Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Party like it's a Chimpanzee Birthday

By Lauren Kraft, Public Relations Coordinator

There were big birthday presents, plates of birthday cake, decorations everywhere, and an excited birthday girl. However, this birthday girl happens to be an eight-year-old chimpanzee and her birthday presents are filled with fruit treats and edible flowers. The window paint is made with yogurt and food coloring. The Zoo keepers are always very creative when planning a chimpanzee party and go the extra step; Zoo keeper Allison even made the birthday cake herself.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Galapagos Trip

By Mary Healy, Zoo Director

In May 2008 I led a group of zoo friends to the Galapagos Islands as part of our Zoo Treks Program. The trip included touring the islands aboard a 16 passenger yacht. Each day included snorkeling and exploring a different island. The Galapagos Islands are known for their diversity of wildlife. Having no natural predators on the island, they are calm around visitors allowing close proximity and spectacular photo opportunities.

Here is a slideshow of just a few things that we saw.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Spreading "Green" Cheer

By Jaime Wilson, Green Team Member

On a recently frosty day, Michelle in our Admin office who is also a member of the Green Team, called me over in a very excited fashion. Since it's the holiday season, I assumed the Zoo received some sort of goodie basket that she wanted to share.

When I came in I was very surprised to see a very flat, unassuming box. I didn't know what the big deal was. And then I read the box.
"SSA wishes the Sacramento Zoo a very GREEN holiday season!"
Service System Associates is the company that we contract to run the Zoofari Market gift store and the Kampala Cafe & Catering. They do business with a lot of zoos and have been making huge efforts to make their business practices more environmentally friendly. Something that a lot of for-profit companies have a hard time with. Well, they've done it again.
Our gift box contained tools to help us reduce our energy usage and save $360 annually! Here is what we got
  • Three compact fluorescent bulbs
  • A water tank saver for your toilet to use less water
  • A smart power strip that stops your electronics from sucking energy even when they are turned off
  • A LED emergency light

We were so impressed, we just had to share. It is amazing how inventive people get when they are trying to make a difference. Thank you SSA for leading the way...we hope others follow.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Holiday Green Tips

By Gus the Green tree frog

Here are just a couple of small, green things you can do over the holidays!

Wrapping paper can be recycled as long as it is really paper.... Please note: foil, plastic backed wrapping paper and ribbon is garbage and contaminates the recycling process!

Take your Styrofoam one of Roseville's drop off locations. Check out our previous post for details.

Send holiday greetings to family and friends via e-mail.

Eliminate envelope waste by sending postcards or folding and sealing notes so you can address them on the outside.

Wrap gifts in fabric, comics or your own decorated, reused paper. Create special cloth gift bags or decorated boxes that can be reused and traded among family members each year.

Make gift tags or decorations from last year's holiday cards.

Make a New Year's resolution to do something more green.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Holiday Magic Slideshow

By Jaime Wilson, Zoo Blog Keeper

Well, after a threat of rain, Holiday Magic had perfect weather! A little chilly, but sunny most of the day. Here are the numbers!

  • 7 family and friends building enrichments
  • 8 bell ringers
  • 10 scheduled animal enrichments
  • 16 off-schedule animal enrichments
  • 18 donated Christmas trees
  • 1,329 visitors

Thanks to everyone who helped out and who came out to enjoy the day! Happy holidays!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Help a Family-in-Need

By Jaime Wilson, Zoo Blog Keeper

Working for a nonprofit is a labor of love. There is a level of dedication and compassion for the cause that surpasses anything I have seen in the corporate world. This often leaks out into other causes and charities that we have a soft spot for. I just want to take a moment to thank our staff for what they have done lately for others outside our Zoo family and highlight those great organizations.

Sacramento Food Bank
Throughout the month of November we collected dozens of barrels of food for families in need over the holidays. They need food all year round, so please continue supporting them.

Toys for Tots
The US Marine Corps collects new, unwrapped toys to distribute to needy kids in the community. The Zoo is a drop off location, and we will give you a free child's admission to say thanks.

Adopt a Family in Need
The Marketing Manager, Kim, found a family of eight through a local church that has been struggling and could use some help over the holidays. Pam, our Development Director has headed up the cause to collect clothes, toys, grocery gift cards and of course, a Sacramento Zoo Membership for the family. Next week they will play Santa and deliver all the gifts.

Warm Meal for the Homeless
After a recent holiday party for Zoo staff, we had leftover food that was most likely going to be thrown away. A handful of Zoo employees couldn't bear to see it wasted so they packaged the food up and shared it with some folks that may have not had a warm meal for quite a while. Thanks to Lara, Brooke, Art, Amanda, Brandon, Serina and Alison for having such big hearts!

Heifer International
Heifer International donates animals to people all over the world to improve their living condition. You can purchase a cow for family and they will be trained on how to raise it, care for it and use the milk. They also share that milk with neighbors. Some of the staff have voluntarily donated their portion of their end-of-year Trader Joe's gift card to Heifer International. Last year $800 was donated by the staff.

In this tough economic time, most everyone is sacrificing and struggling to some degree. I am grateful that there are great organizations out there for people to turn to when they find themselves in need. Please consider supporting one of them to help a family less fortunate than your own. It is a season of charity and compassion and I am once again very proud to be part of an organization that values both.

Here are some more of our favorites:
Sacramento Crisis Nursery
Loaves and Fishes
Coats for Kids

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Zoo Newsletter Gets Digital

by Lauren Kraft, Maagizo Editor

Check out the latest edition of the Zoo's quarterly newsletter, now online! The Maagizo always has great information about new animals, behind-the-scenes activities, stories from Zoo staff and much more.

In this issue find out about our new chimpanzee Doug; learn about the challenges the veterinary staff faces when working with chimps; and find some great holiday shopping ideas.

Although the magazine has always been available on our website, it was only in a pdf version. Reading a pdf is not always easy on your pc screen, so we worked all day getting an online version ready that is easy to navigate and fun to read. It was a bit of a challange to translate the printed copy to the web, but we hope you enjoy it!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Conservation Carousel Coming Spring 2009!

By Jaime Wilson, Zoo Blog Keeper

After working at the Zoo for awhile, everyone finds a pet project or idea that they love. Every time we talk about new things to bring to the Zoo, we all step up with our ideas in hand. Not all of them can be done at one time, so we bring them back again, and again, and again. After a while, you are known for the idea.

Case in point. Our fabulous little electric train was the pet project of Harriet, our Business Manager. She loved it, knew it would be a hit, and a great investment. We all call it Harriet's Train!

Our Curator, Jim has wanted a carousel for as long as I can remember. Not a cheesy carnival carousel, but a gorgeous, hand-carved carousel of exotic and endangered animals. Year after year he would bring it up, until he had enough support and the opportunity.

All the staff weighed in on what animals to have. Some were easy: giraffe, tiger, hippo, snow leopard. Some were more, well, original: dung beetle, okapi, wart hog, mandrill. Every one of the animals is one of a kind, made just for the Sacramento Zoo. We already have the jaguar and flamingo at the Zoo as ambassadors.

Jim's Conservation Carousel will be coming in Spring of 2009, so make sure to come out and see it. It really is a work of art.

Sponsorships of each animal will also be available starting on January 5th. Find out more about the Carousel and sponsorships at the Conservation Carousel webpage.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Holiday Magic December 13th

By Jaime Wilson, Web Development Coordinator

No where in my job description is there a line that says, "Build presents and deliver trees to the animals". But being a nonprofit, the employees wear many hats. Which means that sometimes I get to step away from my computer, my constant Internet connection, my igoogle and everything else to actually go outside and do something.

Holiday Magic is one of my favorite events of the year. The whole day is dedicated to watching the Zoo animals get holiday treats. This is fun for a few different reasons.

1) On most days Zoo animals get enrichments -something to keep them active and thinking. But usually the visitors either don't get to see it, or don't know what they are seeing. On Holiday Magic, we schedule one every half hour and have our fabulous Interpretive Center staff out there to talk to the visitors, explain what is going on and answer questions.

2) Every Zookeeper wants something made for the animals in their section. It is really fun coming up with new ideas with them, and being able to get everything together for them, so all they have to do is pass them out during the day. This year, our new thing is pine cone reindeer. Pine cones with sticks to make them look like reindeer, with cooked jams crammed into the open spaces with raisins and seeds. It will take a while for the monkeys to dig all the goodies out of them.

3) My volunteers! I have a core group of volunteers (specifically, my family and friends), that do my bidding at our huge Wild Affair event in October. It's a grueling 14 hour day for them, but they always come through. They get to come back on Holiday Magic and work a measly few hours making all these enrichments and then help deliver them. They have a blast, and it's my way of giving them a fun volunteer job to make up for Wild Affair.

So, I hope to see you at Holiday Magic on Saturday, December 13. We open the gates at 10 am and best of all, if you are Sac Zoo Member, it's all free to you! If you're not a member, it's all included with your Zoo admission. See the whole schedule on our Holiday Magic webpage.

See you there! I will be the one in the Santa hat with cute little ears sewn on it, delivering presents.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

ThankZoo, Thank You & Sac Food Bank

By Jaime Wilson, Zoo Blog Keeper

The day after Thanksgiving was a free admission day a the Zoo (ThankZoo) and wow, did we get a lot of people. There were over 10,000 visitors that came through our gates and enjoyed the Zoo with their families.

We asked folks to bring a canned food item to benefit the Sacramento Food Bank, and the response was fantastic! In that one day, we filled up the 10 barrels from the Sac Food Bank, and then had to go find empty recycle bins that we lined with plastic and filled. With a total of 16 full barrels of food, we were very thankful for our kind hearted guests.

The Marines also collected 4 barrels of toys for their Toys for Tots drive that will last for the next couple of weeks. If you bring in a new, unwrapped toy through December 13th, you will receive a free child's admission to the Zoo.

Thank you to everyone who donated items! It will help so many families enjoy the holidays this year.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Shop Amazon to Support the Zoo

By Jaime Wilson, Zoo Blog Keeper

Here is a great little way to support the Zoo this holiday season. Shop! Yup, that's it. If you do any shopping on, just start off at our homepage and click on the Amazon logo on the right side. Now when you browse around, choose your items and check out, it will know you came from our homepage and Amazon will donate part of your purchases back to the Zoo. It's just that easy.

Or just click on the Amazon logo below.

Every time you shop on Amazon, start at our website and help us earn money all throughout the year! Happy Shopping!