Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Conservation Carousel - Letter from Zoo Director

On Monday April 20 a United Van Lines truck pulled into our front gate from Ohio. By Friday afternoon, we were the proud owners of a beautiful, hand-carved, hand-painted Conservation Carousel! Over the next few weeks we will be taking the final steps to prepare this new addition at the Zoo for a grand opening on May 20th.

A recent letter to the editor in the Sacramento Bee raised some questions about why the Zoo is spending money on a carousel rather than the enclosures for the animals at the Sacramento Zoo.

The care of the animals is always our top priority. With our limited space at Land Park, we have to be creative about generating revenue. We want the Zoo to be accessible and don’t want to raise admission fees beyond the reach of our community.

Three years ago we invested in a small train at the Zoo. That train now generates $50,000 annually that directly supports our animal care, education programs and conservation. We anticipate that the carousel (which cost just over $500,000) will provide even more significant revenue in the next few years, contributing additional funds to these same essential activities.

Mary Healy
Sacramento Zoo

Monday, April 27, 2009

Bags from Old Zoo Banners - Another Sale!

By Jaime Wilson, Green Team Member

Back in March, we debuted our Banner Bags, durable bags made from old Zoo banners. You might remember the blog we posted about it. Well, the response was huge and we sold most of the bags on Bloomin' Crazy.

Well, I am very pleased to announce that we are having another public sale at the Zoo at California Celebration on Saturday, May 2. The booth will be at the front of the lake and will open when the Zoo does, at 9 am. We can take cash, checks and credit cards.

For those who don't know here is an excerpt from the other blog:
"We now have a very limited number of reusable bags made from our old Zoo banners! They are extremely durable and really cute. Since each one is handmade from parts of old banners, they are usually one-of-a-kind and most have animals on them. There are also notepads and portfolios available."

These fabulous bags are made in Berkeley, CA by Elbow Grease Designs.

Just post a comment if you have any questions and I will post a response. If you want an email response, please include your email address (we won't post that part!)

Friday, April 24, 2009

ZooZoom 2009 Slideshow

By Jaime Wilson, Zoo Blog Keeper

We hosted our annual race, ZooZoom in Land Park last Sunday, and it was tons of fun! Thanks to Fleet Feet for all their hard work. The final numbers are still coming in, but we know there were at least 2,400 people registered before Sunday.

Here is a look at some pictures from ZooZoom.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Working as a team!

By Ann Geiger, Education Director

First we had IKEA donate furniture for our education classroom...Way to go IKEA! Then we needed to assemble the furniture and move out the old stuff from the classroom. This is tricky because the zoo is a busy place so finding the time and help to do such a large project is difficult.

Enter William Buhler... William was looking for an Eagle Scout project and we were in need of his help. Not only did Troop 325 from Ranch Cordova make over our classroom, William designed and will install a new bulletin board for our Docent volunteers!

The team of people who came out to help was fantastic! Family and friends worked together to make out classroom more functional, and in my eyes "beautiful"!

Thanks to you all for your hard work!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Giraffe Exhibit Renovation Update

By Jaime Wilson, Zoo Blog Keeper

After the official ground breaking in February for the Tall Wonders giraffe exhibit renovation and expansion, it has been full steam ahead with construction! The most exciting part was the demolition of the old cement buildings, the hippo pool and huge amounts of earth moving!

Now when you come by that area, you will see a raised area to the side of the Vet Hospital which will be the new giraffe barn. On the other side they were pouring concrete all last week for the base of the viewing platform. It's not much to look at, but we are so excited about this element of the design, that Zoo Director Mary Healy and Zoo Curator Jim Schnormeier put on their hard hats and took a moment out of their busy day to have a picture taken!

When the project is done, visitors will be able to see the giraffes at eye level. Talk about getting up close and personal! Visit our Tall Wonders page if you would like to donate to the project.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Little Peeps: Be a Tortoise Craft

By Amanda Castenada, Education Manager

We’re trying something new out this year and offering a series of pre-school classes during the offseason (not summer camp!) called Little Peeps, and they are going fabulously! I have been having so much fun on Wednesday mornings with this enthusiastic group of 3-5 year olds and their parents and grandparents. It does take a lot of prep work to get everything ready, but the kids and their parents really appreciate it and have a great time. The kids are so excited and interested in the animals at the Zoo that it makes my job very easy!

We are half way through this spring’s sold-out series. So far, our class themes have been “Tricky Animals,” “Bird Beaks,” and “Wild Colors.” Coming up we will be learning about “Animal Homes,” “Wild Sounds,” and “Wild Moves.” In each class we sing songs, visit animals, and make crafts.

So far, my favorite crafts have been those they can use for pretend play, like the tortoise shells they made the first day. Want to make this craft for your children? It is very easy!

¾ yard of shell-colored Ecospun felt (We used dark green)
½ yard of scute-colored Ecospun felt (We used light green)
Sharp Scissors
Tacky Glue or other felt glue
A yard stick or measuring tape to draw your pattern
This will make 3 shells

Step 1: Draw a 20 inch diameter circle on main shell-color felt, and cut out as many as you can fit on your felt. You should be able to get 3.

Step 2: Draw a 16 inch diameter circle on scute-color felt, and cut out as many as you can fit.

Step 3: Cut out plate felt circle into a center circle cut into 4ths and 6 outer circle pieces or any other shapes you would like. You can be more technical than I was and cut it into accurate scute shapes if you would like. The figure below shows how.

Step 4: Children can arrange the scutes on the shell in any order they like and glue them on with little dabs of tacky glue. They will dry enough to hold the scutes on fairly quickly.

Step 5: Because it’s made from felt, the shell stays on well when you just drape it over your child’s back. Put on your shell and pretend to be a tortoise! What do you do when a predator comes by? How do you find your food? We played the Hokey Pokey, and it was really fun. My favorite part was “Put your head in . . .”

Take a look at the Little Peeps video to see the craft in action.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Better Tuna for Better Oceans

By Jaime Wilson, Green Team Member

As we have blogged about before, Service System Associates is the company we contract with to run the Zoofari Market gift store and the Kampala Cafe & Catering. SSA operates in many zoos and has been making strides to bring an environmentally conscious mentality to their for-profit business.

Tuna is a pretty big staple in our lunches and other meals, and one of the major concerns about tuna fishing is all of the "bycatch" that is caught in net fishing. That is all of the sea creatures that are pulled up in nets that aren't tuna or other marketable fish. One way to avoid bycatch is to fish with lines and poles.

To support sustainable tuna and to raise awareness, Kampala Cafe has switched all of their tuna to American Tuna, a company that uses line and pole fishing. They also have a display in the Zoofari Market where they will sell American Tuna to the public.

Once again, we are proud of the strides that the Kampala Cafe and Zoofari Market have taken to promote conservation and awareness. And the next time you are at the Zoo pick up a tuna sandwich for lunch!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Flamingo Courtship Behavior - Video

By Jaime Wilson, Zoo Blog Keeper

I just walked by the Flamingos this week and boy, are they loud! Here is a quick video of them doing some of their courtship behavior. Make sure to check them out if you are at the Zoo!

Check out the Flamingo Fact Sheet for more info.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Earth Fest 2009 Slideshow

By Jaime Wilson, Zoo Blog Keeper

Earth Fest happened at the Sacramento Zoo this past Saturday and over 3,400 people came out to help us celebrate! With 27 vendors, live music and the Recycle Rummage Sale there was a lot going on. Thanks to everyone who came out for the day and all the volunteers and groups who made it possible!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Rummage Sale, Spring '09

By Jaime Wilson, Green Team Member

We have been unpacking, setting up and pricing all morning! Our semi annual Recycle Rummage Sale (hosted by the Sacramento Zoo Green Team), is almost ready to go.

If you haven't been before, it's a great excuse to come out to the Zoo AND get some great bargains while you are here. We have kids clothes, glassware, plush toys, movies, stationary, collectibles and more.

We open to Sacramento Zoo Members today (Friday, April 3) at 1 pm.
We open to the general public at 9 am, Saturday, April 4. Our Earth Fest event is also happening on Saturday, so there will be lots to do and see!

The sale is included with Zoo admission, so come make a day of it. And don't forget to bring your own shopping bags! All the proceeds go to conservation efforts here at the Zoo and around the world.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

From the Kitchen - Crickets!

You won’t find Jiminy Cricket in our kitchen, but all the other crickets are fair game for our amphibian population.

Our frogs and toads eat a variety of hopping, crawling denizens. Some of the larger amphibians eat crickets, meal worms, kingworms and wax worms. The littlest frogs get young crickets that vary in size, plus fruit flies (drosophila), that we “grow” in mason jars. The flies are so small they could fit on the head of a pin.

Because we feed “live” foods to our amphibians, we have to be concerned about what our live prey are eating as well. The crickets eat a crumble diet of duck chow, plus some produce. When they are actually fed to the amphibians, we first sprinkle them with a calcium/vitamin powder.

A 15 gram Fire-bellied toad will eat around 400 crickets per year – that’s a lot of crickets for only one frog! We have over 30 frogs, toads and salamanders in our reptile house and thankfully none of our crickets carry umbrellas, or break into song -- because that would just be annoying.

Fire-bellied toad