Miami Rotarians belong in a zoo
Members of the newly chartered Rotary Club of Miami Metrozoo meet at the zoo and support its residents -- in this case, a 9-foot-long Burmese python weighing in at 100 pounds. Photo courtesy Rotary Club of Miami Metrozoo
W hen Rotarians decided to start a new club in Miami, the location they chose was zoo-logical. The Rotary Club of Miami Metrozoo, chartered in October, meets at the city’s zoo, in the Zoological Society of Florida building.
The club will be at the center of the action, predicts charter president William B. Tuttle, when the Miami-Dade Parks and Recreation Department builds an entertainment complex, water park, and hotel next to the Miami Metrozoo. A south campus of the University of Miami and a military museum are also slated for the area.
“This is going to be a tourist destination,” Tuttle says. “It will be great for businesspeople to come here and network.”
The location is also pretty handy for Tuttle, the zoo’s exhibits and graphics coordinator – the club meets steps from his office.
“It’s the most convenient club I’ve ever been in,” he says. Another member, Conrad Schmitt, is the facility’s curator of mammals, and the club’s first noncharter member, Jeri Phillips, grew up in the neighborhood. “I’ve been on these grounds since I was six or seven,” she says. “I’m thrilled to be at the zoo.”
One of the club’s first speakers was Ron Magill, Miami Metrozoo communications director, who is well known for his appearances on programs such as Good Morning America and the Late Show with David Letterman . In May, members organized a softball tournament and family festival to raise money to buy ShelterBoxes for Haiti and to promote the zoo’s conservation programs. The Rotarians also sponsor an Interact club.
For Carol Nobles, the challenges of starting the new club were part of the appeal.
“I like to be on the ground floor of an organization,” she says. “I like to look back and see where I’ve been.”
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