Lehigh Valley Zoo chosen chamber biz of the year
An armadillo is a tough act to follow.
When Sherry Peters of the Lehigh Valley Zoo, Schnecksville, accepted the Business of the Year Award from the Whitehall Area Chamber of Commerce recently, she brought along a three-banded armadillo.
"We're really happy and really excited to be accepting this award," Peters said. "It does show the Lehigh Valley Zoo does matter."
As she spoke, the armadillo, which was about the size of a cantaloupe, squirmed in her hands.
She told the approximately 100 chamber members the zoo conducted a survey to find out why the zoo matters.
Families said it provides them a chance to spend time together. Teachers said the zoo is educational. Environmentalists said the zoo aids conservation.
"It's never easy to follow an armadillo," quipped Congressman Charlie Dent, R-15th, who addressed the gathering after Peters.
He called the zoo a "great asset to community" and praised zoo personnel for working hard to continue to provide their services during difficult economic times.
Ellen Kern from the office of state Sen. Pat Browne, R-16th, called the zoo the "crown jewel of the Lehigh Valley."
"I don't think a lot of people realize what's in our own backyard," she said.
The zoo has been a chamber member since 2010. When Peters and Miranda Clark bring zoo animals, such as the armadillo, the chamber luncheons draw the largest crowds.
The zoo, headed by President and CEO Rick Molchany, is a nonprofit organization accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
Those that are accredited represent the top 10 percent of zoos in the United States, said Caitlin Stibitz of Cetronia Ambulance Corps, when presenting the awards.