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The Great Backyard Bird Count!

February 9, 2011

Do you love birds and wish there was a way for you to help in their conservation? You’re just in luck! On February 9, 2011, Binder Park Zoo and the BC Brigham Audubon Society will be hosting a program about just that. This one-of-a-kind event will give guests an inside look into the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) and how you can help. Participants will learn not only about this wonderful scientific opportunity but also tips on identification and the use of photos for documenting sightings. This is a perfect opportunity for beginner bird watchers to hone their skills or for parents looking to get their children involved in nature right in their own backyard. Whatever the case may be, this is one event you don’t want to miss.

The official GBBC takes place on February 18-21, 2011 at the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary as well as locations all over the United States. This is the 14th annual event of its kind and all ages are welcome to attend. Learn how watching birds at your feeders or going out for a bird walk and recording your observations can be helpful to researchers at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society. “Taking part in the Great Backyard Bird Count is a great way to get outside with family and friends, have fun and help birds – all at the same time,” said Audubon Education Vice President, Judy Braus. “Even if you can only identify a few species you can provide important information that enables scientists to learn more about how the environment is changing and how that affects our conservation priorities.”

This program will be headed up by Josh and Kara Haas who are, in fact, both BC Brigham Audubon Society Board members. Kara Haas has been manager of the Michigan State University’s Kellogg Bird Sanctuary since 2009. She has been an interpretive naturalist for the past ten years and has worked for Michigan State Parks, the YMCA of Chicago’s Camp Pinewood and the Kalamazoo Nature Center. Kara loves spending time outside, typically leading a group of adults and children down a trail to learn about something intriguing in nature. Coincidentally, it was this passion of getting people outside to enjoy nature that led her to serve on the board of the Battle Creek Brigham Audubon Society and the Michigan Bird Conservation Initiative. Kara has a degree in Biology from Hope College and will soon complete a Master’s in Teaching from Western Michigan University.

For the past six years, Josh Haas has been involved with Raptors in the Michigan region in many different capacities. It all began at the Kalamazoo Nature Center where Josh was a part of the Bird of Prey Program. With the help of staff at the center, Josh was able to re-energize the program and today it now reaches several thousand people each year. His work involving the raptors includes training, health physicals, and programming and continues today at both the Nature Center and the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary. Each fall, however, his passion is re-directed to counting Hawks that fly at a great distance along Lake Erie.

Today, Josh is currently an official relief counter for the Detroit River Hawkwatch where he can be seen counting Southward Hawks on their way to wintering grounds. In addition, he is a Nature Photographer where his work can be seen by visiting glancesatnature.com. While his love for everything “birds” is evident, his passion for Raptors will always be the most prevalent.

A short BC Brigham Audubon business meeting will start promptly at 7:00 pm, with the presentation beginning immediately afterwards at 7:15 pm. The meeting will take place in the Cross Administration Building (Zoo Office). The event is free to the public. For more information, please contact Binder Park Zoo: 269-979-1351.


Don't Monkey Around, Be My Valentine!

January 12, 2011

Do you have a lot of love to give this Valentine’s Day? Binder Park Zoo has the perfect gift. Show your significant other just how much you truly care by giving them the opportunity to become an official ADOPT parent. For a limited time only Binder Park Zoo is offering a baby red-capped mangabey ADOPT in honor of the youngster’s birth on November 9, 2010 in the wee hours of the morning. This one-of-a-kind ADOPT package will include a genuine ADOPT certificate, an informational fact sheet about red-capped mangabeys, a special Valentine’s card and a color photograph of the animal all for just $20.

After allowing the baby to grow and mature, zookeepers have been able to determine that the newest arrival is in fact a little girl. Lola, as zookeepers have decided to name her, is doing very well and flourishing with her parents. This comes as very good news for zookeepers who have been keeping a close eye on the entire family dynamic during the past couple of months.

This is the first offspring for both parents. “We were apprehensive about the success of the parents rearing the infant since they are both first time parents, however they have exceeded our expectations with their close attention and care for the baby” said Andi Kornak, the Zoo’s Curator of Collections. Lola and her parents are set to be on exhibit when Binder Park Zoo opens for the 2011 season.

The red-capped mangabey is a small African primate weighing between 12 and 26 lbs, females being much smaller than males. Their home range is in the western equatorial countries in Africa; Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, and Republic of Congo. This arboreal species can be found foraging for fruits, nuts, tender shoots, mushrooms, ants, and flowers in troops of 14-23 animals. Their original habitat and numbers have greatly decreased over the last two decades due to human encroachment and hunting. Mangabeys are hunted for the commercial bushmeat trade which is heavily reducing wild populations. It is difficult for researchers to get an accurate survey of how many are left in the wild, but they can determine that this animal that was once widespread through out its home range is now drastically disappearing from areas with heavy agricultural and hunting pressure. Binder Park Zoo currently houses four red-capped mangabey monkeys and is only one of eight zoos in North America to exhibit this unique species.

Make this Valentine’s Day a memorable one by giving the gift of a Binder Park Zoo ADOPT. ADOPTS can be purchased online at www.binderparkzoo.org/support/adopt or by calling 269-979-1351 ext. 153.


ZOOROTICA Tour

February 12 and 13, 2011

Surprise your special someone with an experience they’ll never forget at Binder Park Zoo’s ZOOROTICA 2011. Join Binder Park Zoo on February 12th or 13th and learn about the love lives of the feathered, furry, and fanged. The ZOOROTICA tour begins promptly at 1:00 pm and runs to 5:00 p.m. and includes a special presentation and hors d’oeuvres. Cost is $40 per person or $70 per couple. Spaces are limited and reservations must be made by February 8th, 2011 by calling the zoo office Monday thru Friday- 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Experienced staff will lead you on a tour exploring the sexual lives of animals. The tour will end with hors d’oeuvres and a special DVD presentation on animal mating behaviors. Each couple will receive a small gift to commemorate their experience. This is an “adults only” event and participants must be 21 years or older.

Want to make the day even more memorable? Surprise your special someone with an animal adopt in their honor. Adoptions are just one way to help support the Zoo and a special way to remember your “ZOOROTICA” tour at the Zoo.

For those celebrating a special anniversary, marriage proposal, or other special event let the Zoo staff know in advance and they can help to incorporate your special celebrations.

ZOOROTICA: A Valentine’s Day to Remember!! When: Saturday, February 12 or Sunday, February 13th Where: Binder Park Zoo Time: 2:00 to 5:00 pm Costs: $40/person or $70 per couple. Spaces are limited and fill up quickly. Reservation must be made by February 8th, 2011 by calling the zoo office Monday thru Friday- 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


Education Raptors presented by Binder Park Zoo and the BC Brigham Audubon Society

January 12, 2011

Binder Park Zoo and Battle Creek Brigham Audubon are hosting an interesting and educational event on January 12th at 7:00pm. Come join Binder Park Zoo’s education staff as they discuss and present many of the educational animals residing at the Zoo, more specifically raptors. Guests will have the opportunity to see and learn about animals like the screech owl, great horned owl, barred owl and Harris hawk.

This event is geared toward the entire family. Learn about the diets, lifestyles, natural habitats and much more from trained and friendly Binder Park Zoo staff. These are the same animals that may visit a school or event near you so don’t miss out on the chance to get a behind the scenes glimpse of these magnificent raptors.

A short BC Brigham Audubon business meeting will start promptly at 7:00 pm, with the presentation beginning immediately afterwards at 7:15 pm. The meeting will take place in the Cross Administration Building (Zoo Office). The event is free to the public. For more information, please contact Binder Park Zoo: 269-979-1351.


Winter Programs at Binder Park Zoo

December 6, 2010

The weather outside may be frightful but the programs and activities offered at Binder Park Zoo are certainly delightful. Whether celebrating a birthday or participating in one of two Scout programs, winter enthusiasts will have no problem finding something fun to do at Binder Park Zoo this winter.

Throwing a Zoorific Birthday Party at Binder Park Zoo is the perfect way to celebrate that special occasion. This unique experience is offered to children 3 years of age and up and takes place Saturdays and Sundays only, December 4 – December 12 and January 8 – April 17, 2011. Times available are Saturdays from 10:30am – 12:00pm or 2:00 – 3:30pm and on Sundays from 2:00 – 3:30pm.

Choose to have a party in Binder Park Zoo’s Binda Conservation Discovery Center classroom or at the Binda Conservation Carousel building. Mom and dad will not have to worry about anything at one of Binder Park Zoo’s WILD Birthday Parties. Sit back and enjoy the fun as you see live animal presentations, play games and even create a craft to take home. Each party is crafted specifically for each individual guaranteeing that no party is exactly the same.

Each party package includes up to 12 guests, including the birthday child, paper products, Birthday Keepers to run the party, a craft activity based on the child’s age and favorite animal, fruit punch, water and two snacks for each guest and an animal encounter with four education animals. Cost of attendance is $255 for non-members, $229 for members and $5 each for any additional guests.

No winter Birthdays? Not to worry, there are two Winter Scout Programs also offered during these chilly months. The Scout Winter Zoo Snooze is the perfect way to fight the winter blues. Pack up the entire scout group and spend the night at Binder Park Zoo! Scouts will have the opportunity to participate in winter themed activities, see a live animal presentation, and play exciting indoor and outdoor games, all while working towards receiving a badge. This program takes place every weekend now through February and cost $30 per child and $25 per adult. All participants will receive a late night snack, light breakfast, souvenir cup and souvenir patch. T-shirts can also be purchased for an additional fee.

In addition to the Zoo Snooze, Binder Park Zoo also offers the Winter Badge-in-a-day Program. Get ready and bundle up your scout group for an exciting, up-close experience with nature. During this two-hour program, scouts will work on badge requirements through fun games, a live animal presentation and more. Programs are available for scouts of all ages. This program is available now through February after school or on weekends and the cost is $5 per person with one leader getting in free.

All programs will take place on the East side of the Zoo. Wild Africa is closed for season. To register and for information about Binder Park Zoo and other programs offered please call 269-979-1351 or visit www.binderparkzoo.org.


Binder Park Zoo welcomes a baby red-capped mangabey!!

November 29, 2010

What could be better to celebrate the holidays than with a joyous occasion as a birth! Binder Park Zoo is proud to announce another addition to its family. On November 9, 2010, in the wee hours of the morning, a baby red-capped mangabey monkey (Cercocebus torquatus) was born. This is Binder Park Zoo’s first birth of this species since it began exhibiting them in 1999 with the opening of Wild Africa.

“The zoo has been working diligently with AZA (American Association of Zoos and Aquariums) for ten years to bring together a pair of animals that would have all the right attributes for a successful breeding” said Jenny Barnett, Director of Wildlife Management Conservation and Education. The mother is a 4 year old that was brought in from the Denver Zoo in late 2009, and the father, a 20 year old male, was brought in from the Houston Zoo in 2000.

This is the first offspring for both parents. “We were apprehensive about the success of the parents rearing the infant since they are both first time parents, however they have exceeded our expectations with their close attention and care for the baby” said Andi Kornak, the Curator of Collections.

The red-capped mangabey is a small African primate weighing between 12 and 26 lbs, females being much smaller than males. Their home range is in the western equatorial countries in Africa; Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, and Republic of Congo. This arboreal species can be found foraging for fruits, nuts, tender shoots, mushrooms, ants, and flowers in troops of 14-23 animals. Their original habitat and numbers have greatly decreased over the last two decades due to human encroachment and hunting. Mangabeys are hunted for the commercial bushmeat trade which is heavily reducing wild populations. It is difficult for researchers to get an accurate survey of how many are left in the wild, but they can determine that this animal that was once widespread through out its home range is now drastically disappearing from areas with heavy agricultural and hunting pressure. Binder Park Zoo currently houses four red-capped mangabey monkeys and is only one of eight zoos in North America to exhibit this unique species.

Zookeepers are keeping a close watch on the development of this baby to ensure it is ready for exhibit in Wild Africa in the spring. “Under close supervision of the mother, the baby is starting to show some independence. In fact, climbing lessons started when it was only ten days old” said Becky Bolen, one of Binder Park Zoo’s zookeepers.

The sex of the infant is still unknown as it is very difficult to determine until they are older. The mother is very protective and staff are keeping their distance for now. Check the Zoo’s website www.binderparkzoo.org and our facebook page, www.facebook.com/binderparkzoo for updates.


Binder Park Zoo presents a discussion on the Kalamazoo River Oil Spill with Dr. Chris Tabaka

December 8, 2010

Binder Park Zoo and Battle Creek Brigham Audubon are welcoming special guest speaker Dr. Chris Tabaka, turtle expert and Binder Park Zoo’s Staff Veterinarian on Wednesday, December 8th at 7:00pm. This unique presentation will give guests a one-of-a-kind, behind the scenes, start to finish look into the Kalamazoo River Oil Spill and how it affected wildlife in our own backyards.

A graduate of Michigan State University, Dr. Tabaka received a Bachelors of Science in Biology and a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine degree with honors from the college of veterinary medicine. He has been in the field of zoo medicine for sixteen years including working at the Toledo Zoo, Memphis Zoo, and Detroit Zoo. Since early 2007, he has worked as the Staff Veterinarian at Binder Park Zoo.

Dr. Tabaka taught turtle and tortoise medicine and husbandry in China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore as well as multiple forums throughout the United States. He is a founding board member for the World Chelonian Trust and the Turtle Survival Alliance. He is also a member of the international IUCN Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialists Group based in Switzerland. In addition, he operates as a veterinary advisor for the Association of Zoos and Aquarium Chelonian Taxon Advisory Group, lectures annually at Michigan State University, and is an adjunct faculty member in the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine.

Most recently, Dr. Tabaka has been the leading reptile and amphibian expert at the Wildlife Response Center in Marshall which was organized immediately following the oil spill. He has assisted in rehabilitating and releasing over 2000 reptiles and amphibians since the oil spill occurred during the summer of 2010 and is currently overseeing the medical care of almost 500 further animals.

A short BC Brigham Audubon business meeting will start promptly at 7:00 pm, with the presentation beginning immediately afterwards at 7:15 pm. The meeting will take place in the Cross Administration Building (Zoo Office). The event is free to the public. For more information, please contact Binder Park Zoo: 269-979-1351


Sleigh Bells can be heard at Binder Park Zoo!

November 22, 2010

Binder Park Zoo is the place to be this holiday season. Kick off the festivities with a trip to Holiday Nights only at Binder Park Zoo where the fun begins on December 17 and continues through the 23rd from 5:00pm – 8:00pm every night. The cost of attendance is $4 for Members and $5 for Non-members. Children under 2 years of age get in FREE!

Come experience wintry evenings at Binder Park Zoo. Stroll along lighted paths with nightly entertainment as you view some of our weather-hardy animals on exhibit enjoying the winter season. These special evenings will include unlimited FREE carousel rides, up-close animal meet and greets, special holiday activities, time with Santa and his animal friends, and story time with Mrs. Claus. (Wild Africa will be closed.)

In addition, on December 17 and 18 come enjoy Dinner with Santa! Enjoy a delicious spaghetti dinner from Fazoli's and exclusive time with Santa in the Cross Administration Building. Once you’re full of good food and good times head on out to Holiday Nights. Dinner will be served promptly at 5pm and will continue until 6:30pm. Tickets are limited so make sure to register today!


Binder Park Zoo presents Trumpeter Swans with Joe Johnson

November 10, 2010

Binder Park Zoo and Brigham Audubon are welcoming special guest speaker Joe Johnson, the retired Chief wildlife biologist and manager of the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary on Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at 7:00pm. This one-of-a-kind presentation will include discussion on wildlife, habitat preservation and species restoration of the Trumpeter Swan.

Joe Johnson is a certified Wildlife Biologist with a Bachelor and Masters of Science in Wildlife Management from Michigan State University. Mr. Johnson retired in 2007, but not before doing his part in helping reintroduce and stabilize the Trumpeter Swan population in Michigan.

Throughout his career, Johnson served as an informational resource for local and regional wildlife and conservation issues. Through being active in the community and professional organizations, Mr. Johnson furthered the relationship between the general public and the Sanctuary. For example, Johnson involved the Sanctuary with the Michigan Trumpeter Swan restoration project, which brought a nearly extinct waterfowl population back to one of its native habitats.

Starting in 1986, Joe Johnson began the effort to restore the Trumpeter Swan to Michigan. This species of bird had been missing in Michigan for the past century before this effort began. Mr. Johnson will go into more detail regarding this effort at this upcoming event.

Today, Joe Johnson is still very active in educating the community on the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary’s history and biology. In accordance with his mission, when Johnson retired in 2007, the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary established the Joe Johnson Endowment Fund for Wildlife Conservation Fellowships to honor his lifetime dedication to wildlife conservation and education. The purpose of this fund is to provide financial support for students who want to study and work with wildlife conservation and habitat preservation or restoration at Kellogg Bird Sanctuary. In fact, before the end of 2007, the fund had already raised more than $60,000 for this particular scholarship.

A short Brigham Audubon business meeting will start promptly at 7:00 pm, with the presentation beginning immediately afterwards at 7:15 pm. The meeting will take place in the Cross Administration Building (Zoo Office). The event is free to the public. For more information, please contact Binder Park Zoo: 269-979-1351.


Last chance to check out the Great ZooBoo 2010

October 27, 2010

The fun isn’t over yet; you still have time for ZooBoo fun! The last week of this year’s the Great ZooBoo begins on Wednesday, October 27 and continues through Halloween night. Dive right into the buccaneer spirit and bring the kids down to Binder Park Zoo for a merry not scary Halloween tradition.

Guests will walk through the gates and be immediately immersed into a swashbucklin’ setting complete with fun-loving pirate characters and festive Halloween decorations. Tons of jack-o-lanterns will line the trails along with hundreds of scarecrows and harvest themed decorations. Many animals will also be on exhibit including the Smith Snow Leopard Encounter, Mexican wolves, red pandas, and more. The Miller Children’s Zoo has been transformed from a petting zoo into the exciting BooVille Carnival where youngsters enjoy the carnival atmosphere and play a variety of games to win fun prizes. The Binda Conservation Discovery Center will also be open, offering a place where children can view several small animal exhibits, participate in interactive activities, and take in the nightly entertainment venues including magicians, clowns, and more. As always, there will be hayrides, train rides, and a festive fall atmosphere. Don’t forget to bring your own Trick – or – Treat bag!

There is plenty of fun to be had at Binder Park Zoo this week. What better way to spend your Halloween celebration than at the Zoo! Bring the entire family out for a spectacular pirate show by Triton’s Fury, a magic show or come see Toothpick the Clown.

Not only is Zoo Boo a fun, family friendly event that has been part of the Battle Creek community for 24 years, it is also the Zoo’s largest fundraiser. The funds raised through this event go to support the care and feeding of the over 600 animals that call Binder Park Zoo home. The animals stay at the Zoo all winter, even though it is closed to the public. With rising costs in animal feed and electricity, fund raisers like Zoo Boo are an essential piece to the puzzle of running a self-sustaining non-profit.

In order to make Binder Park Zoo’s the Great ZooBoo a success, a vast number of great community sponsors have come together in support of this family friendly event. These businesses and organizations that lend a helping hand include the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, Kellogg Company, Post Cereals, Best Buy, Meijer, Adam’s Outdoor Advertising, Kiwanis, Bank of America, Battle Creek Knights, Battle Creek Revolution, Battle Creek Citizen’s Police Academy Alumni Association, Child Development Center, Craft Photography, Fazoli’s, Fun Services, Battle Creek Community Foundation, and Miller College.

Hours are Wednesday-Friday 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 1:00p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Tickets cost $7/person Wednesday – Friday and $8/person Saturday and Sunday. For more information visit, www.binderparkzoo.org/ or call 269-979-1351.


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