A group of supporters from around the region has joined forces to create Beardsley Zoo’s second annual Endangered Species Gala, designed to raise money to support many endangered species and enhance habitats. The Gala Committee, chaired by Kathleen A. MacGhee of Shelton, is planning this year’s evening gala to be held on Saturday, Nov. 2, at The Patterson Club in Fairfield.

Committee members include Bernadette Baldino of Trumbull, Lisa Croce of Milford, Cathy Glennon of Fairfield, Jennifer McIntosh of Hamden, Donna Rosenbloom of Weston, Claudette Kunkes of Fairfield, Gail Craig of Huntington, Suzanne Vick of Ansonia, Jessica Summers of Fairfield, Jessica Taylor of Stamford, Lisa Clair of Fairfield and Michelle Walker of Fairfield.

“This is the second annual Gala for the Zoo, back by popular demand,” said MacGhee, committee chair. “Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is doing important species protection work that we wanted to celebrate. Once you realize the steps that are being taken by Connecticut’s only zoo to help sustain the future of wildlife, it’s important to help them continue their work.”

“The evening will feature cocktails, a seated dinner, a live and silent auction, and special entertainment. Come meet the zoo’s animal ambassadors along with animal experts who can answer questions and share information about the zoo’s mission,” added MacGhee.

The gala’s guest speaker is Richard E. Hyman, an aquanaut, author, educator and environmentalist. He served aboard Jacques Cousteau’s famed ship Calypso as a diver, photographer and navigator. His first book, Frogmen, shares his experiences. Hyman is chairman and president of Future Frogmen, Inc, a nonprofit focused on education and exploration of “our water planet.” He often videoconferences with schools worldwide on topics such as ocean exploration and climate change, and co-authors curriculum used in more than 1,000 schools, most recently, a collaboration with Jane Goodall. His topic for the evening is “Protect What You Love.” Hyman lives with his family in Weston.

The evening’s master of ceremonies is Evan Kaufman, a comedian and actor. He created the web series “Dude Turned Dad,” stars in the award-winning improvised musical Your Love, Our Musical! and has appeared on The Break with Michelle Wolf. Kaufman is a native of Redding.

The birth this year of two Amur leopard cubs, the world’s rarest big cat, has helped to focus attention on the zoo’s participation in the Species Survival Plan (SSP), a species management program administered by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) for its member zoos. Beardsley Zoo is home to a number of endangered species, including two Amur tigers, both born at the zoo, in addition to red and Mexican gray wolves, spider monkeys, Chacoan peccaries, golden-lion tamarins, and red pandas. A number of other zoo residents are considered vulnerable or threatened.

“Today’s zoos are dedicated to conservation, research, education, and recreation,” said the zoo’s director, Gregg Dancho. “As animals continue to disappear in the wild, and as the ‘wild’ itself disappears due to deforestation and human interaction, the role of accredited zoos becomes more important.”

“Our mission to educate and contribute to conservation efforts is helped in a very large way by our volunteers and committee members,” Dancho added. “We’re grateful for their assistance.”

For tickets, at $250, contact Jessica Taylor at jtaylor@beardsleyzoo.org, or call 203-394-5522.