LEO (Lionshare Educational Organization) is the non-profit organization supporting the Center and is dedicated to species at risk breeding programs and to expanding education to students, interns, visitors, and the world. Our education model is unprecedented: we offer our interns and students the most hands-on, practical learning experience possible by allowing daily interaction and observation with some of the world’s most exotic and exciting creatures. As a result, they walk away with an abundance of knowledge and something far greater than anything that can be learned from a textbook. Through our education efforts, we hope to inspire each individual to make a future impact in animal conservation.
We welcome students from many other institutions for interns and independent study and research projects, recognizing that what one learns in the classroom is enhanced by the actual experience. Many of our student interns bring new ideas and energy to careers in conservation and animal care. Others discover new career paths they might not have imagined. Most importantly, today’s students are the future guardians of the planet. We must invest in their expertise, experience and dedication.
Research is a vital part of LEO ZCC’s efforts; it provides us with valuable insight that empowers us to protect our wildlife friends by better understanding their behaviors and need. We are committed to generating, sharing and applying the scientific knowledge essential to the conservation of animals and their habitats worldwide. Our goal is to identify significant problems for conservation and preservation of species at risk and then inspire pioneering and innovative solutions.
One unique aspect of our facility is that since we are not trying to please the public by keeping animals on exhibit day in and day out, we are able to offer students and researchers the ability to observe animals in an environment that is as close to their natural habitat as possible.
Our outreach program educates people through visits with our animal representatives. One of our most important activities in this program is our ongoing relationship with The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in Westport, Connecticut. Our regular and frequent visits bring as much joy to the campers as they do to us and our animals.
With education being a major cornerstone of our mission here at LEO Zoological Conservation Center, we truly believe in tailoring our programs to each visitor to provide the most valuable learning experience possible. It is for this reason that we have established two different programs for our LEO Family’s children or grandchildren to enjoy. We hope that these programs will help teach our youth the importance of the earth’s unique creatures, and instill in them a lifelong passion for caring for the rare and endangered animals of the world.
We put smiles on the faces of our many visitors during our private, behind-the-scenes visits to the conservation center. There is much to be learned in these small group tours, where participants experience the joy of interacting with our animals and participate in instructive dialogue.