Billings, MT (December 2019) – ZooMontana was recently honored to receive a $51,000 grant through the Montana Department of Commerce’s Eastern Montana Tourism Partner Initiative. The initiative is a collaboration among the Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development at Commerce and communities across eastern Montana formed in response to community leaders seeking to strengthen local economies. Granted funds will be used for the construction and marketing of the Zoo’s highly anticipated Stockman Bank Sloth exhibit.
ZooMontana’s Executive Director, Jeff Ewelt, couldn’t be more excited. “A gift of this magnitude from the Montana Department of Commerce showcases just how important eastern Montana is on their agenda,” Ewelt said. “These types of community investments will only strengthen our local economy, not to mention, help Billings get a sloth!”
Montana Department of Commerce Director Tara Rice couldn’t agree more. “Communities in eastern Montana are planning for smart, long-term economic growth to bring more travelers to the region, which will support job growth and opportunities,” Rice said. “One part of the economic equation in eastern Montana includes making sure visitors in and around Montana know they can find breathtaking experiences in every corner of our state. That’s why we’re thrilled to partner with these communities.”
ZooMontana was one of eight eastern Montana projects to be funded during this first round of grants through the Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development at Commerce.
Ewelt says the addition of a sloth to the Zoo’s growing animal base will allow ZooMontana to educate guests and students the importance of wildlife and habitat conservation, while delving deep into the evils
of the illegal wildlife trade. “This project was such a great collaboration of the community – and now the state. From private donors, to businesses like Stockman Bank, to the State of Montana, it is always great to see what you can accomplish when innovative partnerships are put into place,” Ewelt added.
ZooMontana hopes to begin construction on the new sloth habitat as soon as possible. The Zoo team will use the funding from the Commerce Department to partner with Visit Billings to market the new exhibit once completed.
ZooMontana is a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) educational organization committed to the best in animal care, conservation and wildlife education. As Montana’s only Zoological and Botanical Park, ZooMontana is
dedicated to wildlife education and conservation. The Zoo is located at 2100 S. Shiloh Rd. in Billings, MT just off the Zoo Drive exit (443) of Interstate 90. Find the Zoo on the web at zoomontana.org and on Facebook. ZooMontana is open every day at 10:00 am.
About the Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development
The Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development at the Department of Commerce markets Montana’s spectacular unspoiled nature, vibrant and charming small towns, breathtaking experiences,
relaxing hospitality, and competitive business climate to promote the state as a place to visit and do business. Its goal is to sustain and enhance the quality of life for all Montanans and their communities by strengthening the economy through job creation and business development. In conjunction with other divisions of the Montana Department of Commerce and partners around the state, MOTBD’s programs aim to support businesses through technical assistance, research, and access to grants and loans while inspiring visitation to maximize the economic impact of tourism, encourage private sector investment and
ensure that Montana is a great place to live, work and play today and for future generations.