Strategic Plan

The David Traylor Zoo engaged the team of GLMV Architecture/GLMV Zoos, Zoo Management and the Emporia Friends of the Zoo Board of Directors to conduct an integrated strategic planning process that would provide a strategic roadmap for the Zoo for the near future and concepts for the longer term. The project began in the summer of 2018 and concluded in the summer of 2019.

Planning Phases

The strategic planning process comprised of four phases:

  • Discovery: Where are we now?
  • Dreaming: Given no boundaries, where can we go?
  • Reality: What can we accomplish?
  • Action: How do we get there?

Each phase included a site visit with workshops and leadership team meetings, with conference calls to review progress and confirm the direction in between site visits.

Zoo Team

At the onset of the process, GLMV worked with David Traylor Zoo leadership to identify a planning team that would help guide the process and keep it grounded. This team supported developed, served as liaison with other staff and board, managed logistical needs, participated in all workshops and regularly communicated with one another to ensure that the process was on track. The Zoo team included the following:

  • Lisa Keith, Zoo Director
  • Colleen Mitchell, Education Coordinator
  • Rick Mitchell, EFOZ President
  • Mark Lee, Horticulturist
  • Rob Gilligan, City Commissioner
  • Mark McAnarney, City Manager
  • Elizabeth Brannan, Animal Collection Manager

For GLMV Zoos, Craig Rhodes served as project lead and Lori Guthridge also participated.

Community Outreach

More than a dozen personal interviews were conducted with representatives from the City of Emporia, Lyon County, Chamber of Commerce, Emporia State University, Emporia Friends of the Zoo, Emporia Community Foundation, Convention and Visitors Bureau, Flinthills Technical College, North and South Lyon County Schools, plus additional informal interviews with Zoo staff. To broaden our reach into the community, we also reached into the community with visits to all of the schools in the Emporia School District Number 253, North Lyon County District Number 251 and South Lyon County District Number 252 and also to community organizations such as the Rotary Club, Kiwanis Club, Hispanics of Today and Tomorrow, Flinthills Optimist Club, Sertoma Club, Altrusa and the Lions Club.

Results from this outreach yielded the following information and interests of the many stakeholders:

  • David Traylor Zoo is a very valuable asset to the community
    • A great place to take out-of-town guests
    • Good relationship with City, State, local organizations
    • Emporia State University partnerships are exceptional
    • Great education programs; especially Zoo Camp and Safari Edventure
    • The botanical displays are exceptional
  • More charismatic animals; upgrade and increase size of older exhibits
    • Otters
    • Wallaby
    • Kookaburra
    • Walk-through Aviary
    • Children's areas (playground)
  • Engaging experiences
    • Walk-through aviary
    • Nature play
    • Animal feeding; talks
    • Immersive animal exhibits
    • Touch tank
  • Increased Guest Comfort
    • Accessibility
    • Parking
    • Entrance visibility
    • Unisex/Family restroom
  • Programming
    • Programs for older adults, special needs individuals
    • Additional rental venues
    • More animal presentations/talks
    • More on-site docent in zoo stations

These findings, together with background organizational data, ultimately informed the development of goals and objectives.

The David Traylor Zoo saves wildlife and envisions a world where everyone lives sustainably with wildlife and their habitats.