Turning reindeer dung into gems for necklaces and ornaments has raised a pile of money for the Miller Park Zoo.The last two ornaments for the year were sold Sunday bringing the total raised for the zoo to $20,884. The fundraiser organized by the Miller Park Zoological Society brought in about $5,000 in 2008.
Chief “gemologist” Susie Ohley estimated about 300 necklaces and more than 2,000 ornaments were made this year, the second year of the project.”For sure this has been great for the zoo,” said Ohley, spokeswoman for the zoological society. “We are very appreciative of the support and attention this project has given us.”
The “Magical Reindeer Gems” are dime-sized pieces of dung from the zoo’s reindeer that have been dehydrated, sterilized and spray-painted with glitter and strung together with wire and beads.
The necklaces were added this year to the product line after people buying ornaments asked if there were any jewelry.Initially, Ohley said 100 necklaces would be made for the year, but the nationwide demand for the reindeer dung products pushed their gem making into overtime, she said.