We are excited to share an update from the Pat Gives Back Team about the 2024 annual workshop trip:

It is part of our mission to inspire and educate, not just in Southeast Wisconsin but beyond. Our mission was on full display on Jan. 24 and 25 in Belize. At The Belize Zoo & Tropical Education Center, a two-day workshop was held for the first time with a new theme: “Empathy for Wildlife.” We are proud to share that national media came out to cover the workshop and the new stories are embedded below. The objective of empathy engagement is to foster a profound understanding and appreciation for all living beings, emphasizing that each species plays a fundamental role in the collective effort to preserve both biodiversity and our planet.

About Pat Gives Back

Annually, the Pat Gives Back team hosts zookeeper training workshops at The Belize Zoo around January. Pat Gives Back is officially the flagship conservation program of the Zoological Society of Milwaukee (ZSM) and the Milwaukee County Zoo (MCZ).

The workshops that are held are all part of the Pat Gives Back jaguar conservation initiative which has been championed by the Zoo’s big cat Zookeeper team with support from the Society and our donors.

The Pat Gives Back Team

The Pat Gives Back team pictured here with their luggage of veterinary supplies, workshop materials, books, boots, backpacks, and rain gear (among other supplies!) for our partners in the field. Pictured: ZSM Conservation Coordinator Auriana Donaldson, ZSM Manager of Innovation and Community Engagement Isabelle Bieser, and MCZ Big Cat Country Area Supervisor Sheri Robb-Guay

About the Empathy for Wildlife Workshop

For the first time, the Belize workshop trip funded by Pat Gives Back included a workshop to teach empathy for wildlife best practices. This specific workshop is an effort to promote wildlife conservation in Belize and was co-led by Isabelle Bieser, ZSM Manager of Innovation and Community Engagement, and The Belize Zoo’s educator Noellie Chable. This two-day offering brought together Belizean outreach professionals from across the country to learn together, many whom included our partners in the field for the Pat Gives Back program. Attendees represent the Maya Forest Corridor Trust, WCS, Ya’axché Conservation Trust, and the Belize Forestry Department, among other conservation non-governmental organizations.

Empathy For Wildlife Workshop

Isabelle Bieser (ZSM Manager of Innovation and Community Engagement, arms crossed) engages participants during the Empathy for Wildlife workshop at The Belize Zoo & Tropical Education Center.

Watch the Stories

Please take a moment to view the videos as they are excellent coverage of the on-the-ground conservation and education efforts which are a centerpiece of Pat Gives Back. These videos also give a great summary of the initiative and include interviews with our staff, our partners and staff from The Belize Zoo.

7 News Belize: “Teaching Humans Empathy for Animals”
News 5 Live: “NGOs Gather for Wildlife Empathy Workshop”

We could not be more proud of everyone who leads and supports our cherished conservation program, Pat Gives Back!