ZoosFlash March 2020

Daylight Saving Time Begins

Tomorrow at 2 am (Sunday morning), we will all be SPRINGING FORWARD one hour!

How does it affect the exotic animals in our care? Much like it effects people and companion animals: everything just seems a little “off” for a day or two. The JZ Keepers make little adjustments here and there with schedules and enrichment, just like we do, and things stay right on track.

Tips to survive time change

VOLUNTEER LANDSCAPING 8 am to 11 am Saturday 03/14

Zoo Area Progressive Partnership and Keep Jackson Beautiful will be leading the Jackson Zoo Crew volunteers in planning and planting spring growth this Saturday starting at 8 a.m. The focus will be on the zoo’s Capitol Street entrance, the flower beds around zoo Admissions, and the Livingston Train Station.

We encourage wearing closed toed shoes and gloves, weather appropriate gear, and bringing any tools you can use and then take back home with you. Good to have are loppers, pruners, shears, small shovels and hoes, and we can always use any extra mulch, people with mowers/weedeaters, and pressure washers.

To participate, please RSVP to the left or email Miss Ginger HERE.

Also, since spring weather can be so touch and go, keep an eye on the Volunteer Landscaping FB event for any changes or postponements.

Interested in becoming a Jackson Zoo Keeper? If you love wildlife, have at least a high school diploma, can lift 50 lbs regularly, and like a challenge, you have the beginnings of a life in animal care.

Go to THIS WEB PAGE and start the process today!

ZoosFlash February 2020

We are very impressed with and appreciative of Revitalize Mississippi for their work in the Discovery Zoo demo. 

Although the barns were the basis for MANY memories in the community, it was decided in in the early 2010’s that they were not meeting modern standards for properly caring for or housing our Discovery and Contact Yard animals. The buildings had been quickly built in the 1970’s, given a face lift in the mid 1980’s, but had continued to fall further into disrepair until the animals were moved to more modern quarters on zoo grounds in 2016.

Jim, Andy, and the friendly crew of Revitalize MS came in and cleared the foundations within a week, and at no charge to the Zoo.

Planning for the rebuild started in 2013, and the City of Jackson is currently working with the Jackson Zoo staff to finalize the work and start bringing back the popular Contact Yard as the first phase. Interacting with different types of animals at a young age can create a real appreciation for all the unique and beautiful creatures that share our world.

Since there are several ideas for other fun and educational exhibits in the space, the Discovery Zoo rebuild will probably be an ongoing and expensive project, but well worth the efforts. 

Thank you, Revitalize Mississippi!

Crews from City of Jackson Parks and Recreation have come out to do a different kind of clearing, as well as some patching along the way!

For almost a week, there were trimmers, loppers, blowers, weed eaters, and trucks dragging away debris as they got the zoo flora ready for spring blooming.

They are also doing repair work as they go, fixing a few concerning sinkholes along paths and boundaries.

We not only appreciate the work, but the respect that they showed for the animals that were enriched by all the activity!

Huge Jackson Zoo SALUTE going out to UMMC students who volunteered to help our Keepers during the Martin Luther King Jr Day of Service!

A group of ten or so students came out to power clean and re-perch exhibits (while the animals were in another area, of course – safety first!), which freed up our hardworking JZ Keepers to do more detailed projects for the animals.

Daily cleaning can often take up most of the hours in a shift, so having folks that understand the importance of specific cleaning needs is very helpful. We wish them the best in their studies, and hope to see them again in the future!

Feeling the need to nom?

Remember that JZ members can show their member cards and receive a 15% discount off their entire dine-in order at our Member Partner Restaurants: Iron Horse Grill, Sal & Mookies, Broad Street, Bravo!, Brent’s Drugs, Barellhouse, Fenian’s Pub, Twisted Pretzel, Dippin Dots, and Brick Street Pops! 

zoOceanarium Group and Jackson Zoo Ready for Foundational Phase-October 2019

Since the new zoo operations contract is in its final stages with the City of Jackson, members of zoOceanarium Group (our incoming zoo management team) and the Jackson Zoo staff recently found an opportunity for an informal pre-planning session. Although no official decisions or timeline can be set without a contract in place with the city, everyone agreed that a revitalization project of this size and scope needs all the prep time available. zoOceanarium Group’s Managing Partner Chris Davis and Director of Animal Projects Erin Clark met with Jackson Zoo Interim Director Dave Wetzel and Marketing and Promotions Director EJ Rivers to continue discussing short and long term projects for the one hundred year old park.  This particular “think tank” further defined how to combine the zoo’s current strengths and needs with zoOceanarium Group’s global attraction and guest experience expertise. They discussed that the initial phase of the Jackson Zoo modernization needs be “Foundational,” or focusing on the fundamentals of a successful modern zoo:  enhancing wildlife care and habitats with additional training from zoOceanarium Group’s animal care team; prioritizing and setting timelines for park changes and additions after park re-opening with USDA approval (NOTE: The Jackson Zoological Society’s USDA exhibitor’s license ended on September 30th, 2019, and the zoo temporarily closed to the public. Since then, Jackson Zoo staff, City of Jackson officials, and the zoOceanarium Group have applied for the new USDA license, but are waiting to set an inspection date until the city has completed the repairs to areas of concern); re-establishing stable funding for improvements, animal acquisitions, educational programs, community events, and guest experiences; strengthening and forging new relationships with community leadership, residents, and visitors to help develop a new five year plan;   and creating a better balance between the park and community’s history and the needs of our wildlife, families, and educators. A major point was how the Jackson Zoo can re-open and best meet community needs and expectations during what will be an “invisible” phase: projects that are absolutely crucial for a zoo, yet could be considered “uneventful” to the public eye. Because both zoOceanarium Group and the Jackson Zoo staff share animal care and guest experience as their top priorities, everyone should still be on the lookout for some fun announcements in the coming year. Finally, Davis expressed great admiration for the Jackson Zoo staff and community partners for their hard work and dedication, especially during such an unusual and difficult period. Wetzel assured him that not only do the staff still have more than enough energy for the next phase, they’re ready at the word “Go.”  zoOceanarium hopes to join Mayor Lumumba and members of the Jackson City Council for the official signing of the contract within the coming weeks. Mr. Davis especially looks forward to officially introducing the zoOceanarium team to their newest adopted community and getting projects underway. There was also mention of it being about time for another Stamps burger.

Jackson Zoo Temporarily Closes to the Public for Final Management Transition Stage

JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI – Due to the final stages of a management transition, the Jackson Zoological Park will temporarily close to the public as of Tuesday, October 1.

As the City of Jackson and management group zoOceanarium finalize the five-year operational contract of the park, licensing and certification must be approved by the USDA, as well as other regulatory agencies. Maintenance and inspections could take 60 days or more to complete.

During the hiatus from the public, both zoo and city staff will be working inside the fence lines on problem areas, animal exhibit details, and major repairs needed for the re-licensing and re-certification. Animal care will continue without any interruption, and with minimal change in protocol.

Popular events like Boo At The Zoo and Jackson Zoo Santa Station had to be cancelled, and school field trips were rescheduled due to the unforeseen shuttering. Future events, such as Zoo Day in March, Zoo Brew in April, and the Blue Bell Ice Cream Safari in July, remain on the events planning board for the 2020 centennial year celebrations.

Limited educational off-site outreach is available through the Zoo Mobile program (reptiles and birds only), and small volunteer opportunities like landscaping are still needed during the closure. People ages 13 years up and older needing community  hours can sign up through the Jackson Zoo’s GiveGab.com page.

Jackson Zoo active membership holders will continue to be able to use their member cards at local partner restaurants for the 15% discount (Mangia Bene restaurants Sal & Mookies, Bravo!, and Broad Street; Iron Horse Grill; Brent’s Drug’s; Barrelhouse; Fenian’s Pub; Twisted Pretzel; Brick Street Pops; and Dippin Dots). Once the park has re-opened, all active membership expiration dates will be extended to reflect the length of time of the closure, as will any outstanding comp passes or Groupon vouchers. 

Fans and community partners are encouraged to follow the progress of the Zoo Staff on their social media sites (Facebook and Instagram: @JacksonZoo), and through regular e-blasts (sign up on the website home page). Repairs and renovations will be documented, and media will be invited in periodically to report on the activities.

Any questions or comments about the management contract may be directed to Dr. Robert Blaine, Chief Administrative Officer of the City of Jackson, at 601-960-2313. All daily operation questions can be answered by Interim Director David L Wetzel at 601-352-2580 ext 237.

Elisabeth J Rivers (EJ) Media/Events/Development 601-352-2580 ext 227 ejrivers@jacksonzoo.org

Jackson Zoo Welcomes Thrivent Financial Living Generously Service Day on May 11th

Thrivent Financial Services in the Jackson Metro will be showing support for the Jackson Zoo on Saturday, May 11th, with a Living Generously day of service. Along with volunteering, the not-for-profit financial membership organization is donating thousands of dollars in materials to the nearly 100-year-old park to help with annual “curb appeal” projects.

Financial Consultant Josh Jones, FIC, RICP®, BFA™ of Thrivent Financial, reached out to the Jackson Zoo staff in April, expressing the desire of Thrivent Financial’s members to not only volunteer, but also donate goods to complete some much needed park tasks:  refreshing the turf of the two playground areas inside the zoo, and replacing the colorful flags at the Capitol Street entrance.  Thrivent Financial has purchased 400 bags of natural mulch from Lowe’s Home Improvement stores in Jackson and Ridgeland, and ten 4’X6’ outdoor flags from A Complete Flag Source in Jackson to replace the original flags hung in 2013. A Complete Flag Source will be donating the flag hanging service on Friday, May 10th, so that the fresh colors will greet the Thrivent volunteers. In addition, approximately thirty employees and members of Thrivent Financial will be gathering at Jackson Zoo Admissions at 9 a.m. on the morning of Saturday, May 11th, to help distribute the mulch, with the assistance of the regular Zoo Crew Landscaping volunteers.

“The Jackson Zoo staff is so grateful for this kind of multi-level donation,” said David L. Wetzel, Interim Zoo Director. “There are many projects where we have wonderful people ready to get in there and help with their time, but not enough resources. Thrivent’s gift of services AND goods lifts some of the weight off the small staff on two fronts, which makes a huge difference to what we can accomplish in a day.”

Started over one hundred years ago in Appleton, Wisconsin, Thrivent Financial is a financial services organization that helps Christians be wise with money and live generously, offering its more than two million member-owners a broad range of products, services, and guidance from financial representatives nationwide. It has helped members make wise money choices that reflect their values, while providing them opportunities to demonstrate their generosity where they live, work, and worship. Thrivent Financial is listed at #318 on the Fortune 500, named as one of the world’s most ethical companies by Ethisphere Magazine, and has donated more than 15.4M volunteer hours and $280M in financial relief to non-profits and  disaster relief all over the world.

The Jackson Zoo is the oldest zoological park in the state of Mississippi, started in 2019, and its daily operation relies on funds from daily admissions and membership, as well as the local, county, and state levels of government. The zoo is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day except Christmas Day, and his home to over 360 animals representing species all over the world. All media is invited out to talk to representatives from both the Jackson Zoo and Thrivent Financial, who will be on hand to make statements during the volunteer hours.