Happy zoo Zoom birthday to you

Santa Fe Zoo
Santa Fe Zoo
Courtesy of Santa Fe Teaching Zoo

Happy birthday to you. You belong in a zoo.

That’s what Conservation Education Curator Jade Salamone was thinking when she developed a way for animal lovers to visit with Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo inhabitants even though the zoo has been closed to visitors since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I came up with Zoo Zoom Birthdays a couple months ago,” Salamone said. “We were closed to the public and we were looking at ways to educate and engage our guests and bring joy to people quarantining at home.”

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Here’s how it works. People interested in a zoo Zoom visit can reach out to the zoo by emailing zoo@sfcollege.edu and choose a date and time.

Salamone said she is the host for all of the zoo Zoom birthday visits so it’s based on her schedule.

“We send them a Zoom meeting link and they join on at the reserved time,” Salamone said. “Some people invite friends to call in or we just do a one-on-one meeting. I introduce them to one of our animals at the zoo, teach them about them and take questions. I’ve had calls that only lasted 5-10 minutes and some nearly 45 minutes.”

The birthday outreach is available through the end of June.

“We don’t charge or require a donation,” Salamone said. “After the call we send them an email and tell them about our ‘Adopt an Animal’ (program).

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