AIA Newark and Suburban Celebrates Their 40 Or More Year Members In A Wild Way

June 7, 2022

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AIA Newark and Suburban Celebrates Their 40 Or More Year Members In A Wild Way

On Thursday, June 2, 2022, AIA Newark and Suburban met at the African Savanna Cafe at The Turtle Back Zoo to give special recognition to AIANS Members who have been with the AIA for 40 years or longer! The organization president, Christy DiBartolo, AIA, presented certificates the following recipients, many of who attended in person:

David V. Abramson, AIA

Peter I. Biber, AIA

Jerome Leslie Eben, FAIA

Thomas F. Ercolano, AIA Emeritus

Joseph Flock, AIA

Philip J. Iannitto, AIA

Allen R. Kopelson, AIA

Stephen Majewski, AIA

Ronald A. Meeks, AIA

Laurence E. Parisi, AIA Emeritus

James J. Ramenthal, AIA

Francisco Salas, AIA

Stephen W. Schwartz, AIA Emeritus

Jose M. Songco, AIA Emeritus

Kenneth J. Stoyack, AIA





The program also included walking tours of the Turtle Back Zoo highlighting recent renovations and how those improvements have increased zoo attendance. The program was guided by Lorrie Sciabarasi, AIA, from Comito Associates, PC, and Michael J. Piga, Landscape Architect from French & Parrello Associates. Expansion, particularly the new Africa Adventure Exhibit, has allowed the zoo to incorporate more unique animals, such as the zoo’s tallest residents, Masai giraffes!

Essex County reports that “Turtle Back Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) and the giraffes are here as part of the AZA Species Survival Plan (SSP). SSPs have coordinated plans to manage the genetic diversity of animal species held in AZA zoos. In support of this plan, TBZ’s exhibit features a bachelor herd of four Masai males.

The African Adventure exhibit was constructed to make the animals feel perfectly at home. It features three acres of land designed to mimic the African savanna, a climate-controlled barn with special flooring, giraffe-height windows and adjustable hay racks. It also has multiple viewing areas so everyone can get a good look at all the exhibit has to offer! While the giraffes are the stars of this area, don’t miss the other animals from the savanna, including, eland, tortoises, ostriches, and smaller bird species.”


AIA Newark and Suburban Event Sponsors Included:


According to the Essex County Turtle Back Zoo, they “partnered with the non-profit Sea Turtle Recovery to help care for sick and injured sea turtles.  This partnership has been an ongoing success and has shown how organizations can work together to save threatened and endangered species.

In 2016, a 4,000 square foot care facility was constructed with generous contributions from Prudential, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of NJ, PSE&B and Matrix Development Group, and helps fulfill the zoo’s mission of conserving and protecting the environment.

All five species of sea turtles found in the Atlantic Ocean are threatened by pollution, plastic ingestion and boat strikes, and they are losing natural nesting and feeding sites because of coastal development. Sea turtle strandings in the Northeast Region of the United States is on the rise, and Sea Turtle Recovery is the only organization permitted to provide long-term care for sick and injured sea turtles in the state.

The hospital provided by and built at Essex County Turtle Back Zoo has five recovery tanks, life support systems, and an intensive care unit for more critically injured turtles. Zoo visitors will be able to see less critical patients while learning about the perils sea turtles face and what the public can do to help. Once the turtles have regained their health, they will be released into their natural habitat.”

Many members had not visited the zoo since they were children and were delighted with the exotic experience as well as the delight in celebrating many of the longest-running members of the organization. It was a grand occasion. 

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