Reindeer Arrive at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo

Santa’s Helpers Visit the Zoo for the Holiday Season  BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – Nov. 24, 2017 – A pair of reindeer are visiting the Zoo for the holiday season. Santa’s helpers Sam and Jacob arrived from the Far North and are settled into their new home, a temporary exhibit near the Victorian Greenhouse. The yearling males will be Zoo guests until New Year’s, with the possible exception of Christmas Eve.  (Their short departure on that evening would take place after the Zoo closes for the evening, and they would be back in their enclosure on the morning of December 26, when the Zoo re-opens after Christmas.) “Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is proud to welcome our reindeer guests. It’s been a long time since we’ve had reindeer at the Zoo, so we encourage everyone to come visit them while they’re here,” said Gregg Dancho, zoo director. “It’s an incredible opportunity for our guests to see these fascinating animals up close.” The zoo is grateful to our special exhibit sponsors for making the reindeer visit possible: People’s United Bank, Wheels Up, and Aquarion Water Company. About Reindeer Reindeer are medium-sized deer entirely covered in fur from their noses to their hooves. They are the only deer species to have fur completely covering their nose. Their antlers are the Reindeer’s most striking characteristic, and in comparison to their body size, Reindeer have the largest and heaviest antlers of all living deer species. They are also the only species where both males and females have antlers. Reindeer weigh between 240 and 600 pounds, and are between four and five feet tall. They are uniquely adapted...

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo and Fairfield University Use Ground Penetrating Radar to Map Prairie Dog Burrows

Study Partners Include State Archeologist, the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History, and United States Department of Agriculture  BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – November 20, 2017 – Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo’s bellwether behavioral studies program in concert with the Biology Department at Fairfield University has gone one step further to improve animal welfare and conservation: using the latest technology to solve an underground mystery. An encounter between Ashley Byun, Ph.D., Fairfield University’s associate professor of biology and Brian Jones, Ph.D., state archaeologist, at a recent TEDx event in Danbury spurred the idea for using Ground Penetrating Radar to map the complicated maze of burrows that is home to two Black-Tailed prairie dog colonies at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo. Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) mapping equipment was brought to the Zoo by Jones. David Colbert, program and public information coordinator for the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History, and Debbie Surabian, state soil scientist with the United States Department of Agriculture, assisted in the work. The team was joined by Scott Brady, with the Friends of the Office of State Archaeology (FOSA), and Jim Knox, curator of education for the Zoo, along with Linda Tomas Zoo Registrar, and Animal Care Specialists Greg Westman and J.T. Warner. Rope lines and colored flags identified a path for the radar equipment to follow, corresponding to careful measurements of the burrows beneath the ground. The GPR equipment was guided over the uneven terrain on a wheeled cart. “We’ve been tracking the prairie dog colony for three years now,” said Byun. “We’ve tried a lot of different ways to figure out the different burrow connections and the population dynamics in...

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo Receives $10,000 Grant from People’s United Community Foundation

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo today announced they have received a $10,000 grant from People’s United Community Foundation, the charitable giving arm of People’s United Bank, N.A. (NASDAQ: PBCT). Annually, the Foundation offers awards in support of programs and services that enhance the quality of life for residents across its footprint with three core areas of focus that include: affordable housing, community and youth development. The funds will be allocated to support area students who participate in the Zoo’s teen program, Conservation Discovery Corps (CDC). The CDC is a yearlong program designed for high school students to work side-by-side with field biologists, study the role of zoos in conservation, and help educate the thousands of visitors each year. The CDC accepts applications for students to participate in the program through January 15th each calendar year, and training begins in February. The Zoo is currently accepting student applications for the 2018 CDC experience.  The Zoo is grateful to its many members, supporters, and corporate partners that help to educate, delight, and bring animal welfare and conservation to the state of Connecticut. In particular, the Zoo wishes to thank People’s United Community Foundation for its ongoing support. Since 2007, the Foundation has awarded 10 grants to the Beardsley Zoo totaling $220,000. “We are thrilled to continue our support of the Beardsley Zoo and to help facilitate student understanding of the importance of wildlife conservation and the role these sometimes endangered animals play within our ecosystem,” said Karen Galbo, Executive Director, People’s United Community Foundation. “At the very core of The Foundation and the Banks’ roots is community impact and the zoo represents a...

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo Announces Winners in Scarecrows on Parade Competition

The winning scarecrows have been named in Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo’s Annual Scarecrows on Parade competition. Each year, the Zoo invites schools, art classes, scouts, and individual classrooms to create their own one-of-a-kind scarecrow designs, exhibited in front of the Greenhouse through the months of October and November. Once again, guests and Zoo staff were delighted by the silly, scary, freaky, and frightening results. The Zoo provided the students with the materials needed to build a scarecrow, while participants supplied the design elements and creativity. Local companies stepped forward as sponsors, and underwrote the $250 cost for each scarecrow. Guests at Boo at the Zoo on October 29 voted for their favorite scarecrows in four categories, with prizes traditionally awarded the first week of November. This year’s winners are: Best in Show: The Phoenix, created by The Academy Art Class in Milford, taught by Mrs. Dancho. Sponsored by Milford Animal Hospital. Best Whimsical Scarecrow: The Mermaid, created by Classical Studies Magnet Academy Annex in Bridgeport, taught by Mrs. Eschert. Sponsored by Aquarion Water Company. Best Traditional Scarecrow: Unnamed, created by Long Hill Elementary School in Shelton, taught by Mrs. Manus. Sponsored by David Grant Catering. Best Animal Scarecrow: The Bee Hive, created by Orange Community Nursery School in Orange. Sponsored by Sean-Michael Green and Family. “Children’s imaginations make this event so much fun for everyone,” said Gregg Dancho, zoo director. “Every year we can’t wait to see what the students come up with, and we’re never...