Seal of Little Rock

Saturday, Apr 02, 2016

City of Little Rock Public Relations
Office (501) 371-4421

Media Releases

Contact(s): Susan Altrui 501-661-7208 direct 501-351-0273 cell

Zoo Opens New Heritage Farm Exhibit

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (April 2, 2016) – Almost a year in the making, the Little Rock Zoo will open its new Arkansas Heritage Farm exhibit today at 10:00 a.m. with a “Pass the Gift” ceremony where Heifer International will officially donate live animals to the farm.

An official “barn bow breaking” will then take place on the large red barn of the exhibit with city and state officials, Zoo staff and major donors including:  Zoo Director Mike Blakely, Mayor Mark Stodola, City Director Brad Cazort, Arkansas Zoological Foundation Chairman Lisa Buehler, Heifer International CFO Bob Bloom, Hiland Dairy General Manager Mike Flagg, and Arkansas Agriculture Department Director of Communications Adriane Barnes.

The “Pass the Gift” ceremony is an event integral to the organization’s field work, in which Heifer officially hands-off the livestock it donates to help build local economies through sustainable farming and create life-changing benefits that change farm families. The new exhibit at the Zoo will focus on Heifer’s mission and will provide educational graphics and resources for the public to learn more about the Heifer model.

The Arkansas Heritage Farm will feature fun, interactive play graphics that educate the public about Arkansas agriculture and sustainable farming. The exhibit features common farm animals as well as interesting heritage breed species such as Katahdin sheep, Blackberry sheep, and various breeds of heritage chickens and turkeys. The exhibit will also feature geese, African Pygmy goats, miniature donkeys and dwarf miniature horses. Guests will be allowed to pet, feed and groom most animals in the farm with Zoo staff assistance.

In addition to the animals, Heifer International provided support for the exhibit by donating a chicken tractor, educational graphics, and other educational materials for the farm. The chicken tractor displays a sustainable method of farming where a moveable chicken coop with no hard surface flooring is moved around to provide aeration and manure in specific farm areas. Chicken tractors are now found on large farms as well as in residential backyards.

Heifer International has also donated graphics to the Zoo that will educate the public about Heifer’s mission and the “Seven M’s.” The “Seven M’s” explain how an animal can be a catalyst for change: milk, manure, meat, muscle, money, materials and motivation. The “Seven M’s” are used frequently by Heifer to illustrate its core mission and use of animals in international philanthropic endeavors to end hunger and poverty.

Heifer International and the Zoo will also develop educational programs and materials that can be used in classrooms and as part of Zoo Education Outreach efforts. This ongoing partnership will provide resources for the Zoo to assist with its conservation education mission.

 The new exhibit overhauls the old Children’s Farm area of the Zoo and includes a big red barn, smaller barn, and chicken coop. Also included is a new playground with equipment suitable for persons with disabilities. A fun feature of the playground is a slide built into the side of a two-story silo.

The new farm is funded from the 3/8 Cent LRCENT tax for capital projects passed in 2011, along with private donations and a grant from the State of Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism Outdoor Recreation Grants Program.  Sponsors of the exhibit include Hiland Dairy, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture, Arkansas Milk Stabilization Board, the Central Arkansas Planning and Development District and several individual donations from the public gifted through the Arkansas Zoological Foundation. 

The Little Rock Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.  Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you and a better future for all living things.  With its more than 200 accredited members, AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation and your link to helping animals in their native habitats.  For more information,