ASHEBORO, N.C. – The North Carolina Zoo Society and the Randolph Friends of the Zoo (RFOZ) announce awarding 15 grants totaling more than $9,500 to North Carolina Zoo employees.  Annually, employees are encouraged to submit requests with innovative ideas for supporting the Zoo’s conservation and education missions. After careful review of 23 applications, the RFOZ Grant Fund Committee selected recipients for partial or full funding.

            Erin Ivory, Animal Management Supervisor, is awarded $1,080 which will enable two Elephant Zookeepers to attend a high quality leadership and behavior training program.

            A grant of $2,133 goes to Zookeeper II Ezra Ellis to attend the American Museum of Natural History Course in Field Herpetology.

Horticulture Technician Charity Cole receives $520 to attend Native Plant Certification classes at the UNC Chapel Hill Botanical Garden.

            Design Graphics Supervisor Brooke Sides receives partial funding in the amount of $2,000 for two Graphic Designers to attend the HOW Design Live Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

            A grant of $2,000 goes to Wendy Green Foley, Community Education Specialist/Zoo Snooze Coordinator, to purchase night vision goggles to enhance technology for nighttime programming at the North Carolina Zoo.

Jeremy Murray, Horticulture Division, is awarded $641 for Certified Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP) Training.

            Nine individual grants totaling $1,215 provide Certified Plant Professional course study for the following recipients: Wesley Angermeier, Michaelia Comer, Stacy Garnett, Jonathan Buie, John Ledbetter, Samantha Branson, Chad Phillips, Matthew Leonard and Branson Langley.

            The Randolph Friends of the Zoo and the Zoo Society established the Employee Grants Fund in 2000. Grant funds are generated from a small percentage of the Society’s annual Zoo To Do fundraising event, which is presented by Signature Sponsor Randolph Communications. RFOZ is a volunteer organization that supports the fundraising efforts of the North Carolina Zoo Society.

            The North Carolina Zoological Society is a private, non-profit organization that supports the North Carolina Zoo and its conservation and education initiatives. Fpr more information please visit

About the North Carolina Zoo

The North Carolina Zoo provides an experience like no other zoo anywhere. With five miles of exhibits, nearly 2,000 animals and 52,000 plants it is the largest natural habitat zoo in the world and an international leader in wildlife conservation.

Find yourself surrounded by some of Africa’s giants including elephants, rhinos, and giraffes; share the love of gorillas with Mosuba and his six-member troop; welcome polar bear Nikita as he joins Anana in polar plunges every day at their Rocky Coast Exhibit; or join in the fun at the mud café in the Kidzone.

Located in center of the state in Asheboro, it is convenient to visit from anywhere in North Carolina. The North Carolina Zoo welcomes nearly 750,000 guests each year. Plan your adventure at


About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources 

The North Carolina Zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state’s natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. Led by Secretary Susan Kluttz, NCDNCR's mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state’s history, conserving the state’s natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.

NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, two science museums, three aquariums and Jennette’s Pier, 39 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C.  Zoo, the nation's first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, along with the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please call (919) 807-7300 or visit