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Tulsa Zoo Horticultural Curator Adds Unique Flora To Zoo's Fauna

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The zoo's horticulture department grows its own exotics in greenhouses. The zoo's horticulture department grows its own exotics in greenhouses.

Chris Howell, NewsOn6.com

TULSA, Oklahoma -- While most visitors to the Tulsa Zoo are amazed by the collection of animals, Horticulture Curator Jay Ross wants the zoo to be a destination for those interested in seeing exotic plant species as well.

"My department's all about habitats," said Jay. "We create habitats for all these different animals in our collection, but we have over half a million people that come out here too, so, we create a habitat that's enjoyable for them as well."

Ross and his four employees also operate a commissary garden growing fresh vegetables to supplement the animal's diets.

"It's sustainable. It's homegrown. We know what's been done to it," said Ross. "It's kind of an enrichment thing, it's different than what they'll see in their day-to-day diet."

Jay depends on his staff and volunteer "plant nerds" to manage the greenhouses during the cooler months and to bring out the exotic plants during the summer.

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