Where can you meet a famous actress, a wildlife film-maker, representatives from two renowned conservation organizations, and the six finalists for this year’s Indianapolis Prize? That would be at the third Meet-a-Hero, Be-a-Hero event taking place Saturday, September 29, in the Indianapolis Zoo's Dolphin Gallery from 10:30am-12:30pm.
Meet-a-Hero, Be-a-Hero began in 2008 as a way to connect people with real-life conservation heroes who are on the front lines of conservation every day. It’s mainly geared toward families with children over the age of eight, but we’ve had people from 0-75 attend! There is a little something for everyone.
Upon arrival, kids get a “passport” and a set of limited edition conservation collector cards featuring all of our special guests and detailing the important work they do saving endangered species around the globe. Our guests are stationed at tables with displays about their work and organizations, and as the kids stop at each station, they will get a stamp on their passport as well as an autograph! There will also be conservation games and activities like the Polar Bear Plunge, our larger than life version of “Don’t Break the Ice.”
Our favorite Meet-a-Hero moment occurred in 2008 when a little boy walked in, froze in his step, grabbed his mom’s sleeve and pointed at Rodney Jackson and said, “Mom, Mom, that’s the man I saw on TV who studies snow leopards!” He treated Jackson as if he was a rock star, and he is. All the conservationists are stars in their own rights.
By the way, the famous actress is Jane Alexander, recipient of the Global Wildlife Ambassador Award named in her honor, and a passionate conservation supporter. The wildlife filmmker is Alan Root, one of the legends of the field who pioneered many of the techniques used by wildlife photographers to this day. The two renowned conservation organization are Polar Bears International, the group from which the winner of the 2012 Indianapolis Prize, Dr. Steven Amstrup, works, and the Chinese Wildlife Conservation Association. The other first finalists for the Indianapolis Prize in attendance are: Markus Borner of the Frankfort Zoological Society; Rodney Jackson of the Snow Leopard Conservancy; Carl Jones of the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation; Russell Mittermeier of Conservational International; and Patricia Wright of the Institute for the Conservation of Tropical Environments.
On average, 2,000-3,000 people attend the event. So come early before the cards run out! Admission to Meet-a-Hero, Be-a-Hero is free with general Zoo admission.< /p>