Snow leopard sponsorship it is!

It was a “crazy awesome” idea from ProAct Shakopee DSP Liza Svihel, and the focus was a zoo‑ Como Zoo to be exact. Why not sponsor an animal? Which one would ProAct participants choose?

“Como Zoo is our ‘go to’ for outings. It’s free and wheelchair friendly,” said DSP Rebel Rozeboom. She chose four possible animals to sponsor in the $55 category. Printing off pictures of a polar bear, spider monkey, emperor penguin and snow leopard, she collected votes from people at the Shakopee site.

The snow leopard was the clear winner. Rozeboom secured the online sponsorship and two week later, a certificate arrived and a stuffed snow leopard made from water bottles. Next step? Figure out a name. Particpants chose “Rocky,” again by a vote.

The stuffed snow leopard makes the rounds to ProAct rooms and people have conversations about the cat variety, Rozeboom explains. She also shares a Como Zoo newsletter each month.

A group from Shakopee also made an in-person visit to Como Zoo, accompanied by veteran DSP Tom Fix.

“We went in to the harbor and saw the polar bears and sea lions,” said Fix. The animals have a new home at the zoo. Fix and the group checked things out, had lunch and headed back.

“We haven’t been there for a long time,” said Fix. “It’s a nice venture, a nice outing.” People witnessed a lion’s roar and mimicked the sound.

Fix said people appreciated going out and it was one of the first such excursions since the wind down of COVID.

Photos:, Tom Fix, Rebel Rozeboom