September 20, 2016

Squam Lakes Natural Science Center Receives Accreditation from Association of Zoos and Aquariums

Squam Lakes Natural Science Center announces it has been granted accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) independent Accreditation Commission.

To be accredited, the Science Center underwent a thorough review to assure it has and will continue to meet rising standards, which include animal care and welfare, veterinary programs, conservation, education, and safety. AZA requires zoos and aquariums to successfully complete the rigorous accreditation process every five years in order to be members of the Association.

The accreditation process includes a detailed application and a meticulous on-site inspection by a team of trained zoo and aquariums professionals. The Science Center’s on-site inspection took place in May. The inspecting team observed all aspects of operations, including animal care and welfare; keeper training; safety for visitors, staff, and animals; educational programs; conservation efforts; veterinary programs; financial stability; risk management; visitor services; and other areas. Science Center Executive Director Iain MacLeod attended a formal hearing of AZA’s independent Accreditation Commission on September 8 in San Diego, where he found out the Science Center has been granted accreditation for a third five-year period.

“The Association of Zoos and Aquariums accredits only those zoos and aquariums that meet the highest standards. By achieving AZA-accreditation, Squam Lakes Natural Science Center demonstrates that it is dedicated to protecting species and educating its visitors about the natural world,” said AZA Interim President and CEO Kris Vehrs. “The community can take great pride in knowing that the Science Center is dedicated to inspiring the next generation of conservationists.”

Squam Lakes Natural Science Center first received accreditation in 2006 and applied for and was granted accreditation again in 2011. They continue to be the only institution in northern New England to be accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

2016 has been a big year for Squam Lakes Natural Science Center with celebrations throughout the year for its fiftieth anniversary; publication of two nature books; the opening of the new Water Matters Pavilion, which includes 18 water-related exhibits and live animals; and more visitors learning about New Hampshire nature than ever before.

Squam Lakes Natural Science Center has added many improvements and expansions over the past few years at the culmination of the Nature Matters capital campaign, which raised $4 million to help secure the future of the Science Center. The campaign funded new exhibits including Wood Energy, the Gordon Interactive Playscape, and Water Matters Pavilion, in addition to improving the behind-the-scenes living quarters for program raptors. The campaign also raised money to maintain facilities and exhibits in the future, and added to reserve funds.

“We are thrilled to have this recognition of our hard work and devotion to the highest possible industry standards,” said Iain MacLeod, Executive Director. “It is a testament to our staff, volunteers, and visitors, who throughout our history, have helped make the Science Center into the impressive institution it is today.”

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