What do a leopard, penguin and kangaroo have in common?
They are all part of the group of animals that famed conservationist and animal expert Jack Hanna and his assistants brought to visit the Port Royal Sound Foundation Maritime Center on Saturday.
Jack Hanna, the famous American zoologist, is the guest speaker for the third annual Night on the Sound, which is a very important fundraiser for the Port Royal Sound Foundation.
Every year the event has sold out, but this year the tickets for both the Night on the Sound event and the children’s event, which is in its inaugural year, sold out months before the events on Oct. 21. It was the fastest that the Port Royal Sound Foundation has sold tickets for an event.
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“We have had amazing speakers the past two years,” Alicia Powell, director or development with the Port Royal Sound Foundation, said. “But I really have no idea how we are going to top this year.”
The money raised from the event goes directly to the Port Royal Sound Foundation and the Maritime Center and allows them to continue their mission of education and conservation of the Port Royal Sound.
“It’s not all about fundraising, this event is designed to make friends.” Powell said, “because without friends and without support we wouldn’t be here.”
Hanna will be giving the keynote speech at the fundraising event on Saturday night and will be showing off a few of his animals as well.
On Saturday morning, Hanna’s assistants, who all work at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, gave a group of kids who signed up and bought tickets ahead of time a sneak peek at the animals that will be showcased by Hanna during the nighttime fundraiser.
During the morning event, while the highlight for most of the children was getting to see exotic animals such as the clouded leopard, cheetah and an African black-footed penguin, the message throughout the program was the importance of conservation and education.
The children at the morning event thoroughly enjoyed themselves, though, gasping with excitement every time a new animal, most of which were under a year old, was brought out for them to see.
“Teaching children about conservation and protection of these animals at an early age is very important,” Powell said.
In a recent interview with CH2 magazine, Hanna said that he accepted the Port Royal Sound Foundation’s invitation to speak because he is very impressed with what they are doing.
“I have a saying, ‘Touch the heart to teach the mind.’ You can read all you want to and watch all my shows you want to, but to touch the heart, teach the mind, go to a zoological park. Go to places like the Port Royal Sound Foundation. Then you’ll understand, because these folks are taking you out there. That’s what we do in the zoological world and the aquarium world. That’s why I’m excited about coming there,” Jack Hanna said.
Hanna will be speaking to a group of more than 300 guests on Saturday night, and the majority of the animals that he has brought with him are not native to the U.S. and are endangered or protected.
“This event is very important because not only does it raise dollars, but it raises awareness,” Powell said. “It brings folks into the center and they get to see first hand what we do here.”
Delayna Earley: 843-706-8151