Zoo Boise Reaches Global Conservation Milestone in 2016

Moffatt Thomas attorney, Clay Gill, served as Board Chairman of Friends of Zoo Boise when Zoo Boise Director, Steve Burns, developed a program to support global conservation efforts.  This year, 2016, Zoo Boise will reach a milestone – having raised $2 million to fund conservation efforts across the planet.  “Zoo Boise has taken the lead in what started as a controversial economic model but has resulted in a major success story.”

The following is an excerpt of an article that appeared in the June 15, 2016 edition of Boise Weekly:


Written by George Prentice

Sometime this month—maybe next week, possibly the week after—someone will walk through the gates of Zoo Boise and the organization will achieve a milestone.

“We’ll hit the $2 million mark,” said Zoo Boise Director Steve Burns.

“It’s quite… Well, that’s quite remarkable, isn’t it?” he said.

The $2 million isn’t earmarked for the zoo or its exhibits, although Zoo Boise has significant needs, and its plans for growth are considerable. Instead, the $2 million will leave Boise to fund conservation efforts across the planet in an effort to save the very species zoo attendees love to visit.

“We have to do it. Society is changing and has higher expectations,” said Burns. “People ask, ‘Why do we have animals at the zoo in the 21st century?’ It’s a good question. For us, the answer is because these animals help us generate hundreds of thousands of dollars every year to help us protect their wild counterparts and, now, we’ve reached $2 million. That’s our mission now.”

It wasn’t and isn’t always the case. Many American zoos and aquariums don’t collect or send funds outside their gates to help with global conservation efforts. What’s more, Zoo Boise has taken the lead in what started as a controversial economic model but has resulted in a major success story. Its roots can be traced directly to Burns.

“I don’t know if many people really know what a global force of nature Steve Burns is,” said renowned animal biologist Dr. William Robichaud. “I’ve seen him speak before global organizations of zoos, and he’s the guy saying, ‘We need to be, foremost, conservation organizations—not just amusement parks with animals.”

Zoo Boise’s conservation efforts began about 10 years ago when Burns was thinking about leaving the zoo. He had applied for a job with a well known conservation nonprofit and when Clay Gill, then-board chairman of Friends of Zoo Boise, asked Burns why he would leave, Burns explained his passion was in conservation.

“That’s when Clay Gill gave me the greatest professional gift I ever received. He said, ‘If you want to focus on conservation, I’ll support you,’” said Burns. “It gave me permission to think differently about the zoo. It took me a few months to wrap my head around it, and then it came to me: a quarter.”

Twenty-five cents may not seem significant but, $2 million later, it has literally saved the lives of some of our planet’s most vulnerable creatures.


Read the rest of the story by clicking here.  Boise

 C. Clayton (“Clagill_clay_7425y”) Gill is a business and employment lawyer in the Boise offices of the law firm Moffatt Thomas, and acts as outside general counsel for many small and medium-sized companies. His business and financial background makes him a strong candidate for all commercial litigation matters.  On the transactional front, his experience in corporate formation, corporate governance, commercial contracts, employment law, and insurance makes him an ideal candidate for small or medium sized companies looking for an outside general counsel. Mr. Gill is a member of the Moffatt Thomas Board of Directors. Martindale Hubbell has awarded him the premier AV Preeminent Peer-Reviewed Rating.  He is the recipient of the 2004 Idaho Business Review 40 Accomplished Under 40 award.  Chambers and Partners has recognized Clay for his expertise in litigation. (Chambers and Partners identifies and ranks the most outstanding law firms and lawyers in over 180 jurisdictions throughout the world.)  Mr. Gill is a member of the Moffatt Thomas Board of Directors. He can be reached at Moffatt Thomas by calling 208.345.2000.