The principal at Mayfair Financial in Chicago, Joseph “Joe” Petry offers his clients a variety of strategic financial planning and investment services. His career has encompassed extensive work in academia as a professor of economics at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, and he has served on community boards focusing on wilderness areas and public parks. Notably, as a board member of the Illinois Association of Park Districts (IAPD) from 2006 to 2015, Joseph Petry helped connect people more closely with their local parks.
The IAPD serves as a major player in the task of providing grant money to a variety of parks throughout the state, working to strengthen intergovernmental alliances and to maintain a public conversation on the value of open space as a public good. As a nonprofit, the association offers research and education in service to conservation and park district leaders, and to the public.
The Scovill Zoo in Decatur is among the IAPD’s affiliated parks, and, like many other venues, it has devoted extensive time to planning for a safe and full reopening as the COVID-19 pandemic levels off.
Ahead of the April 2, 2021 reopening of some of its most popular attractions, the zoo partnered with hundreds of other zoos and aquariums nationwide to host a live-streamed All Together for Animals benefit concert – featuring stars such as Brad Paisley and Wynona – on March 31. Proceeds replace critically needed funding for members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which have suffered an estimated collective loss of some $1.5 billion over the course of the pandemic.
The reopening provides safe public access to the zoo’s Endangered Species Carousel, Z.O.&O. Express Train, and additional animal-observation areas. Safety protocols in place include now-standard wearing of face masks, access to hand sanitizer stations, and social distancing on rides and throughout the park.