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More than $3K raised for Heritage Park Zoo on Day 3 of ‘Lew Loves the Zoo’ event

Lew Rees, events and marketing director for Western News and Information, throws food in the javelina enclosure at Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary on Tuesday, March 5, 2019. Rees is at the zoo for “Lew at the Zoo,” a fundraiser held in conjunction with Courier Cares. The event continues through Thursday. (Jason Wheeler/Courier)

Lew Rees, events and marketing director for Western News and Information, throws food in the javelina enclosure at Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary on Tuesday, March 5, 2019. Rees is at the zoo for “Lew at the Zoo,” a fundraiser held in conjunction with Courier Cares. The event continues through Thursday. (Jason Wheeler/Courier)

The Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary raised $3,398.53 Tuesday, March 5, on the third day of the “Lew Loves the Zoo” fundraising event, bringing the total for the week so far to $21,470.37.

Held in conjunction with Courier Cares, the fundraiser sees Western News and Info Events and Marketing Director Lew Rees performing different zoo tasks all week. On Tuesday, he was zookeeper for a day, shadowing Sara Leppert as she did the various jobs of a zookeeper such as feeding the animals and cleaning their enclosures.

Rees said being zookeeper for a day was one of the best experiences he has ever had. He said it was eye-opening, and he respects what the zookeepers and the other staff at Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary do.

“When you’re just enjoying the zoo, walking past these animals, you don’t realize the work that goes in behind the scenes,” Rees said. “I encourage everyone who loves animals, who’s ever been to a zoo and who loves the zoo like we do to do that.”

Anyone can take part in the zookeeper for a day program as long as they are at least 18 years of age; those ages 13 to 17 can take part in the Junior Keeper program, with those younger than 16 accompanied by a paying adult.

Keeper for a Day runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and costs $100 per person for Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary Members or $125 for nonmembers.

For the Junior Keeper program, it is $150 plus accompanying adult for members who are ages 13 to 15, or $170 plus accompanying adult for nonmembers. For members who are ages 16 and 17, it is $75, or $85 for nonmembers.

Register for the program by calling at least one week before planning to attend and call to register.

“It allows you to experience what a keeper does all day,” said Ron Brashear, marketing and events coordinator for Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary. “We have four different strings, different types of animals from Kiwanis Corner all the way through to … large charismatic.”

On Wednesday, March 6, Rees is scheduled to not only work the gift shop some more, but head to Las Fuentes Resort Village with some animals.

Donations to Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary can be made in person or through their website, www.heritageparkzoo.org. The zoo is at 1403 Heritage Park Road in Prescott.

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