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OTC Horticulture Students Visit Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens


Fourteen Okefenokee Technical College horticulture students and OTC Environmental Horticulture Instructor Mark Deal recently enjoyed a “behind the scenes” tour of the new Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens by Horticultural Director Bob Chabot.

“The gardens are beautifully designed and create an amazing backdrop for the animals,” stated Deal, following the visit. Students learned about the Outback Steakhouse Australian Adventure; Range of the Jaguar, the Zoo’s national award winning premier attraction; the Giraffe Overlook; the first botanical gardens, Savanna Blooms; the Gardens at Trout River Plaza, which serves as the gateway to the Asian Bamboo Gardens that opened in the spring of 2009 with the new komodo dragon exhibit; and Tuxedo Coast, a new penguin exhibit displaying Magellanic penguins.

“It was an awesome and amazing tour,” stated Deal. “The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is now rated in the top five zoos in the U.S.”

According to the zoo’s Web site, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens was named by Parents Magazine as the 14th Best Zoo in America for Kids. It was also named by Intrepid Traveler Publishing Company as one of 60 (out of over 2,000) of the best zoos in America.

As an expression of their appreciation to Director Bob Chabot, the OTC Horticulture Club made a generous donation to the zoo in honor of Chabot. Membership in the Horticulture Club is open to any interested full-time or part-time OTC student. The club offers opportunities for its members to gain practical, hands-on experience, to network with leaders in the green industry, and to develop management skills.

Horticulture Visit to Zoo

For more information about the OTC Environmental Horticulture program, contact Mark Deal at 912.338.5284 or 


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