Allison Stedman is organizing this fundraiser on behalf of Rebecca Stedman.
During the 2019 season, as new owners we were often asked about our thoughts and feelings towards the future of Fort Rickey Discovery Zoo... Any member of the Stedman family would be ecstatic to ramble on and on about the endless ideas, learning opportunities, and the big hopes, dreams, and goals we shared for the local children's zoo we call home. We loved any opportunity to share every detail planned to make Fort Rickey a place where children can experience unforgettable hands on learning. Purchasing and running Fort Rickey in 2019 was a life changing reality that brought purpose, inspiration, and closeness to the Stedman family that we are dying to share with all those who visit. As Rebecca said after the purchase of Fort Rickey, "We feel absolutely certain that we were meant to be here. There's so many miracles that had to happen in order for it to all fit."
But if you were to ask any of us today how we felt about the uncertain future of Fort Rickey, we would tell you that we are clinging desperately to hope. Who could have guessed that the affects of a pandemic would become the new reality for our country, our local businesses, our neighbors, our essential workers, our family, and our animals? Opening day for the 2020 season at Fort Rickey is scheduled for May 16th - however, the Corona COVID-19 pandemic may put that on hold. With scheduled school groups being canceled, we will lack a significant amount of funds needed to open for the season and to keep this zoo afloat. Several members of our family are working hard as essential employees for our neighboring businesses, to give back to our community whilst earning whatever income we can for Fort Rickey; but it is just barely enough. We are not a private zoo owned and funded by a corporation or non-profit. We are your neighbors, your friends, and a farm family that must work together to keep this zoo running - just as it has always been at Fort Rickey.
We truly believe that our country must do whatever is needed to keep this pandemic under control, but if we are unable to open this season, Fort Rickey will not survive. We are not the only business who feels this desperation; small business and farmers throughout the country are holding onto whatever hope they can find for as long as they possibly can. We understand that every person, family, and business has been impacted by this pandemic in ways that are competely unfathomable. But through desperation, we are asking our community for help and support during this trial. If you have the means to donate to Fort Rickey Discovery Zoo in order to help feed the animals you all know and love, we would be thankful beyond words.
Although you may donate through this go fund me, we have created other ways that you can support Fort Rickey Discovery Zoo while knowing exactly how you are contributing. If you click this link you can sign up for the opportunity to sponsor a Fort Rickey animal of your choice. When you sponsor an animal, your gifts are designated specifically for that animal and you become apart of the family! You’ll get “quarterly connections” which are seasonal updates that include exclusive pictures or videos of the animal you sponsor.
If you are unable to help financially, we always welcome the donations of animal toys, unwanted or slightly spoiled produce, cleaning supplies, and farm tools or equipment. You can find a list of specific items by clicking on the link mentioned above.
Beginning April 19th, we will be featuring a "Fort Rickey Animal of the Week" on our Fort Rickey Facebook page including photos, videos, details, stories, and facts about that animal! Our goal here is to allow our supporters the ability to get to know the animals more personally despite the quarantine.
We would like to thank our country, our community, our neighbors, friends, and family for being so incredibly supportive! Stay safe everyone!
-The Fort Rickey Discovery Zoo Family
*Located in Rome, New York, Fort Rickey Discovery Zoo offers engaging animal interactions with fun activities for kids of all ages. Fort Rickey is home to a variety of native and exotic animals, many of which are featured in daily hands-on educational presentations. All the animals living here are pampered, loved, and provided with everything they need for their physical and mental well being. Fort Rickey takes great pride in their level of animal care, it is always the top priority. The Fort Rickey Discovery Zoo is a special kind of petting zoo with a focus on children and healthy family fun. Everything we do here centers on the understanding that, for kids, passive observation of zoo animals is not enough. Children need to be engaged. They need to use all their senses to explore, manipulate and discover.
Although our focus is clearly on fun for Central New York families, we also have a higher mission. We are committed to the belief that children who have experienced the joy of kind and gentle interaction with animals are more likely to become adults who care about wildlife and conservation.
We will strive to provide the highest quality care for our animals while providing the best in healthy, outdoor family entertainment and education.*