Monkey Business: The Oregon Zoo Foundation Education Campaign

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Live a richer life ® Examples Within our Community

Of all the things Deborah Mrazek values, educating children and making a difference in her community are near the very top of the list.

A design strategy and management consultant from the Portland area, Deborah is a co-chair of the Oregon Zoo Foundation Education Campaign, which supports program expansion, a new education center and seeks to protect one of the City of Roses’ most popular attractions for future generations.

With more than 1.5 million children and adults visiting the zoo each year, and thousands more attending zoo programs offered at schools, community centers, senior centers and regional natural areas, Deborah believes that this is an initiative that the Portland metro community can get behind in a big way.

“I’ve always had a passion for education and firmly believe that through education, everything is possible for individuals and communities,” Deborah, a member of the Brighton Jones community, said this week. “I believe the future of our region, and the world at large, depends on our ability to offer kids that spark of curiosity in the outdoors – and the tools to make a meaningful impact. I’m proud to support the Oregon Zoo’s education efforts.”

oregon zoo foundation

The Oregon Zoo Foundation’s $1.5 million education campaign provides funding in the following areas:

Reaching Tomorrow’s Conservation Leaders

Gifts to the educational campaign help provide new classrooms with science education tools and resources. STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) labs create exciting opportunities to engage high school and college students, while scholarships for camps and classes allow children and families to experience wildlife like never before.

Funding also supports the Zoo Animal Presenters (ZAP) program, which employs 30 teens from historically underrepresented communities in the Portland metro area to serve as conservation educators.

Small Things Matter

While many visitors know the zoo for its largest animals – from elephants to lions – the new education center highlights insects and other small wildlife to demonstrate the intricate connections we share with nature. Through interpretive displays and dynamic activity stations, the center’s Natural Exploration Station, or NESt, educates visitors on how our everyday decisions can help protect wildlife worldwide.

Investing in the Community

The educational campaign strives to develop an understanding and appreciation of conservation in an evolving global ecosystem.

Each year the Oregon Zoo Foundation contributes between $4-5 million to help fund the zoo’s work in conservation, education and animal welfare.  Learn more about the Oregon Zoo Foundation at their website, or call Susan Daigle (503.914.6029) to learn more about the foundation’s educational campaign that helps provide a more meaningful education experience to members of the Portland metro community!

Information in this post is courtesy of


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