You might not realize it, but it takes the entire Oakland Zoo to ensure the success of ZooCamp every summer– not just the folks in Conservation & Education. Every single department at the Zoo makes a valuable contribution to this popular kids’ program which has been a summertime tradition here for more than twenty years. After speaking with ZooCamp Director Sarah Cramer, I learned exactly what those contributions were.
1. Getting the word out is crucial to the success of any event. The Marketing department provides the advertising that lets our Zoo visitors know about the program, utilizing local parents’ magazines and websites, billboards, fliers and inserts in the Oakland Zoo visitors’ maps. They also arrange appearances on TV programs such as View from the Bay and KRON 4 Morning News.
2. The Oakland Zoo has a large active membership throughout the East Bay and beyond, providing a valuable resource of potential ZooCamp attendees. Our Membership department provides ZooCamp information in Uproar, the monthly electronic newsletter that reaches up to 24,000 people. The membership department also assists Zoo members who wish to register for camp.
3. The Maintenance department purchases various materials needed for camp. They also maintain and repair any equipment the camp staff uses.
4. Our Human Resources department helps facilitate the hiring of the seasonal teachers and other help needed to run ZooCamp.
5. Group Services helps by directing inquiries to the ZooCamp registrar. They also help facilitate the use of the auditorium as well as picnic sites, allowing campers to enjoy their lunches outdoors.
6. With a quarter million dollars in revenue, ZooCamp depends on the Accounting department to ensure that the bills are paid and that the revenue is accurately reported.
7. The Operations staff ups the Fun Factor by letting the campers enjoy complimentary rides on the train and the sky ride.
8. The Janitorial staff provides additional re-stocking of the restrooms as well as extra clean-up for those “special messes” that kids are so good at producing (such as mud from playing in the creek).
9. Our Development department raises money for the Vicki Kay Memorial Scholarship Fund, through individual and foundation grants.
10. The Grounds department increases the frequency of trash pick-ups, sets out yellow jacket traps, power-washes the Wildlife Theater, and rearranges their schedule for auditorium set-ups and break-downs to accommodate the camp groups that need the facility. They also adjust their lawn mowing schedule to allow the camp kids to use the lawns throughout the day.
11. Taking a break from their ongoing weeding and watering, the Horticulture staff gathers branches, palm fronds and other plant matter to give the kids “fort-building” materials for their survival classes.
12. The Animal Management & Veterinary Care departments help make the vital connection between campers and the Zoo animals, leading behind-the-scenes tours, providing service projects as well as helping to teach some of the classes.
13. Our Public Safety department provides first aid and CPR classes for ZooCamp staff, and manages auto traffic amid the hectic comings and goings each morning and afternoon.
14. And lastly, the Conservation and Education Department:
They teach the classes, lead the tours, organize the crafts and games, lead the songs and bandage the occasional skinned knee. Even the non-teaching staff members help by assisting with Animal Close-ups, dealing with the sick or injured campers, training the seasonal staff and providing administrative support.
So the next time you see a bunch of smiling ZooCampers in their little matching T-shirts, just remember all the dedicated Zoo employees who help make those smiles possible. And don’t forget to tell your young ones about the cool outdoor fun awaiting them at Oakland ZooCamp every summer!