA.com

Ron Forman and Bill Kurtz’s compensation packages are determined by the governance process set forth by Internal Revenue Code Section 4958 called Intermediate Sanctions for Nonprofit Organizations. This process calls for a Committee of Independent Board members to evaluate the total compensation package of executives by obtaining valid comparable market data for comparable positions in for-profit and tax-exempt organizations and then reviewing individuals and market data and then documenting a decision on a presumption of reasonable compensation.

Audubon Nature Institute Board’s Compensation Committee meets every two to three years to adhere to this process. They review the following information:

  1. Comparison of leading zoos and aquariums executive compensations from comparable positions in peer market groups
  2. Independent consultant studies that concentrate on comparable Zoo and Zoological Societies with an emphasis on wildlife preservation and protection
  3. Independent consultant studies on non-zoological organizations that have a significant impact on their city’s culture and economy
  4. Independent consultant studies on peer group comparable metrics such as number of employees, revenue, budget and assets
  5. Association of Zoos and Aquariums Compensation Studies
  6. Review of Charity Navigator’s nonprofit Executive Compensation Comparison

After a thorough review of comparable market data, the Compensation Committee then recommends an executive compensation package to the Audubon Nature Institute Board’s Executive Committee who then approve a personal services agreement that is signed by the Board Chairman and the President/CEO and one for the Chief of Staff.

Below is a sample list of compensation packages the Compensation Committee reviews while making their recommendations:

  • Shedd Aquarium
  • Wildlife Conservation Center
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  • The Saint Louis Zoo Association
  • Indianapolis Children’s Museum
  • Isadore Newman School
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
  • Sugar Bowl
  • Chicago Zoological Society
  • New Orleans Country Club
  • Lincoln Park Zoo
  • WWII Museum
  • Zoo Atlanta
  • Georgia Aquarium
  • Museum of Contemporary Arts, Chicago
  • National Aquarium, Baltimore
  • Cincinnati Museum Center

The 10 highest-paid nonprofit executives in New Orleans: How much they make and why.
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