Sunday, March 29, 2009

Americorps Volunteers Get Hands Dirty for the Zoo!

By Valorie Schneider, Volunteer Coordinator

For two weeks in March we were very fortunate to have our very own group of very hard working AmeriCorps volunteers here at the Zoo.

For those of you that do not know what AmeriCorps is, it is the National Civilian Community Corps (AmeriCorps NCCC). Each group travels the country and is deployed to selected sites to assist in projects that benefit the area within a specific region. Many of the AmeriCorps volunteers have helped in areas such as New Orleans after Katrina, or work with forestry organizations and so on.

The Sacramento Zoo applied to be a selected site for a project area and was selected last year, this group is our first team and we will always remember each and every one of them. They have taken on a few of our more glamorous projects such as the “lake cleaning” project and trenching for a new irrigation project. Yikes! However we did get to rotate each volunteer into our animal care area as well and they helped maintenance department with lots of planting around the Zoo.

Our group consisted of ten volunteers; Anna (team leader), Kristen, Eve, Sarah, Regina, Joe, Daniel, Patrick, Christa and Mary. We hope that they enjoyed being here as much as we enjoyed and appreciated having them here with us. I hope they will remember us fondly I know we will always remember them!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Shout out in Sacramento Magazine

By Jaime Wilson, Sacramento Zoo Green Team Member

Well, our little Zoo Green Team has hit the big time! We got a little shout out in the March issue of Sacramento Magazine talking about our efforts to reduce the Zoo's carbon footprint and bring in sustainable paper products at our concession stands.

Find us on page 40 under the title Earth-Friendly Fact.

Thanks Sac Mag!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Footprints on the Carousel

Our Education staff had an "arts and crafts" day at work last week when they got to put animal footprints into the cement that will surround our new Conservation Carousel. The construction guys were great about carefully stamping each type of footprint into the wet cement. Here is a little slideshow of the process.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Green California Summit

By Jaime Wilson, Green Team Member

The Green California Summit was happening in Sacramento earlier this week, and I made it out for the keynote speeches and the marketplace where vendors show off their stuff. Green Technology, a non-profit that informs governmental agencies on green practices, puts on the Summit and others like it all over the state. There were lots of city, county and state workers there, but also non-profits, engineers, builders and people from other industries.

I have been to a few green conferences over the years, and I have to say, the sheer number of vendors has increased three fold! Now there are many companies working with porous concrete, LED lights and green promotional products where there used to be maybe one of each. It was encouraging to see companies with environmentally friendly mandates doing well and multiplying.

Here are just a few of them that caught my eye.

World Centric
Based out of Palo Alto, they sell sustainable paper products in smaller, household size quantities. Before, things like sugar cane plates, potato starch utensils and corn plastic cups were only available in cases. Now you can stock up at home.

Weisenback Recycled Products
We love working with these guys! Whereas some promotional products companies have a hard time pointing out which of their products are green, Weisenback has a hard time pointing out what isn't green! They go above and beyond for the sake of sustainability and eco-consciousness.

Go Green Asphalt
They will come out and tear up your old asphalt, grind it up, mix it into new asphalt and lay it back down, all right there! 100% recycled asphalt. This is a great idea, that I haven't hear of before.

Ecoflame International
They make food warming gels (think Sternos), but are made from sugar cane and burns cleaner than the other types. I haven't tried them yet, but I didn't even know there was an alternative.

Overall the Green California Summit was great, and I hope they do it again next year!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Round Hole in the Ground or Carousel?

By Jaime Wilson, Zoo Blog Keeper

Since we didn't have quite enough construction going on with the Giraffe Exhibit Expansion, (insert sarcasm here :), we have just started prepping the area for the Conservation Carousel that is opening this spring. We are very excited about the progress, but admittedly, it's not much to look at...yet.

When you enter the Zoo the construction is on your left side. Right now, it's just a large circular hole that is about a foot below ground level. The construction guys have started cutting and digging trenches for electrical and making wood forms for some concrete.

If you visit the Zoofari Market gift store you can take a look at two of our actual carousel animals that will be part of the ride. There is a flamingo and jaguar and they are just gorgeous!

Find out more at the Conservation Carousel webpage!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bloomin' Crazy 2009 Slideshow

By Jaime Wilson, Compulsive Plant Buyer

If you ever wander into my office, you will know it because of the 11 plants I have crammed into it. I brag that I have all the oxygen in my trailer. I only tell you this because it gives me some creditability when I say that our Bloomin' Crazy Plant Festival and Sale last weekend was just fabulous!

We had 14 vendors, free activities for young and old, stage show, animals talks, Gus the Green tree frog mascot and of course, animals! The vendors had everything, from lavender to orchids, violets to irises, worm castings to rare fruit and everything in between.

The day was just gorgeous, sunny and warm. But my favorite part was that we had recently planted a whole lot of tulips in the flower bed surround by the big round bench. Just before the event, they all burst into bloom and there were hundreds of pink tulips! We just couldn't have asked for more.

Thanks to every who came out to the event, all our vendors, volunteers and staff for making it such a great day. Check out the slide show if you want the highlights.

And yes, I did end up buying two new orchids, an iris, some fertilizer and tickets to another plant show. (I also have all the oxygen in my condo!)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Gus Says: Jump Into Reusable Bottles!

By Gus, the Green Tree Frog

One way I love to be green is to take my own reusable water bottle around everywhere I go!

Can you count up how many plastic water bottles you use in a week? How about a month or a year? Yup, it's probably a whole lot! Now, of course, you need to keep drinking water but what about trying out a reusable bottle to cut down on that plastic you are consuming. Just fill it up at home or a drinking fountain and you are off to a very green start!

If you do have to buy some water on the go, just make sure to recycle it! Plastics don't breakdown in the landfill for hundreds of years. That means that the first plastic water bottle that was thrown away is still sitting in a landfill somewhere. Water bottles can be recycled and remade right back into bottles and other plastic products so remember - RECYCLE!

And if you are looking for a stylish bottle to try this out with, there are now five different colors of my very own water bottles! Pick one up when you are at the Zoo, just come by the Membership Office. They are $10, or $8 if you are a Sacramento Zoo Member.

Just one more thing - when you are traveling around this year, make sure to take a picture of your Gus bottle in front of local sights and submit it to us! We are collecting them to make a photo album. Find out about submitting photos here!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The loss of Urban

Photos by Laura Poor, Zoo Supporter

After hearing about the death of our male orangutan Urban last week, Laura contacted us to share some of the wonderful pictures she had taken over the years.

"I wanted to give you some of my favorite photos of Urban and the others. And express my thoughts to all of you who got a chance to work with such an amazing ape." - Laura

The Zoo has been so grateful for the outpouring of support from the community and hearing what Urban meant to them. He was truly a special creature, a great ambassador for his species and we will miss him dearly. You can find out more about Urban in the Sacramento Zoo press release.

Here is a slideshow of Laura's photos.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

More Questions about Bags from Zoo Banners

Question from Heather:
How much will the bags cost? Also, I am a volunteer at the zoo. Is there any way to buy the bags early?!

The bags range from tote bag size for $28 to large hampers and beach bags for $60. We do have to charge sales tax as well. There are also portfolios and notepads available for $12-$18 depending on size. The gates open at 9 am on Saturday, March 7th and we can't let the public in before that, so just show up early! We do have limited quantities, but I doubt we will run out first thing in the morning.


Update 3/5/09: There have been quite a few questions about who makes these bags for the Zoo. The answer is Jenny Hurth in Berkeley, CA. Thanks Jenny, your bags are a hit!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Questions about the Bags from old Zoo banners

Question from Linda P. about the previous post:
I understand from the blog the bags go on sale March 7th at Bloomin' Crazy. Where is Bloomin' Crazy and what time does it open. I am very interested in getting a few bags but want to make sure I get there early enough to get them. Great idea!!!

Thanks Linda! Bloomin' Crazy is our annual Plant Fest here at the Sacramento Zoo. It is on Saturday, March 7th and the gates open at 9am. Here are a few links to our website that might be helpful

Directions to the Sacramento Zoo
Hours & Prices
Bloomin' Crazy webpage

Thanks again!

Update 3/5/09: There have been quite a few questions about who makes these bags for the Zoo. The answer is Jenny Hurth in Berkeley, CA.