Sequoia Park Zoo welcomes guests to Party for the Planet amid the SPZ Foundation’s dissolution


Humboldt County residents and tourists came out to the Sequoia Park Zoo to celebrate a “Party for the Planet.”

The Earth Day celebration started a week early this year with the zoo inviting guests to stop by and explore.

No admission was charged, welcoming the many guests braving the rain.

Guests educated themselves about animals and the environment from local groups in and around Humboldt.

Cal Poly wildlife students were on hand to help guests better understand the mammals surrounding Humboldt County.

“The community works better as a whole when we have a great understanding of the other lifeforms that we are living on this planet with whether that’s plants or animals and having a greater understanding of those species as a whole by identifying them, knowing what they look like, knowing what they sound like, know when they’ve been there,” Cal Poly Humboldt student Molly Smiakowski said.

Another student at the event evoked the need to co-exist among the animals.

“Because as our population grows, we start urbanizing more wild spaces. And when we urbanize wild spaces, those animals sometimes don’t go anywhere. Sometimes they are living right here with us,” Cal Poly Humboldt Student Sean Dobble said. “Many local people to the humboldt area are gonna know that we got bears in our backyard. You can go to the marsh and see our river otters.”

This helps with the Zoo’s mission of helping educate visitors on animal conservation.

“The zoo has changed so much since I was a kid. When I was a kid, there were metal cages, concrete floors. And now when you come to our zoo, you see that we’re focused on conservation, education and all those things that are so important to our youth, so we can protect our planet and continue to grow and thrive,” City of Eureka Mayor Kim Bergel said.

This event comes after the Sequoia Park Zoo Foundation announced its dissolution after 20 years.

The foundation fundraised for many of the Zoo’s biggest projects including the Redwood Sky Walk, and the recent Bear and Coyote exhibit.

The City of Eureka will oversee those efforts now, having owned the zoo since 1907.

“I’m hopeful and I do not doubt that the zoo will continue to carry on. I’d like to say how much I appreciate the foundation and all the great work that they accomplished and I’m sad that they’ve decided to step away,” Bergel said.

Those contributions are appreciated by all the guests that come through.

The City of Eureka announced Saturday that the Foundation’s decision would not impact the Zoo’s operations.

Zoo director Jim Campbell-Spickler said the zoo will “continue to meet and exceed the highest standards of animal wellbeing.”