ASHEBORO, NC - The North Carolina Zoo Society and the Randolph Friends of the Zoo (RFOZ) announce grants of more than $7,500 through the Randolph Friends of the Zoo Grant Fund. The RFOZ Grant Fund, now in its eighth year, provides funding to Zoo and Zoo Society employees for projects that are innovative, practical, likely to have tangible results and that are of direct relevance to the work of the Zoo and Zoo Society.

This year the Grant Committee received 11 applications and awarded funding to eight of those applicants. Recipients included Nell Allen, Lisa Cassidy, Wendy Foley, Aaron Jesue, Marissa Krouse, Robert McCrory, Jeff Owen and Bill Seward.

Some of the projects receiving funding include the purchase of an Enviroscape Wetlands Model to be used in educational programs both at the zoo and in schools; funds to host the North Carolina Bat Working Group Annual Meeting at the N.C. Zoo; employee training in Crocodilian Biology and Captive Management and Fern Identification; and funds to send two arborists to take the International Society of Arboriculture Certified Climber Specialist exam.

The RFOZ Grant Fund Committee is a sub-committee of the Randolph Friends of the Zoo Board. This year's Grant Fund Committee members included Richard Garkalns, Gifford Del Grande, Sheila Hedrick, Pam Myers, Jill Vaness and Kurt Sullivan.

The North Carolina Zoological Society is a private non-profit organization that supports the North Carolina Zoo and conservation. The N.C. Zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Dee A. Freeman, Secretary; Bev. E. Perdue, Governor.