BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo announced that a second Zoomobile sponsored by the Pediatric Care Alliance with Connecticut Children’s and Hartford HealthCare is now roaring off to schools in the area. The second Zoo vehicle has been wrapped with a colorful Amur tiger design and is ready to zoo-m throughout the region to educate children in schools, camps, and other facilities about popular Zoo animals and other impactful STREAM activities.
The first Zoomobile sponsored by the Pediatric Care Alliance with Connecticut Children’s and Hartford HealthCare visited a number of facilities in Fairfield County in June and July: Cesar A. Batalla School, Tisdale School, Roosevelt School, Alan J. Lewis Academy, and Hall Neighborhood House. More Zoomobile sponsored visits are scheduled this fall.
Connecticut Children’s and Hartford HealthCare recognize the value educational efforts like the Zoomobile can bring to underserved communities that have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. Sponsoring the Zoomobile is just one way these two health systems are doubling down on their efforts to support the optimal development and health of all children.
Although the pandemic reduced the number of Zoomobile visits in 2020 and 2021, in a typical year the Zoo delivers as many as 250 Zoomobile presentations, reaching more than 25,000 children throughout the region. For 2022, the Zoo anticipates dozens of Zoomobile programs, often with multiple presentations at a venue. Curator of Education Jim Knox says he expects that number to rapidly accelerate for the 2022-2023 school year.
“There is a lot more to children’s health than fixing the broken bones and treating illness. While it is integral to the work we do, we believe in doing everything we can to keep kids out of the hospital. We have a responsibility to treat the whole child, and that includes making sure they have access to healthcare and opportunities like this one,” said Jim Shmerling, Connecticut Children’s President and CEO. “The Zoomobile provides an incredible opportunity to reach children at home and in their neighborhoods and to feed their minds by promoting lifelong learning.”
“Hartford HealthCare is committed to transforming healthcare, increasing access to care and to education. Partnerships like these help parents and children live their healthiest lives, and that’s why we are so proud to help support this community-based educational program,” said Jeffrey A. Flaks, Hartford HealthCare’s President and CEO. “This Zoomobile helps us bring education and smiles to children in their schools, neighborhood organizations and houses of worship. It is a great way to promote education and enjoyment for our youngest patients.”
“As the state’s only Zoo, we are serious in our commitment to educating children about the natural world, diversity of species, climate change and challenges to our environment,” said Zoo Director Gregg Dancho. “Our Zoomobile presentations are wildly popular and are great fun for children and adults. By partnering with the Pediatric Care Alliance with /Connecticut Children’s and Hartford HealthCare, our ability to reach children throughout the state and make a positive contribution to enriching their studies is greatly magnified. We’re very grateful for their support.”
The Zoomobile travels throughout the state and beyond to deliver educational programming. Past venues have included The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Mass., and the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City. Zoomobile visits include three to four live animal ambassadors and an opportunity for children to touch the animals and examine rare artifacts.
Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is a non-profit organization celebrating its Centennial year when the mission of helping fragile wildlife populations and eco-systems is more important than ever. Tickets must be purchased on the Zoo’s website at beardsleyzoo.org.