April 7th, open to the public
One of the jewels of our city- the San Antonio Zoo– is a treasure that is a staple of your childhood that you lose touch with and return someday when you have kids of your own. The Zoological Society Board noticed this gap in a person’s life where they lose touch with the Zoo and the conservation and educational outreach efforts that enable it to be passed from generation to generation. ZOOMERS President and Founding member, Ben Ruttenberg found himself falling into that category. As a native of San Antonio, he grew up visiting the Zoo on almost a weekly basis, having strong family involvement at the Zoo. In 2012, a core group of young professionals, along with the Zoological Society Board, formed ZOOMERS as a means to connect young professionals back to the mission and happenings of the Zoo.
“I otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity to see all of the animals and habitats up close without visiting the Zoo as a child. The Zoo is my passion of mine and ZOOMERS helps expand awareness of the San Antonio Zoo’s mission of conservation and awareness,” states Ruttenberg.
ZOOMERS hopes to bring together all young professionals through supporting the San Antonio Zoo. Varying from many of the other young professional groups, the core philanthropy of ZOOMERS is to support the Zoo, which means caring both for the animals and preserving the habitats. All of the membership events are tied to either education, outreach, philanthropy, and of course all involving fun!
Quarterly events are held that are open to members only. ZOOMERS have established several signature events that members can look forward to each year. All of the events provide opportunities to learn more about different conservation efforts and contribute to the Zoo. Yearly events include:
Zooelectric- April 7th 2016, The annual Membership Mixer- and only event open to the public
Casino Safari- August 4th, 2106, The signature philanthropy which raises money for the Zoo general fund
Croctoberfest – October 6th, 2016 The ZOOMERS’ twist on the fun beer festival
Zoo Chats – February 2017*, A jeopardy style quiz show testing the knowledge of the San Antonio Zoo with prizes up for grabs such as a behind the scenes tour of the zoo.
Officially launching in 2013, with close to 500 people attending the initial kick-off membership drive, the Zooelectric mixer has become an annual event exposing potential members to the Zoo in a new and exciting way. This year’s Zooelectric will take place on Thursday, April 7th from 6-9pm in the ecological hippopotamus exhibit. Open to the public, this free event will allow party goers to learn more about the benefits of ZOOMERS and supporting the mission of the Zoological Society while having a fun time. Beer and wine will be served along with appetizers and exciting games.
In addition to seeing the Zoo in an up close and personal way, ZOOMERS members have other opportunities to get involved and advance the mission of the group. ZOOMERS is led by a board of directors with leadership positions of President, Vice President, and Secretary, each with a three year commitment. Another unique opportunity for involvement, is the liaison between the ZOOMERS Board and the Zoological Society Board. This individual serves as the link between the two groups, allowing for open communication and collaboration of ideas. Each ZOOMERS event also has a chair, with members on the committee carrying out the planning process. Members also have the chance to be involved in representing ZOOMERS in outreach efforts such as the SA Current Beer Fest and LOOP Mega Mixer.
“People don’t give enough credit to the Zoo. It provides people of every generation the opportunity to see and interact with animals from around the world. ZOOMERS is a way to experience, learn and give back to the San Antonio Zoo as a young professional,” says Ruttenberg.
Photo courtesy of the San Antonio ZOOMERS.
Anyone wanting to support the efforts of ZOOMERS can join at anytime at https://sazoo.org/support/ZOOMERS/become_a_zoomer/ with options available as either an individual or a couple. Membership is good for a full year from the date of joining. Benefits of ZOOMERS membership include access to the quarterly events open only to members, discounts to on tickets to events year-round including the ZooLaLa restaurant tasting event and the Zoo Ball After Party. New membership benefits will be unveiled at the Zooelectric party that will provide members an even greater connection to the Zoo. For more information about ZOOMERS, please contact saZOOMERS@sazoo.org or follow at Facebook/SAZOOMERS.
*Zoo Chats for FY2016 occurred on February 4th, 2016.
-By Ruth Morris