A Wild Affair

… meet, greet, educate and eat

by Debbi Collar



A wise move once again for Stone Zoo  with
its recent fundraiser to improve the 110 year old facility It was the 11th year
that the Walter D. Stone Zoo hosted "A Wild Affair."  Stone Zoo has a history of being
hit by budget cuts that once closed its gates, and it continues with its financial
struggles to keep the facility from shutting down, yet it has now made a comeback
with its educational programs and updates of its habitats for a variety of wild animals
housed there.  

Monies raised from this event are targeted for maintenance and further
upkeep and improvement of the animal's living quarters.  Just last month, Melrose Mayor
Robert Dolan has recently sent a letter of support for Zoo New England to Governor
Charlie Baker requesting that he release 3.3 million dollars of previously authorized
funding to be slated for maintenance issues.  Although the zoo is located in
Stoneham, many other communities take part in enjoying the exhibits and educational
programs throughout the year.

"A Wild Affair," consisted of a meet, greet, educate and eat night out in which
trainers and animals met lines of visitors with a variety of feathered, furry,
quilled, and reptilian friends.

As visitors to "A Wild Affair," passed through Stone Zoo's gates, they
wandered past a replica of an Eagle's Nest and met many of the zoo's residents. Trainers
greeted lines of ticket holders outside the zoo gates imparting their  knowledge of
the animals they were working with  at the zoo.

Carmen Volante, Owl and Taylor Zant, Bateleur Eagle


MIke Cerutti, Green Winged Macaw and Aurora Potts, Eagle

A silent auction brought about two species specials.

The winners of the auction  taking part in training sessions-going in to the
area with the trainers of "Blue" the Cougar and watching a training session, the other
winner taking part in "feeding the alligators."  Many other items such as gift
certificates were on the tables for the silent auction.  The list of vendors, who generously
donated their time as well as food and drink, included:

Spiked Seltzer
Barefoot Wine & Bubbly
The Naked Grape
Jennifer Lee’s Gourmet Bakery
Sweet Lydia’s
Pisa Pizza
Woodman’s of Essex
Atria Senior Living
Season’s 52
Not Your Average Joe’s
Buffalo Wild Wings
Joe’s American Bar and Grill                     
Burton’s Grill
Fuji at Assembly
Karl’s Sausage
Harrow’s Chicken Pies
Whole Foods
Rainforest café
Tavern in the Square
Zesty Cookie Co.
Deep Eddy Vodka

Visitors tasted a variety of specialty foods and beverage concoctions offered
on the restaurants and caterer's menus.

Willow, rthe Reindeer, with zookeepers,Bethany Sylvester and Landon

Paddy, White Cheeked Gibbon

Entertainment was also provided by some of the antics of the animals, who
were performing for the crowds,such as the white cheeked gibbons, a Yellow
Footed Tortoise named Butch and Kupa, a Leopard Tortoise wandering in opposite
directions from where their trainers preferred them to be. Lupe, the coyote,
trotted into and out of his wooded habitat and Willow the reindeer, strolled the
grounds with zookeepers, Landon Shadoff and Bethany Sylvester.  Willow's antlered
friends overlooked the dining area, occasionally reaching through the fences for
their own taste of the freshly mowed grass and possibly a dropped morsel of food from
those enjoying the "tasting" portion of the evening.

Lupe, the Coyote, and Bubba, the Black Bear

Kupa, the Leopard Tortoise, and Green Winged Macaw

This year's program brought in $60,000, over 800 tickets were sold,
according to Zoo New England officials, and proceeds from ""A Wild Affair," will support
the operation and continued growth of Stone Zoo, its education programs and
conservation initiatives."

Plans are already in the works, according to Zoo New England media
relations officials, for "A Wild Affair" of 2016.

July 3, 2015

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