Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Thank you Zoo supporters...

Thank you Zoo supporters…

Thanks to all who voted in support of 1a. We are incredibly grateful and, despite the outcome, know that together we will continue to ensure that Pueblo has a world-class zoo to visit with friends and family. While I was hoping to use this blog to share words of celebration and visions for the future, I know that celebrations of exciting things lie just around the corner. That being said, this was a tough morning for me, personally, to get moving and inspired to come to the office. After a couple of heavy sighs, I reminded myself that my “office” is the Pueblo Zoo…and I got myself outside and just spent the past two hours walking around with a smile on my face as I talked with staff and checked-in on some of my favorite colleagues…our animals.

I was reminded of what I often take for granted…THIS IS A FABULOUS ZOO! And I further reminded myself that the outcome of this election is in no way a reflection of what we contribute to our community. I reflected on the many ways that this community shows us how much they appreciate us and all that we do…it’s more than the outcome of an election. It’s in the many stories we hear from parents and teachers of how our programs and our animals have enriched their lives and education. We see it in the record-breaking attendance over the past year despite not having a new exhibit. We see it in our wildly successful “Check Out the Zoo” partnership with the Pueblo City-County Library District and in the smiling faces at ElectriCritters.

The outcome of this election, by no means, changes our commitment to doing all we can to provide the very best in animal care and the very best in guest experience and educational programs. If nothing else, this outcome willdouble our commitment to ensuring that the public sees and experiences our direct impacts to our community. 

While I don’t know the timing of the City’s budget decisions, nor do I have a reliable sense of what they will do, I do know this…tough decisions lie ahead and it will take all of us to pull together to find just the right solutions that allow us to ensure we continue to provide the quality experience that Puebloans have come to expect without compromising the quality of our animal care.  It will be a balancing act…but we can do it.

Onward and upward…the future remains bright for us.
Thank you for your support.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Ia – Improving our Community…dreams for what will be

Ia – Improving our Community…dreams for what will be

Letter from the Director

As a Pueblo Zoo member and supporter you have, undoubtedly, already become quite familiar with the ballot initiative that will appear on our November ballot: 1a Improving Our Community. You likely received the informational letter from the Zoo that we sent at the end of September…you probably received the direct mailers that came out from the 1a campaign over the past few weeks…and you’ve been reading the numerous Op Eds and Letters to the Editor in The Chieftain. And, if you are like most people I have spoken with, with each new bit of information comes more questions.

We’d like to use this blog post to make sure that you…our Zoo family…understands exactly what this initiative will mean for our Zoo (and for you!) when it passes and that youunderstand what will happen if it doesn’t.

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: if 1a doesn’t pass in November we will face another year of deep budget cuts from the City and County (potentially even a full cut of all City-contributed funds which is 50% of our budget!) . As a result of last year’s cuts, the Zoo is running a significant operating budget deficit for 2013. We’ve been able to continue programs and services as in the past and, with a bit of creativity, have been able to do a bit more this year, but the bottom line is that costs continue to go up beyond our control (utilities, hay, animal feed, transportation expenses) and we have been forced to dip into our reserves to fund operations. If we face another year of further cuts we will be forced to make deep cuts to our programs and services. Chances are that we would no longer be able to keep our doors open 7 days a week and we may have to close exhibits. Imagine that! If the City cuts all funding we would have to make even further cuts which means we would probably have to cut all education programs and community events – i.e. no programs for disadvantages students who desperately need them, no Zoo Boo or Senior Safari, etc.  You get the picture. NOT pretty.

But I am optimistic that our community will continue to support this zoo…your Pueblo Zoo. I’m optimistic that the community will reflect upon the tremendous resources we bring to ALL members of our community (more than 58% of our education programs reach students in Title 1 schools …our new library pass program provides Zoo visits free of charge to anyone who checks them out) and agree that a 1Ž2 cent sales tax increase (that’s just one nickel for every $10 spent) is a small price to pay for all that our community gets in return.

I’m a glass-half-full kind of thinker and prefer to think about what will be WHEN 1a passes rather that what will happen if it doesn’t. I prefer to imagine a Pueblo Zoo with new exhibits and animals that inspire and welcome Pueblo County residents, as well as, visitors from around our region. I prefer to imagine seeing children climbing on Monkey Mountain once again. I prefer to imagine upgrades to many of our older exhibits and facilities.

I hope you’ll join me in seeing those dreams become a reality. Read on to learn more about what 1a means for our Zoo and join us in supporting this measure. We wouldn’t ask for your help if it wasn’t critical to the future of the Pueblo Zoo.

For more facts, tools and resources, please go to our 1a Section of the Pueblo Zoo website.

Stephanie Stowell
Executive Director

Friday, August 2, 2013

Pueblo Zoo partners with Pueblo City-County Libraries

The Pueblo City-County Library District and the Pueblo Zoo are proud to launch “Check Out the Zoo”, an innovative new program established to ensure that all Puebloans, regardless of ability to pay, have access to discover and enjoy the Pueblo Zoo.   

Starting Aug. 1, 12 Zoo Passes will be provided to library patrons to check out year-round (each pass admits up to four).

Zoo passes will initially be made available for checkout at each library location and check out for up to seven days.  

Monday, July 15, 2013

Best of Pueblo 2013 - Vote Pueblo Zoo!

Best of Pueblo 2013 voting starts on Tuesday! 

We were winners last year, so be sure and vote for the one and only Pueblo Zoo. 
You can vote as many times as you like! 
Voting ends Tuesday, July 30th.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Pueblo Zoo welcomes two porcupettes

The Pueblo Zoo welcomed two baby African Crested Porcupines early this morning, June 28, 2013. The babies and mom are doing well. After their first vet check up, it has been confirmed that we have one girl and one boy. You can see them at the Islands of Life building!

Property Theft from Motor Vehicles in City Parks

The City of Pueblo Parks and Recreation Department and its contracted facilities would like to make the public aware of an ongoing problem within the parks' parking areas. Vehicles are being damaged and burglarized while left unattended in the parking lots at parks throughout Pueblo. These incidents have been crimes of opportunity where personal valuables have been stored in plain sight within the vehicle and have been stolen in a smash-and-grab manner.

The Parks and Recreation Department will be intensifying patrols through the hardest hit areas with park rangers and community volunteers in an effort to reduce and/or eliminate the ongoing vehicle burglaries. The Parks and Recreation Department would like its citizens to do their part by taking the following precautions when attending events or programs in one of the City's parks or facilities.
1. Lock vehicles and roll up windows
2. When possible, leave desirable items at home
3. Store valuables out of sight or in the cargo area
4. When possible, park your vehicle in a conspicuous area
5. If you witness a crime, try to get as much identifying information as possible including: height, weight, ethnicity, clothing, vehicle type, license number, tattoos, and other personal characteristics.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Spring…a celebration of new beginnings

 A letter from the Director

I don’t have to look at the calendar to know that spring is quickly approaching. As I walk around Zoo grounds I see the telltale signs of new beginnings…from the bulging bellies of the goats and sheep in Pioneer Ranch to the swelling buds that are just beginning to show on our many trees and shrubs.  A time of transformation and great change is upon us and there is no better place to celebrate the coming of spring than at the Pueblo Zoo.

The month of March is when the fun really begins and, if prior years are any indicator, this month we’ll welcome numerous kids, lambs and chicks in Pioneer Ranch. At the same time, we are on guarded “baby watch” with a handful of other species and are cautiously optimistic that we’ll be able to report soon about new pups for our maned wolves and new chicks for our African penguins. We also have our eye on a few other species and hope for many “new beginnings” to share in the near future. 

Want to be sure to get the inside scoop? To be amongst the first to know about our spring babies? Then be sure to “like” the Pueblo Zoo on Facebook and keep an eye out for our new website where we’ll have new features that allow us to bring you the latest and greatest news from the Zoo.  We also plan to bring you more regular updates via e-mail…if you’d like to get Zoo “current events” in your inbox then please be sure to share your email address with us. 

In addition to Zoo babies and innovative new social media tools, we’ll be bringing you exciting new programs and experiences at the Zoo this spring and summer. From a new exhibit design camp to new keeper talks to training demonstrations, you’ll be surprised (and inspired) by the many new hands-on educational opportunities taking place EVERY DAY at the Zoo.  

This is a time of rebirth for the Pueblo Zoo; we have so many great stories to tell about how far we have come, about the unique and incredible experiences we offer, and about where we are headed. Join us as we celebrate all that is new at the Pueblo Zoo. We are sure you’ll be glad you did!

- Stephanie Stowell
Executive Director