A penny saved is a penny earned to save lions!

If you’ve ever had any doubts about the old saying that a penny saved is a penny earned, spend just a few minutes with Lamar Consolidated ISD kindergarten teacher Sharon Baldwin.  The Velasquez Elementary school teacher and her kindergarten class know all about the power of spare change.

On Wednesday, April 17 Ms. Baldwin and her dedicated kindergarten students visited the Houston Zoo to present a check for $1,000 dollars to the Houston Zoo’s Conservation Department, the school’s latest contribution to Cash for Cats, a big cat conservation project. 

 “This year, Velazquez Elementary School students were asked to bring in spare change over a two week period,” said Baldwin.  “My kindergarten class raised the most for this year’s Cash for Cats project and was invited by the Zoo to enjoy a VIP Lion Fun Day celebration,” she added.




The winning Velasquez Elementary School kindergarten students’ got to experience Lion Fun Day crafts and games modeled after Lion Fun Day activities for children in Mozambique.




The kids enjoyed participating in a ‘mango-in-a-spoon’(in Houston we had to use a Cutie orange) race.   The kids in Mozambique were overjoyed with the gift of the spoon for completing the race.  The kids in Houston had no interest in another spoon, but enjoyed the other prizes we provided.





The kids in both countries loved making and keeping the beaded necklaces they created!









And, the kids from both countries love to be creative and get messy finger painting  murals!

The Childern in Mozambique occational glimse lions in the wild, but the Velasquez Elementary School kindergarten students’ got a special experience that is not avaiable to the childern in Mozambique.   They got to gather at the Zoo’s Lion Training Window for a fun and educational Meet the Keeper Talk with lion keepers and a ‘meet and greet’ with the Zoo’s 4 African lions.

Created by Velazquez Elementary School music teacher Donna Fletcher, Cash for Cats has raised $6,000 dollars for the conservation of wild cats. Over the last two years, proceeds from the fund raiser have benefited the Niassa Lion Project. 

The Niassa Lion Project serves to secure and conserve lions and other large carnivores in the Niassa National Reserve in northern Mozambique by promoting the coexistence between carnivores and people and directly mitigating threats.  For more information about the Houston Zoo’s Lion Conservation Campaign and how you can help save lions in the wild, visit the Zoo online at https://www.houstonzoo.org/lionssp/.

By Brian Hill, Houston Zoo’s Director of Public Affairs

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