Local residents win award at Zootopia 2018 gala event

Zoo New England’s annual Zootopia gala, presented by Citizens Bank recently, raised $485,000 to support Franklin Park and Stone Zoos’ education programs and conservation efforts around the world and locally.

Hollis residents, Peggy and David Gilmour, received Zoo New England’s Silverback Award at the gala. The award honors individuals whose commitment has profoundly impacted Zoo New England by helping to inspire the next generation of conservation stewards. Peggy and David were recognized for their “Jonathan Gilmour Memorial Scholarship Fund,” dedicated to their late son who was a zookeeper for five years at Zoo New England.

The goal of the scholarship fund is to perpetuate Jonathan’s passion by providing the opportunity for Zoo New England employees to pursue conservation projects, educational opportunities, research initiatives and other wildlife-focused efforts. Over the past 11 years, the scholarship has been awarded to 83 winners who have gone on to participate in projects as varied as reintroducing drill baboons back into the wild in Nigeria to monitoring endangered turtle populations in Massachusetts.

To fund the scholarship, Peggy and David established an annual Jonathan Gilmour Memorial Bike Ride & Walk in Hollis which has raised nearly $250,000 to ensure the scholarships will continue to benefit people and wildlife both locally and abroad for years to come.