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Zoo New York Executive Director announces retirement

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) – Zoo New York Executive Director Lawrence Sorel is retiring after nearly six years in charge.

News of Sorel stepping down came in a press release made public on Thursday, November 9. While Sorel will be stepping out of the leadership role immediately, he will continue to be available on a volunteer basis to consult and advise.

Sorel’s first experience in Thompson Park came in 1998 when he assisted in clean up and
repair of the Zoo following the ice storm. He moved to Watertown in 2018, after 20+ successful
years at Rochester’s Seneca Park Zoo as their executive director.

As his “retirement passion project,” Mr. Sorel has exceeded the 5-year commitment that he offered the Conservancy, but before announcing his retirement, he wanted to ensure that the Zoo had funding secured to persist through the slower winter season and give the community time to seek a sustainable long-term model of operation.

The Conservancy and our community owe a heartfelt debt of gratitude to Larry and Darlene for
their countless hours, selfless efforts, and steadfast leadership during the last 5 plus challenging
years. We would not have a zoo today without Larry’s hard work and contributions. We look
forward to working with him as we transition duties and continue pursuit of a long-term
sustainable model for the Zoo.

Dr. Mark Irwin, Thompson Park Conservancy Board Chair

Zoo New York is trying to find a way to remain open after closing its doors in late October. A decision will be made in late winter about its future.

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