Local Non-Profits Cooperate on Programs

Logan UT 21 June 2017 – A list of upcoming activities at Zootah at Willow Park, showed cooperation and coordination with a variety of other non-profit organizations in Cache Valley. The natural questions that followed were, “Doesn’t that kind of collaboration cut into the donated dollars to your own organization?” and, “Don’t non-profits view other non-profits as competitors for limited funding?”

Barb Tew, Education Director at Zootah, answered that question with “We don’t”. For example, Zootah and Stokes Nature Center are worked together this summer on a native animal camp. The campers came to the zoo each morning and learned about and observed native species. Then, in the afternoon, they explore the wilds of the valley with the Nature Center staff. “We love to be able to work with other organizations. Our goals are largely the same – enrich the lives of Cache Valley residents and promote nature and science-based experiences that will change lives. Working together expands everyone’s capacity to spread knowledge”, Tew explained.

Another joint venture with many non-profits in the valley is July’s Cache Family Field Week. It is being planned in cooperation with the Bear River Land Conservancy, Zootah, Cache Valley Wildlife Association, the American West Heritage Center, and a for-profit organization, PacifiCorp. Each day the week of July 17 – 21, groups of families will go together on different excursions around the valley to learn about the natural wonders right in their own backyard. Trevor Irish, Director of Community Engagement for Bear River Land Conservancy, described the week as a way “to show the people in Cache Valley some of the special places here – places that make Cache Valley unique and beautiful. There are so many things to enjoy and protect here that people don’t even know exist. Like the firefly colony. Did you know we have a population of fireflies? Did you know they are disappearing?”

Troy Cooper, Director at Zootah, expressed admiration for the other non-profits in the valley, each contributing in its own way to the richness of life here. “We see a lot of the work that the other non-profits are doing because they come to the zoo. They are each filling a specific and very valuable need.” Groups from Common Ground, local schools, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, Head Start, USU organizations, and others often bring groups to Zootah for education programs. On event days, Stokes Nature Center, Bear River Land Conservancy, the Audubon Society and others set up booths to share information. Volunteer groups from churches, schools, and scouting help the zoo to grow and keep up with the demands of nearly 200 animals. Cooper continued, “It is that cooperative spirit among groups that helps us all reach higher. I believe that if we (non-profits) offer quality programs together, all organizations will benefit monetarily. But more importantly, we will all be better at reaching that common goal of affecting positive change in people’s lives. If we serve with that goal in mind, the rest will follow. It isn’t a competition.”

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