Asheboro, NC - The Asheboro High School Zoo School, in partnership with the N.C. Zoological Society, took the "Pennies for Polar Bears" campaign statewide in 2010 and recruited 25 schools to raise $12,091.94.

The "Pennies for Polar Bears" campaign encouraged school children to collect pennies and other change during the month of October to help expand the North Carolina Zoo's Polar Bear exhibit and holding facilities. The zoo will use the proceeds to help make the Polar Bear exhibit large enough to accommodate up to six bears - maybe even a mother and cubs!

Mrs. Rebecca Dunn's fifth-grade class at Tabernacle Elementary School in Randolph County was the individual class winner for the 2010 campaign. Mrs. Dunn's students raised $727.75 and won a behind-the-scenes tour of the zoo, lunch with the polar bear keepers (courtesy of Chili's of Asheboro), free transportation to the zoo (courtesy of Royal Tours), and Happy Meal coupons (courtesy of McDonald's).

Last year a group of Tabernacle third graders taught by Mrs. Dunn took home the class honor. Myers Park Traditional Elementary School of Mecklenburg County raised the most money for an entire school in the 2010 campaign, collecting more than $2,870.

The class from each participating school that raised the most money will receive happy meals for each student, courtesy of McDonald's.

Overall, the 2010 Pennies for Polar Bears campaign saw participation from 193 classrooms, from 25 schools, across 14 counties in North Carolina. A grand total of $16,188.63 was raised this year when funds collected by the schools were combined with money from the sale of "Pennies for Polar Bears" buttons and contributions to collection jars placed in local restaurants along with N.C. Zoo Society and N.C. Zoo gift shops.

"Being able to take part in ‘Pennies for Polar Bears' with the Zoo Society has taught me that even though I am young I can still help out in a large way," said Brittany Salers, a senior at Asheboro High School and Chair of the 2010 "Pennies for Polar Bears" project.

The NC Zoo Society and Asheboro High Zoo School plan to continue the "Pennies for Polar Bears" campaign in 2011.
The N.C. Zoo Society is the private non-profit support organization for the North Carolina Zoo. The zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Dee A. Freeman, Secretary; Beverly E. Perdue, Governor.