Zoo offering exhibit sponsorships

By Eric Butler: Freedom New Mexico

It’s not a move of desperation, conceived to bring money to a lagging enterprise, but the Hillcrest Park Zoo in Clovis is about to take the next step in raising money.

Sponsorships.

In a sense, according to zoo employees, local businesses have often been able to attach their name to different parts of the facility by donating goods or money.

Now, it’ll just be a little more systematic as each exhibit will be available for a price.

“There’ll be a special sign that will have photos of mammals, saying, ‘Sponsored by,’” said Wendy McCool-Lewis of Elliott Marketing.

Rose Riley, a member of the city’s Parks and Recreation Board, said a passion for the zoo lies behind the movement for sponsors. Riley said the money raised through advertising will go to Clovis Animal Rehabilitation and Educator Services and will be used toward upkeep and possible expansion of Hillcrest zoo.

“That’s probably one of the cutest and greatest ideas we’ve ever had for the zoo,” said Riley, who owns Katie’s Flowerland in Clovis.

“I love the zoo. I remember as a kid, living in Portales, getting to come up to the zoo,” Riley said.

The zoo made a big impression on her, she said, and it was the only one she visited for some time.

“Every other place had beautiful signage, and I just thought it was a way we could raise money,” Riley said.

Hillcrest Park Zoo is the second-largest zoo in the state, stretched over 22 acres in Clovis off Sycamore Street.

The sponsorships, for a one-year commitment, cost $55 per month. For two years, the price drops to $45 and, for three, down to $35 monthly.

“Anything that helps the zoo, we’re 100 percent for,” said Herschel Arnold, Hillcrest Park Zoo director.

Information: Hillcrest Park Zoo at 769-7873 or Elliott Marketing at 762-0462