Beginning Jan. 18, 2022, the Zoo is open Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Entry passes are required for all guests, including infants. All visitors ages 2 and older are required to wear a mask in all indoor spaces at the Zoo, regardless of their vaccination status. Fully vaccinated visitors do not need to wear a mask in outdoor areas. Select animal buildings remain closed.

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Iara Lacher, Ph.D.

Program Lead, Changing Landscapes Initiative
Ph.D., University of California, Davis

Iara Lacher is a landscape ecologist and program lead with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute's Changing Landscapes Initiative. She has an interdisciplinary background in policy and environmental management, which she leverages into applied biodiversity and conservation research on the factors that influence the distribution and diversity of species across landscapes.

Lacher earned a Ph.D. in ecology from the University of California, Davis, where her dissertation evaluated the climatic responses of native plant species and the use of species distribution models to predict extinction risk. Her current work combines scenario planning and spatially explicit land-use models to illustrate how different land-use features may impact biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Recent Publications: 
Ahmadisharaf, Ebrahim,Lacher, Iara L.,Fergus, Craig,Benham, Brian L.,Akre, Thomas,Kline, Karen S. 2020. Projecting land use change impacts on nutrients, sediment and runoff in multiple spatial scales: Business-as-usual vs. stakeholder-informed scenarios. Journal of Cleaner Production, Article 120466. 10.1016/j.jclepro.2020.120466
Cove, Michael V.,Fergus, Craig,Lacher, Iara,Akre, Thomas,McShea, William J. 2019. Projecting Mammal Distributions in Response to Future Alternative Landscapes in a Rapidly Transitioning Region. Remote Sensing, 2482–2482. 10.3390/rs11212482
Lacher, Iara,Akre, Thomas,McShea, William J.,Fergus, Craig. 2019. Spatial and temporal patterns of public and private land protection within the Blue Ridge and Piedmont ecoregions of the eastern US. Landscape and Urban Planning, 91–102. 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2019.02.008