The Staten Island Zoo’s “Critters Corner” exhibit has been brought back to life thanks to a generous Staten Island developer who donated funds to complete the restoration.
What’s more, a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony with Humberto Lopes, a real estate developer from Egbertville, his family and zoo officers, made it all the more official.
Humberto, a frequent benefactor of the zoo who’s lent his support to the West Brighton cultural’s “SPOOKTACULAR” for some 10 years now, saw fit to donate more than $20,000 to the cause, and shared the celebratory occasion with his wife, Jeanette, and four sons, Matt, Miles, Maven and Maverick.
“We donated all the materials for ‘SPOOKTACULAR’ and purchased all the supplies for them to build the scenery — and we’re doing it again this year,” Humberto said.
“I actually met Deputy Borough President Ed Burke about 10 years ago through the Susan Wagner High School of the Performing Arts, when my son was part of the group, and we started talking about the Staten Island Zoo. I’m a lover of animals as well.”
But Humberto’s generosity didn’t stop at the zoo: He donated a laptop and several computers to the Library Room at PS 18, as well as donating musical instruments to PS 65, both in West Brighton.
“Last year, Mr. Lopes contributed $5,000 to our school to help us grow our Music department,” said Principal Sophie Scamardella. “Our school focuses on implementing arts into the curriculum to build students’ strengths and self-esteem.”
She said his donation enabled them to purchase additional percussion musical instruments to expand the school band, two wireless receivers, and a new PA sound system with body microphones for their choral groups and musical theater performances.
And over at PS 18 Humberto donated ChromeBooks and printers to the library.
In thanking Humberto, Sandra Ehrlich, director of operations support at PS 18, said: “The students were delighted to meet you and so excited about the new ChromeBooks. Have a very Merry Christmas and all the best in the new year.”
Humberto is married to Jeanette, whom he says is a special part of his business success. The couple have four sons.