Portland, 5th, 2016.  The Oregon College Savings Plan has renewed its year-round commitment to the Oregon Zoo as a signature partner and will once again be presenting sponsor for the zoo’s spring field trips, helping to provide exciting and inspiring educational opportunities for students and their families.

As springtime arrives at the zoo, the rows of bright yellow school buses can seem as ubiquitous as daffodils. Around 75,000 local students visit the zoo from April through June, making field trips to support school lessons on wildlife and ecosystems.

“We are thrilled to be renewing our partnership with the zoo,” said Michael Parker, executive director of the Oregon College Savings Plan. “Our organizations share many of the same values and goals, such as supporting education throughout Oregon, providing useful and relevant information to Oregon families, and serving as a positive, engaged community partner.”

In partnership with the zoo, the Oregon College Savings Plan is giving away one household membership to the zoo each month. At the end of the year, a grand-prize winner will be randomly selected to receive a $1,000 Oregon College Savings Plan account. Last year’s grand-prize winner was James Hitchcock of Grants Pass. To enter and review the official rules, visit OregonCollegeSavings.com/zoo by Dec. 31, or enter in person at the zoo gift shop. (No purchase required; void where prohibited.)

In addition, any teacher who signs up for a field trip before June 1, will automatically be entered to win a fall ZooSchool experience at his or her school.

Field trips are a tradition for many schools, and the zoo sees these visits as a key opportunity to empower students to be active and engaged stewards of the earth’s wildlife and ecosystems. Each year, the zoo partners with schools to provide educational experiences for children on site, and partners with teachers to help build environmental literacy into classroom curriculums.

“Oregon College Savings Plan’s partnership with the zoo is helping us bring important environmental education programs to more children in the area,” said Grant Spickelmier, zoo education curator. “Together, we are committed to developing the next generation of conservation leaders.”

The Oregon Legislature created the Oregon College Savings Plan, a state-sponsored 529 college savings plan, in 2001 to help families plan for future college expenses and save for higher education with tax advantages. As of Dec. 31, 2015, the plan has grown to more than $1.2 billion, serving more than 71,000 individuals in Oregon.

From Oregon Zoo:

The zoo is a service of Metro and is dedicated to its mission of inspiring the community to create a better future for wildlife. Committed to conservation, the zoo is currently working to save endangered California condors, Oregon silverspot and Taylor’s checkerspot butterflies, western pond turtles and Oregon spotted frogs. Other projects focused on saving animals from extinction include studies on Asian elephants, polar bears, orangutans and cheetahs.

Support from the Oregon Zoo Foundation enhances and expands the zoo’s efforts in conservation, education and animal welfare. Members, donors and corporate and foundation partners help the zoo make a difference across the region and around the world.

The zoo opens at 9 a.m. daily and is located five minutes from downtown Portland, just off Highway 26. The zoo is also accessible by MAX light rail line. Visitors who travel to the zoo via MAX receive $1.50 off zoo admission. Call TriMet Customer Service, 503-238-RIDE (7433), or visit trimet.org for fare and route information.