July got wild with Zookeeper Dave, who visited our Aurora campus for the first time since 2019. In addition to more than 25 years of working with all manner of wild animals at the Denver Zoo, Dave is an author, artist, and passionate conservationist. He brought that same dedication to our pediatric residents with personalized presentations about the importance of conservation with the aid of fossils, bones, and even a gigantic four-pound elephant molar! Each resident left with their own set of books and a new understanding of how to be an animal advocate.
While COVID limited visits from program partners like Dave, he’s thrilled to be back, meeting residents outside. “I really feel the community here,” he said.
While Dave’s passion for protecting animals has been a lifelong pursuit, the effort was formalized in 2014 with the formation of the Katie Adamson Conservation Foundation, named in honor of a friend and conservation ally of Dave’s who passed away from Ewing sarcoma at age 25. Just one year later, Dave began making regular visits to Brent’s Place to share his message and meet the residents, many of whom are navigating similar paths to the one Katie traveled.
The similarities between KACF and Brent’s Place are part of what keeps Dave coming back, year after year. “We’re both creating something special and lasting out of grief,” he says. “In Brent’s and Katie’s names, we carry on.”
We’re so grateful to Dave and KACF for bringing this message of hope and resilience to the families of Brent’s Place. You can learn more about the KACF here.