NJIT Sponsors Turtle Back Zoo Exhibit
Kean University Montclair State already sponsor exhibits at the zoo.
New Jersey Institute of Technology is moo-ving into Turtle Back Zoo as one of three Garden State college sponsors.
The school will contribute $3,000 each year for the next three years to the Essex County zoo's highland cattle, or kyloe, exhibit.
"Their contribution will help us maintain the highland cattle exhibit and continue to provide our visitors with an educational and entertaining experience that raises awareness and appreciation of animals and nature," said Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. Monday at a small ceremony at the zoo that included NJIT students, faculty and zoo personnel. "We look forward to this partnership strengthening our relationship with the university, expanding opportunities for students and helping to build school spirit among students and faculty."
Highlander cattle are an ancient Scottish breed of beef cattle with long horns and black, red, brindled or yellow coats.
NJIT joins Kean University and Montclair State University as an exhibit sponsor. Kean sponsors the cougar exhibit for $3,000 a year and Montclair State sponsors the red tail hawk exhibit for $1,000 a year.
Though the $3,000 from NJIT primarily is to help support the highland cattle, Bob Altenkirch, the institute's president, said students from the Newark-based school will contribute to the zoo's future developments.
"We will solicit engineering and architecture students who may do future work by mapping out (the zoo's) infrastructure and designing exhibits," he said. "We also have students who volunteer at the zoo through their fraternities and sororities."
Altenkirch said the school's contribution also acts as a marketing tool.
"The zoo is an educational venue and a lot of prospective students come through here," he said. "So, we'd like them to see and hear about NJIT."
NJIT opted to sponsor the highland cattle exhibit because the school's mascot is the Highlander, he said.
DiVincenzo called the sponsorship a "team effort" and said it's a "win-win situation" for students and the school.
Kevin Ly, a freshman biology student at NJIT, said he grew up across the street from the zoo. "I wanted to support the president, my friends and the school," he said. "Over the summer, I now plan to come and volunteer."
Jonathan Gustafson, a junior biomedical engineering student at NJIT from Chicago, said Monday's ceremony was his first visit to the zoo. "I definitely think it will now be more interesting to tell people, 'Hey, we have a zoo out here and it has the name of our school,' " he said. "It will hopefully get a lot more people out here as well."
Jeremy Goodman, the zoo's director, said the sponsorship will help Turtle Back Zoo with future projects. "Beyond the sponsorship, it leads to students helping build projects and facilitate other future endeavors," he said.