For Immediate Release
May 16, 2005
Contact: Brian J. O'Malley
Phillie Phanatic Visits Popcorn Park Zoo to Promote Compassion
FORKED RIVER – The Phillie Phanatic will support humane education for area schoolchildren when he visits Popcorn Park Zoo here on May 26 between the hours of 1 and 2 p.m. The boisterous and lovable team mascot will serve as a celebrity host to busloads of children learning the basics of humane animal treatment from the zoo’s self-guided tour for teachers. “The tour is designed to promote empathy and discussion,” said Zoo Director, John Bergmann. “We’re hoping children develop a deeper appreciation for the feelings of animals and each other.” The zoo sent letters to area schools last February encouraging field trips based upon compassionate animal treatment following appearances by Bergmann and Zoo Veterinary Director, Dr. Laney Baris, on several media outlets to promote the issue. The self-guided tour is the first version of a more elaborate education effort planned for the future. That version is pending due to financial restrictions, but zoo personnel are optimistic that support will increase when the public understands the relevance of compassionate education to the general welfare of the community. A declining donation rate has forced the organization to postpone several internal projects, but all felt the education program was too significant to delay. Bergmann decided the affect such a program can have on children and their futures was both consistent with their history and desperately needed. “People understand the value of what we do, and I’m confident they’ll come to our aid,” Bergmann said. “We’re very grateful to the entire Phillies organization to lend us the celebrity of such an endearing character to call attention to an issue that profoundly influences the quality of life in our communities.”
Click here for directions to Popcorn Park Zoo.
About the Associated Humane Societies and Popcorn Park Zoo
The Associated Humane Societies was founded in 1906 out of Newark, NJ and has grown to become New Jersey’s largest animal rescue organization. AHS provides food, shelter, medical care and adoption services for 18,000 animals each year through its Animal Care Centers in Forked River, Newark, Tinton Falls and Union. As one of the few shelters in New Jersey with full-time veterinary staff, AHS provides high-quality medical attention at each of its four locations. Popcorn Park Zoo in Forked River is renowned as a sanctuary for all animal species and remains one of the country’s only facilities for mistreated and neglected wildlife, exotics and farm animals. AHS is a leading provider of humane education in addition to enforcing state animal cruelty laws. Our website at www.ahscares.org provides a wealth of information about the organization and its mission.