Contact: Mike McClanahan

ASHEBORO N.C.— The North Carolina Zoo Society and the Randolph Friends of the Zoo, RFOZ, today announce grants of more than $10,800 to N.C. Zoo employees with innovative ideas for supporting the zoo’s conservation education and recreation missions.

After careful review of 16 applications, the RFOZ Grant Fund Committee selected 10 recipients for full or partial funding. The grants fund training equipment and personnel for projects ranging from seabird egg incubation to environmental education.

Sarah McCrory, seabird and falcon zookeeper, receives $572 for a telemetric egg to monitor incubation of horned puffin eggs. Data gained from the project will be used to write a protocol for artificially incubating puffin eggs.

Zoo Design Graphics Technician Lance Hill receives $1,200 to partially fund attendance at a Roland Productivity Workshop in North Kingstown, R.I. The workshop will provide training in productivity maintenance and use of the Roland printer/cutter machine.

A grant of $1,345 goes to zoo Network Manager Bill Seward to attend the 2008 Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Information Technology Conference at the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport, Ore. The conference provides updates on information technology issues important to zoo operations.

Delores Foland, interior grounds supervisor, receives two grants totaling $1,530 to send members of the zoo horticulture staff to purchase plants not found in local nurseries. Grants of $630 and $900 will be used to purchase orchids and other plants primarily for the Aviary and African Pavilion.

Dana Cox, team leader for the zoo’s Visitor Services on-line reservation program, receives $600 to partially fund participation in the Radiant Systems CounterPoint User’s Conference in Atlanta. The conference will contribute to improved customer service at the zoo.

Stephen Moore, grounds supervisor, receives a $740.68 grant to purchase a tiller to support the zoo’s Volunteer Browse Garden. The Browse Garden, maintained largely by volunteers, provides organic vegetables and fruits for many of the zoo’s animals.

A grant of $928 goes to Natural Science Curator, Corrine Benbow to send Interior Horticulture staff to visit Atlanta Botanic Garden in Atlanta. Information gained from the visit will be incorporated into procedures for maintaining the zoo’s plant collections.

Jennifer Bowers, cat and chimp keeper, receives $1,400 to attend the 2009 Animal Behavior Alliance Conference. The conference will present information on improving the daily lives of zoo animals through training and enrichment.

Arbor grounds worker, Alexander J. Elton, receives a $1,417.50 grant for two horticulture staff members to attend the International Society of Arboriculture Mid-Atlantic 30th Annual conference in Blacksburg, Va. The conference provides information and contacts related to the latest arboricultural techniques best practices and new technology that can be used at the zoo.

A grant of $1,140.50 goes to Steve Gerkin, zoo visitor educator, to attend the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Zoo-School program, “Meeting Your Institutional Mission with Program Animals.” Information from the class will enable zoo educators to enhance existing environmental education programs as well as develop new programs in the future.

RFOZ began awarding grants to N.C. Zoo employees in 2001 to enhance the lives of animals at the zoo, develop zoo employee expertise, support research, enrich learning experiences for zoo visitors, promote the zoo, and study North Carolina environmental issues. More than $71,600 in grants has been awarded over an eight-year period. The North Carolina Zoological Society is a private non-profit organization that supports the North Carolina Zoo and conservation.

The zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources William G. Ross Jr. Secretary; Michael F. Easley Governor.