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the national zoo is losing about half a million dollars in funding this year, and the Smithsonian is planning on shuttering sparklet’s beloved kids’ farm (and it’s sister attraction, the pizza park) to offset the short fall.
according to the washington city paper:
The Kids Farm costs $250,000 per year to operate with three staffmembers, and given that it hosts no endangered species and is not a part of the Zoo’s research activities, it was an easy thing to lose.
“The kids farm is very important to me personally,” said Zoo director Dennis Kelly. “But it is a change that we can affect relatively quickly and relatively safely for the animals.”
of course the cynic in me (who spent four years on Capitol Hill, and five in non-profit fundraising) is hoping that the image of the kids farm on the chopping block is just a lever of sorts…
while i’m sure there’s not a lot of corporate interests lining up to sponsor the anteater pavillion, but something tells me that the Zoo is hoping to parlay the impending public outcry to line up sponsors for both the farm (john deere, osh kosh, gerbers, organic valley) and the pizza park (pizza hut, papa john’s, domino’s).
in a recent interview, the head of the Zoo let slip that it would take “just a $5 million endowment” to save both the farm and the pizza park in perpetuity.
until then, i think we can expect a steady stream of photogenic baby sit-ins, bake sales, and fundraisers.