Sacramento Zoo Plant ID Signage Michaele Bergera, Sacramento Zoological Society
Background: In 2014, the Sacramento Zoo’s director passed away unexpectedly. The interim director requested that I replace the plant identification signs that were in place at the time and had them removed. Since then, I have been working to get them replaced. The cost of replacing the signs for our entire collection of plants and trees was too high for us to do all at once, so I was asked to prioritize the list. In the meantime, the zoo went through rebranding, another change of leadership, and unfortunately the project was put on hold during each transition. Thanks to the Wendy Andrews Cultivation Grant, in both 2017 and 2018, I was able to start labeling plants once more! The Sacramento Zoo has a new director, and I am happy to say that he seems very supportive of the horticulture department and our efforts to properly identify plants and educate the public!
The purpose of this project was to create and install identification signs to educate/inform zoo visitors about the plants and trees in our collection. By providing this signage, we hope to show our guests that the Sacramento Zoo values our plant collection as well as our animal collection. Plant Identification signs add to our guest experience by providing an additional educational opportunity. Thanks to the funding provided by the AZH Wendy Andrews Cultivation Grant, I have been able to label an entire garden area. The plant ID signs will be viewed by over 500,000 guests that visit the Sacramento Zoo annually.
The signs for this project were installed in early August, in an area that we refer to as the Zoo’s Backyard. It was originally designed to be a demonstration garden for “river-friendly” landscaping and consisted mainly of California native plants. I thought that the signs would have a greater impact if they were placed in one area as opposed to being spread out throughout the zoo. Since the installation of the signs, I have noticed visitors slowing down, taking pictures, and discussing the plants! The full amount of the grant was used to purchase seventy 2” x 4” signs, one 5” x 8” sign, and the stakes to mount them on. The total cost of the project was $1043.25. Thank you to the Association of Zoological Horticulture for your continued support.