Friday, January 30, 2009

What is your Green Pledge?

By Jaime Wilson, Green Team Member

This is our third year of asking Zoo Staff to make a Green Pledge. It's completely voluntary and just a way to get people to aim for a smaller environmental impact. Here are some for this year:

Edie (Marketing): Go Meat Free once a week, buy mostly organic or from farmers markets, reusable cups for coffee, change everything to online billing, reduce junk mail by signing up for

Pam (Development): Remember to take reusable bags into the grocery store EVERY time! Sign up to reduce junk mail at home, reduce the number of plastic cups I use at home, check the sustainable seafood list when eating/purchasing fish.

Meagan (Membership): Only use re-usable shopping bags, and to stop using paper towels in public restrooms.

Leslie (Animal Care): I am continuing with taking no bags from stores and all bulbs in new house have been changed to various forms of compact fluorescent. I also have no recycling at home now so I will continue to haul my recycling in.

Eveyln (Interpretive Center): My pledge is to bring my own bags to the grocery store as well as only use environmentally friendly cleaning products.

Patrice (Vet Hospital): Continue to nudge (not nag) my husband to use canvas bags for grocery shopping. Use biodegradable bags for my cat litter box and dog-walking clean up, AND carry gloves on my daily dog walks to pick up garbage in our path. Do all of my errands on the way home from work instead of going home first. Use a refillable coffee cup for my morning Starbuck's beverage, and to be more diligent about composting ALL of my compostable kitchen waste instead of throwing some stuff in the garbage just to save a trip out to the compost pile.

Michelle G. (Education): Decrease usage of plastic bags from a grocery store by 50 % and turning off lights in rooms not being used.

Lindsay (Membership): Use cloth diapers and wipes and to use reusable snack bags.

Jaime (Marketing): Continue to not buy bottled water (I'm on my third year :) Reclaim water from my shower while waiting for it to warm up, to water my plants. Have more of my bills be paperless.

What will your Green Pledge be for 2009? Here are just a few ideas! Let us know if you take the challenge and remember that even if you don't succeed in your goal, just being aware of your choices and how they affect the environment is a big step. Informed choices are the key!

  • Carpool once a week.
  • Ride your bike to work once a week.
  • Take a reusable coffee cup for your caffeine fix
  • Don't buy bottled water
  • Hook up your tv, dvd, stereo to a power strip and turn the strip off when not in use.
  • Try to go meat free once a week
  • Use washable dishes at work instead of disposable
  • Try to switch to natural cleaning products
  • Use reusable shopping bags (not just leave them in your trunk)
  • Offset your carbon footprint
  • Replace your lights with compact fluorescent (or LEDs!)
  • Go paperless with online billing
  • Sign up with to reduce your junk mail
  • Write a letter a month to your congress person telling them your environmental views
  • Try to reduce the disposable stuff you buy
  • Eat only sustainable seafood
  • Shop at the farmers market more often
  • Buy organic dairy
  • Eat more organic foods
  • Buy local produce
  • Sign up for a CSA (community supported agriculture) and get a box of veggies straight from the farm
  • Try to avoid fruits and veggies flown in from other countries
  • Invest in organic sheets and towels
  • reuse one-sided paper
  • Turn off the lights when you leave a room
  • Set your thermostat up 2 degrees in summer and down 2 degrees in winter
  • Sign up for green energy through your utility company
  • Use dish towels instead of paper towels
  • Only run full loads of dishes in the dishwasher and laundry in your washer
  • Wash your clothes in cold water
  • Make sure your windows and doors are sealed correctly
  • Buy Energy Star appliances
  • Start composting!!!
  • Use organic fertilizer in your garden

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I can see Kangaroos from my window!

By Marisa Hicks, (The Brand New) Marketing Coordinator

This is my third day working for the Sacramento Zoo; I feel like I am jumping up and down on the inside when I think about it. I am excited to be part of this special place. Everyone that I have met is really nice and they all love working here which is a really good sign when you start a new job!

Before these past three days I had no idea just how much they do here! Education, conservation, and on and on; visitors to the zoo are one part of the awesome puzzle and the people making it all happen have a passionate drive that is contagious. I have a lot to learn and I am looking forward to it. I can’t wait to be a part of all of the events that make this community great!

With this new beginning to a great start I would have to say that the highlight of the whole deal is that I can see Kangaroos outside my office window! That’s better than any view I have ever had from an office window; I don’t think that the novelty will ever wear off. This is going to be fun!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Afternoon Cat Naps

By Lauren Kraft, Zoo Photographer (today anyhow)

Walking through the Zoo in the afternoon, I often see many of our cats dozing in their favorite spots. Today the lions were sleeping on the sunny rock and the tiger was curled up in a shady corner of her exhibit. Many of the animals are resting in the afternoon; wouldn't you want to take a nap after your lunch if you could?

Did you know... all cats, including lions, tigers and your housecat can spend as much as twenty hours per day resting and sleeping!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Tortoise Chasing a Ball - Video Blog

By Jaime Wilson, De facto Zoo Videographer

Our reptile keeper Kate told me one day that I just had to come get video of our Spur-thighed tortoise with his ball. "Yeah, right.", I thought, "That will be just riveting video." (Note the high dose of sarcasm). But sometimes it's hard to get the keepers to call us when the cool animal things are happening, so I wasn't going to say no.

Armed with camera and video equipment, Lauren and I head out there to meet Kate. As soon as she steps into the exhibit, the Spur-thighed tortoise heads over to defend his territory. Kate sets the ball down and it starts to roll slowly down hill. Once the tortoise spots it, the game is on! I was surprised how quickly he chased it and how determined he was. Take a look. My money is on the tortoise.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Keeper Aid Volunteers

By Leslie Field, Animal Care Supervisor

The Sacramento Zoo provides unique opportunities for those who don’t mind getting a little dirty! Over 2008, 78 volunteers worked with our professional keeping staff (as Keeper-aide volunteers) and logged 3489 hours of helpful donated time.

These volunteers don rubber boots and work alongside the keepers in cleaning the animals’ exhibits, their dens, preparing diets, doing dishes, making enrichments and feeding the animals in 5 animal care areas.

Not a very glamorous way to spend your free time but it can be a very rewarding experience. With gas prices so high and people struggling with keeping their jobs, it may be that we see a dip in our volunteer force this year.

If you are interested in finding out about this program and other volunteering opportunities at the zoo, please email Valorie Schneider, our Volunteer Coordinator, call (916) 808-7444 or visit our Volunteer webpage.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Zoo Staff Are Stars! - Sort of...

By Jaime Wilson, Zoo Blog Keeper

Way back in October, we talked a lot about the Zoo's Wild Affair event. We have a live auction with some one-of-a-kind items and to help entertain the crowd and pump up the bidding, the Zoo staff does skits. From all the departments, staff members volunteer to come up with the skits, rehearse, find costumes and perform. Here for you viewing enjoyment some videos. And yes, we know we look silly.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Zoo Teens - Hosting Free Activities

By Amanda Castaneda, Education Manager

The next time you come to the Zoo on a weekend, get the most out of your visit by spending some time with the Zoo Teens! At our free activity stations, we help kids and their families do crafts, play games, and learn some unique and fun information. Our current stations focus on California Oak Trees, Frogs, and Burrowing Owls, with more to come. It's a great time of year to come to the Zoo because the crowds are small, so you can take your time and enjoy all we have to offer. Look for us near our large "Free Activity" signs set up throughout the Zoo, and come by and say "hi" the next time you are here!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Giraffe Story on KCRA3

by Lauren Kraft, Public Relations Coordinator

Cold Zoo Giraffes Will Soon Get New Home
Work On New Barn To Begin Soon

"SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Three Sacramento Zoo giraffes that now shiver as winter temperatures dip will soon get a new, warm $1.5 million barn.
But zoo director Mary Healy said the zoo still needs donations of money, materials and labor to make the project a reality for the three female giraffes.
Officials have spent the past three years raising money for the project. A groundbreaking is set for next month."

Read the full story and be sure to check out the video here or on the righthand side of the page.

Friday, January 9, 2009

How Green is Eileen?

By Zoo Blog Keeper

Here is a quick video of Eileen, our Zoofari Market gift store buyer, and how the Zoo has inspired her to be more green. On a personal note, Eileen has been working with the Zoo for years, and the Green Team is so proud of her for jumping headlong into becoming more eco-friendly in the gift store and in her life at home. She even had solar panels installed on her new home and is now making more energy than she consumes. Right on!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Year in (Web) Review

By Jaime Wilson, Web Development Coordinator

If you have read the Sac Zoo blog before, you probably know me at least a little. I head up our website and social media stuff which means, I blog a lot. As we start the new year, I am finally working through some numbers for 2008 and I was so excited, that I wanted to share them with you.

2008 was a leap-forward year for us in the web & tech areas. Our new website launched in May with so much more capability and integration, that it was (and still is) a whole new world for us. It changed the way we do business and how we can interact with our supporters, members, donors and daily visitors. Our daily average of website visitors jumped from around 2,000 on our old site to 6,000 in December 2008, and we surpassed last years totals in just 7 months since the launch (1.3 million visitors to the new site) .

We continued updating our blog a few times a week and have slowly grown our readership. It's always fun when you are talking to a visitor and they site the blog right back to you or when your mom calls, because like any proud parent, she always reads it.

My favorite new thing is all the video we have started creating and the homepage component that let our visitors tell their own story. Video is so much more compelling, and the baby lemurs grew up in front of our web visitors eyes. With over 23, 000 video views all over the world, our YouTube channel is doing well.

We just embarked on the social media journey and are still working on our presence on Facebook and Twitter. It has been a lot of fun finding Summer Camp Counselors on Facebook, following other zoo's on Twitter, and starting up a personal dialog with our supporters. We plan to be as active as we can on both!

We like to think of ourselves as one of the best small zoos around, but want our web presence to surpass the 14 acres that we live in. As we start 2009 some of the goals are to increase the video work and try to make it more professional. We are going to make the Kid's World area more kid-friendly with great graphics and photos. We are working on creating more fact sheets for the animals on the website. I want to do some giveaways for our Twitter followers and get our Facebook friends and fans more involved. And of course, keep our blog fresh, relevant and fun.

I am so excited by how far we have come in just one year! Thanks to all of you who read the blog, and don't be afraid of posting a comment ;) Once you start, it won't be so intimidating.

Please feel free to let me know what you would like to see in 2009 and ask me any questions you might have. Happy New Year!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Orangutan Video Blog

By Zoo Blog Keeper

Here is a little video of the Sacramento Zoo Sumatran orangutans foraging for seeds around their exhibit.