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Zoo to hold series of community outreach events

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To try to increase its connection to the community, the New York State Zoo at Thompson Park plans to hold multiple outreach events in the coming months.

“This is the community’s zoo,” said zoo Executive Director John T. Wright. “We want to create something people want to support and come to.”

About 30 people attended the first event Thursday night at the zoo, which included a meet-and-greet period along with a brief presentation about the zoo’s history and its vision for the future.

Mr. Wright said his goal is to hold one outreach event per month at times and locations around the community, in order to make it as accessible as possible for local residents.

Some things Mr. Wright said he hopes for are additional exhibits that could be made without large cost increases, a possible play area with space for educational programs and an exhibit focusing on the region’s Native American history.

“Obviously we’re in a tough economic time, but we’re heading in the right direction for those goals,” he said.

He is encouraged by the community’s support of initiatives such as the Owl 500 campaign, which is calling for donations to support the creation of exhibit spaces for owl species of the state.

He said a tempered pace for pursuing those goals will allow the zoo to be more successful in its efforts.

Also part of the outreach is informing people of ways they can help the zoo, either financially or by giving their time through volunteering.

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