In response to a story on Birmingham Zoo's summer and spring youth camp registration, the zoo sent a statement to 1819 News clarifying that a part of the registration form asking for pronouns is optional.
A father who reached out to 1819 News pointed out the zoo asked for the pronouns of children registering for camp. The father called the move "garbage" and proclaimed his child would not attend camp due to the question.
Ahead of the story's publishing, the zoo did not respond to three separate media inquiries into the matter. Bill Lang, the director of marketing and events, confirmed he was out of town when the inquiries were sent and wanted to respond.
"The Birmingham Zoo's mission is 'Inspiring Passion to Conserve the Natural World," Lang stated on behalf of the zoo. "We believe education is a critical component to this mission and have developed exceptional educational opportunities for students of all ages."
"These educational programs are designed to be inclusive for all residents throughout Central Alabama and beyond," he continued. "The pronoun question in the zoo camp application is optional and is designed as a way for parents to share how they want their children to be referred. If this knowledge helps children feel more comfortable and included, they will likely learn more about conservation, which is at the heart of the zoo's mission."
After the story was published, a mother thanked 1819 News.
"Thank you for the 'head's up," the mother wrote. "Our family has enjoyed the zoo for a long time, but they are completely out of line in adding CRT to the program."
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