PORTLAND – With spring just around the corner, Northwest campers should be prepared for encounters with black bears, cougars and bobcats — not to mention sea otters, elephants and giraffes. The Oregon Zoo’s popular Nature Rangers spring break camps return March 26-30, and summer camps start June 13th. It’s a time when zoo campers use a spotting scope to observe wildlife in Washington Park. (Photo credit, by Leah Nash, courtesy of the Oregon Zoo.)

Oregon Zoo camp kids explore animal-related careers and learn about veterinary care with the help of a Banfield veterinarian. Photo by Michael Durham, courtesy of the Oregon Zoo.

Banfield Pet Hospital renewed its year-round commitment to the zoo as a signature partner and is once again the presenting sponsor for zoo camps, including the popular Wildlife Careers and Creature Care camps, both of which feature visits from Banfield veterinary team members. 

“Banfield’s partnership with the zoo is helping to provide exciting and inspiring educational opportunities for kids from around the region,” said Grant Spickelmier, zoo education curator. “Together, we are committed to developing the next generation of leaders in animal care and wildlife conservation.”

The zoo’s new education center, which opened last March, serves as a focal point for the camps. The award-winning space features a nature-play area, species-conservation lab, insect zoo and brand-new classrooms nestled into a wooded hillside. 

“The center represents our region’s commitment to conservation education, and we are especially excited by the new opportunities it provides campers,” Spickelmier said.

Camp activities — specifically planned for the interests of each age group — include games, tours, stories, songs, animal visitors and take-home art projects inspired by the day’s theme. Campers will also get to try out scientific technologies like thermal imaging, temperature and light sensors, and video microscopes. At the Wildlife Careers and Creature Care camps, Banfield veterinarians help kids explore animal-related careers and teach them about veterinary care and responsible pet ownership.

A young visitor has a close encounter with lions at the Oregon Zoo. Photo by Kirsten Quatela, courtesy of the Oregon Zoo.

Young visitors watch one of the Oregon Zoo’s Humboldt penguins. The birds returned to the Penguinarium this week following a much-needed filtration upgrade that will save 7 million gallons of water annually. Photo by Michael Durham, courtesy of the Oregon Zoo.

Young visitors watch one of the Oregon Zoo’s Humboldt penguins. The birds returned to the Penguinarium this week following a much-needed filtration upgrade that will save 7 million gallons of water annually. Photo by Michael Durham, courtesy of the Oregon Zoo.

For more information and to register for camp, visit oregonzoo.org/camps.

The zoo’s professional camp staff has been helping children explore the wonders of wildlife through fun, hands-on learning since 1983. Staff members are selected for excellence in programming for children and typically have also worked for public schools, OMSI, Outdoor School or Audubon. Most are college graduates or are working on a degree, and many return year after year.

As part of the Metro family, the Oregon Zoo helps make greater Portland a great place to call home. 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 polar bears, orangutans and cheetahs. 

From Oregon Zoo:

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 9:30 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.

From Banfield Pet Hospital:

Founded in Portland, Ore., in 1955, Banfield is the largest general-veterinary practice in the world. In 2007, Banfield joined the Mars, Inc., family of businesses, and today has more than 1,000 hospitals across the United States. More than 3,500 Banfield veterinarians are committed to providing high-quality veterinary care for 3 million pets annually. Banfield’s charitable arm, the Banfield Foundation, was established in 2015 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the well-being of pets and communities. In 2017, Banfield Pet Hospital — including the work of the Banfield Foundation — was named among Points of Light’s Civic 50 as one of the most community-minded companies in the U.S. Press seeking additional information are invited to call the Media Hotline: (888) 355-0595.

 

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