Audubon Park

Nature of Giving

The Nature of Giving.

Celebrating the Audubon Nature Institute Family.

The Nature of Giving is a quarterly print newsletter for supporters that celebrates the Audubon family. Each issue gives readers an inside look at the amazing things made possible by the support of Audubon donors, members, and friends. If you’d like to learn more about how to start receiving the print edition of The Nature of Giving, please contact the Development Department at or (504) 861-5107.

2022 Volume 4 - Your Generosity Matters

Your Philanthropy is Flying High

Wings of the World debuted on March 3

Wings of the World took flight at Audubon Zoo when it opened on March 3, 2023. Thanks to generous supporters,Wings of the World is the largest and most immersive experience of its kind regionally, with new exhibitry, a free-flight aviary, and more than 60 birds from around the world.

“Wings of the World allows our guests to be immersed in the beauty of nature and experience seeing and hearing many different species of birds in one place,” said Ron Forman, Audubon Nature Institute President and CEO. “I am grateful to generous supporters for helping restore and renovate this engaging exhibit for our community.” 

The restoration of Audubon Zoo’s beloved Tropical Bird House breathes new life into the historic Odenheimer area. This indoor aviary is filled with lush plants, enchanting birdsongs, and a walk-through habitat.

Wings of the World also shares critical conservation stories, including that of the Guam kingfisher (pictured below)—one of the world’s most endangered species. After the introduction of brown tree snakes to Guam resulted in their extinction in the wild, the few remaining birds were placed in human care.

“Audubon is proud to join other zoos around the world working with Guam kingfishers,” said Mike Houlihan, Curator of Birds at Audubon Zoo. “We are hopeful the birds in our care will breed. The survival of this species depends on conservation efforts at zoos around the world to increase their numbers with the ultimate goal of returning them to the wild.”

“Many of these rare and endangered species suffer because of human impacts including illegal hunting and habitat destruction,” added Ron Forman. “By encountering these unusual species here at Audubon Zoo, we hope to encourage our guests to learn about and practice conservation and sustainability in their lives to make a positive impact on the larger world.”

Thank you for celebrating the wonders of nature with your generosity. We hope you enjoy Wings of the World, which is included in Audubon Zoo admission, on your next visit.

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2022 Volume 3 - Celebrating Your Generosity

Audubon Zoo Welcomes Orphaned Louisiana Black Bear

Your support makes saving wildlife possible

You may have noticed a “beary” cute addition to the Audubon Zoo family! On September 10, Sassafras, an orphaned seven-month-old female Louisiana black bear made her public debut. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries rescued her in Northeast Louisiana, after a community member observed the cub in a tree by herself for multiple days.

Your generosity is helping Sassafras thrive in the Louisiana Swamp Exhibit! She already weighs 40 pounds and is a fantastic ambassador for her species, teaching guests about the importance of black bears to our ecosystem.

Thank you for making it possible to care for native wildlife.

Because of you, animals like Sassafras, the Louisiana black bear cub, are thriving at Audubon.

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2022 Volume 2 - Celebrating Your Generosity

Menari and Roux Reunite Thanks to You

Critically endangered Sumatran orangutan Roux made his public debut at ZOObilation on June 9 at Audubon Zoo.

Born last December to first-time mom Menari, Roux received around-the-clock care from Zoo veterinarians and primate staff. Children’s Hospital New Orleans’ specialists and AZA Orangutan Species Survival Plan advisors also provided expert consultation.

“Children’s Hospital New Orleans offered their support by providing the expertise of a clinical speech pathologist and lactation specialists,” said Audubon’s Senior Veterinarian Bob MacLean. Children’s Hospital also analyzed Roux’s blood at the hospital, providing faster results than a veterinary laboratory after Roux’s birth.

After months of getting stronger, Roux was reunited with Menari in April. He continues to gain strength and is bonding with his family, including half-siblings Madu and Bulan.

“It has been an absolute joy to watch Menari grow into motherhood,” said Assistant Curator of Primates Kelsey Forbes. “Watching her and Roux bond and seeing their interactions with their entire family is one of the highlights of my career.”

Your generous support of Roux and his family means the world to all working to save critically endangered Sumatran orangutans. Thank you for helping Roux thrive.

Sumatran orangutans are threatened with extinction in our lifetime, with fewer than 14,000 in the wild. One of their greatest threats is deforestation due to palm oil demand. You can help Sumatran orangutans by using sustainable palm oil or refusing to use it altogether.

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2022 Volume 1 - Your Generosity Matters

Making Sustainable Choices with Audubon

Spring has sprung in New Orleans; here are some ways we can protect nature and wildlife together.

Enjoy environmentally friendly picnics in Audubon Park by using reuseable water bottles and storage containers when possible and opting for recyclable materials like aluminum and glass. Although glass cannot be recycled curbside in Orleans or Jefferson Parish, there are multiple glass drop-off locations in the New Orleans area.

Drop off unwanted cell phones and tablets at the front gates of Audubon Zoo and Audubon Aquarium of the Americas during public hours. This will reduce demand for coltan, a mineral found in batteries of electronics, leading to less destruction of gorilla habitats in central Africa caused by coltan mining.

Try biking, walking, or taking public transportation next time you visit your parks and animals! 

Make small changes at home, like using LED light bulbs instead of halogens, reducing and reusing rather than buying new items, and composting. You can drop off your frozen compostable food waste with Compost NOW in Audubon Park at the Clubhouse every Monday from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m.

You can even transform your yard into a wildlife habitat! Cut your grass higher to make it more pollinator-friendly, consider leaving your windows dirty for longer to reduce the risk of bird strikes, and construct a bee condo, birdbath, or a bat house.

These are just a few ways that we can all make a difference. It’s amazing to see what we can accomplish when we work together. Thank you for doing a world of good! 

Mark your calendar for Friday, May 20 when you can learn more about endangered species and sustainable choices
during Party for the Planet presented by Entergy: Endangered Species Day at Audubon Zoo.

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2021 Volume 3 - Your Generosity is Essential

Audubon’s Whooping Crane Program Is Back on Track!

The COVID-19 pandemic severely impacted Audubon’s ability to bring back the world’s rarest crane species. Now, thanks to your generous support, Audubon is making a major comeback raising six whooping crane chicks.

Five abandoned eggs originated from the eastern migratory population in Wisconsin and are being costume-reared by Audubon staff. One egg was the result of artificial insemination at the Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center and is being reared by its mother and “stepfather.” Audubon staff costume-rear chicks by dressing up as whooping cranes, keeping their true human appearance cloaked to prevent desensitizing the chicks to humans.

This year’s chicks were named after “natural phenomena,” including Blizzard, Fog, Hurricane, Lava, Lightning, and Aurora. Four chicks will be released into Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area this fall. Two will be kept at the Species Survival Center to increase genetic diversity and demographics through future breeding.

“We are thrilled to have bounced back in the wake of the pandemic,” said Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center Assistant Curator Richard Dunn. “These chicks represent the collaborative effort that we and our partners share in making an impact on the survival on this precious species.”

Whooping cranes are the world’s rarest crane species and one of North America’s most threatened bird species. Audubon first became involved with whooping crane breeding efforts in 1998.

If you encounter a whooping crane, please observe the bird from a distance and report the sighting to LDWF at

Thank you to generous supporters, including U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Chevron Corporation, Hancock Whitney, and all those who gave through this year’s Zoo-To-Do events. You are helping save this species from extinction!

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2021 Volume 2 - Your Generosity at Work

Tim and Carolyn Cutt’s Gift Will Feed the Zoo’s Animals

After seeing the pandemic’s effect on Audubon Zoo, Tim and Carolyn Cutt decided to help Audubon Nature Institute through the financial crisis by donating to feed the Zoo’s animals for six months.

“The Zoo has continued to grow and become more inspiring with time, and it is heartbreaking to see how hard the pandemic has hit funding,” said Tim.

Tim and Carolyn both hail from Louisiana, but their careers have moved them far and wide. They met in New Orleans, both graduating from O. Perry Walker High School (now Landry-Walker College and Career Preparatory High School). Carolyn graduated from Louisiana State University with a degree in Education, and Tim graduated from Louisiana Tech with a degree in Petroleum Engineering. They moved to Houma and Morgan City to start their careers and got married soon after.

Through 16 domestic and international moves with the oil industry, they have maintained their strong ties with Audubon. Visiting their favorite Zoo animals was always a highlight of their trips home to see Carolyn’s parents, Joy and Emile Kaler, who became Charter Audubon Members in 1995.

“The Zoo is such an important part of the New Orleans experience, and we are anxious to see it recover and welcome people from all over the world again,” explained Tim.

Now retired and back in Louisiana, they are looking forward to spending more time with their children and grandchildren at Audubon Zoo and Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. They love to take their grandchildren to visit animals like the Zoo’s newest orangutan infant Madu and her parents, Reese and Jambi.

The Cutts hope that their wonderful gift encourages others to give to Audubon. “We hope that the pandemic is under control soon and visitors will begin to frequent the Zoo again,” said Tim. “We also hope that others do what they can to help in the recovery efforts.”

Thank you to the Cutts for your overflowing generosity! Your connection to the Zoo and compassion for the animals are an inspiration.

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2021 Volume 1 - Why Your Support Matters


In New Orleans, the local flora is waking up from winter and filling the city with color. Around the globe, however, the animals responsible for our vibrant gardens and bountiful crops are in danger.

Populations of pollinators—animals like bees, bats, birds, and small mammals—are declining worldwide due to habitat loss, pesticides, disease, and climate change.

In addition to the tragedy inherent in any species extinction, there’s a practical reason to be concerned about the pollinator crisis. Pollinators help 80% of the planet’s flowering plants and crops reproduce. And two of mankind’s greatest inventions—chocolate and coffee—could not exist without pollinators!

Pollinators are responsible for bringing us one out of every three bites of food. Put simply, without pollinators, Earth’s animals—including humans—don’t eat.

That’s why your support is so important. With your generosity, you help our community learn about pollinators. At Audubon Zoo, you can see wild pollinators and find inspiration for your home garden by checking out the Butterfly Circle and the Bayer Feed a Bee Pollinator Habitat. In Audubon Park, you can explore the Gumbel Fountain Bed and Usdin Gardens.

You can spot bees, butterflies, and bugs of all kinds during a hike on any of Audubon Louisiana Nature Center’s trails. One dedicated pollinator path is also a stop for migratory birds!

Your generosity also supports the many pollinators in Audubon’s care, including the bats in the Zoo’s “Criaturas de la Noche” nocturnal house, the birds in the Zoo’s aviary and the Aquarium’s Parakeet Pointe, and, of course, many of the bugs you’ll see when the Butterfly Garden and Insectarium reopens as part of the Aquarium.

Pollinators need our help, but the good news is that you can make a positive impact for them right in your own backyard. Steps as simple as planting native flowers and grasses, providing nesting grounds for birds, cutting your grass a little higher to let small native flowers grow, avoiding harsh pesticides, and choosing organic produce can add up to a big difference!

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