A fundraising initiative is in the works at the New York State Zoo at Thompson Park to build several exhibit spaces for owl species found in the state.
Zoo Executive Director John T. Wright said he was excited about the possibility of bringing the nine owl species together in one location.
“Having a great diversity of owls in one area, people can see their importance and the ecology of New York,” Mr. Wright said. “It's interesting to see the diversity in one group.”
When complete, the zoo will have separate contained areas for great horned, barred, great gray, eastern screech, northern saw-whet, barn, long-eared and short-eared owls. The zoo already has multiple snowy owls.
He estimated creating each of the eight holding areas, which will likely be placed near the zoo's bear exhibit, will cost between $15,000 and $25,000. However, Mr. Wright said more planning was necessary to determine the project's final cost.
He said the fundraiser would be set up to let construction work begin on the exhibition spaces individually as money became available instead of waiting for all the money to be generated.
The Watertown Daily Times will help support the initiative, calling on readers to make donations to help fund the exhibits.
John B. Johnson, the Times's co-publisher and chief executive officer, said the Times's goal will be contributions of $50 each from 500 readers.
“We know our readers are very generous and very supportive,” Mr. Johnson said. “When given the chance, they really rise to the occasion.”
He said when the exhibitions are finished, they will be something contributors “can feel proud of and take ownership in.”
The Times's support of the owl exhibits follows previous fundraising projects for the zoo and the Jefferson County Historical Society.
Mr. Johnson said more information would arrive soon about how area residents and businesses can support the project.