Cincinnati Zoo and CPS Bring Wild Lunches to Students Next Week

October 8, 2021

National School Lunch Week Schedule (All text on the page)Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden and Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) are teaming up to make school lunches wild next week during National School Lunch Week!

"We have a CPS high school right here at the Zoo," said Cincinnati Zoo director Thane Maynard. "Our Zoo Academy students will be helping us bring animal ambassadors into elementary school classrooms all over the city next week and showing them how we prepare and feed them healthy foods."

The theme of this year's National School Lunch Week, which runs from October 11–15, 2021, is "Wild About School Lunch" and highlights the importance of a healthy school lunch to a student's success both in and out of the classroom.

Wild About School Lunch"I thought that partnering with our local Zoo would be a great fit with the campaign theme and also give students the opportunity to see that some of their favorite animals eat healthy foods too," said Jessica Shelly, director of CPS Student Dining Services. "We are planning to put some of the fruits and vegetables that the animal ambassadors eat on our menu next week."

CPS officials and students from the Zoo Academy will visit with a different animal each day and talk to keepers about what they like to eat and other fun facts about animal diets. Videos of the Monday–Thursday visits will be shared on CPS's Facebook Page and YouTube Channel daily at 1 p.m., and Friday's visit will be live streamed on Facebook from 9:45–10 a.m. Fiona will be the guest for that wild lunch!

"I am a big fan of healthy eating and will pick kale over cake any day," said Maynard. "We have a full-time nutritionist on our staff and don't feed our animals anything that we wouldn't eat. We're happy to help CPS promote healthy eating in a fun way."

Wild About School Lunch Program Schedule


Habitat/CPS Leadership Lunch


Jen Wagner, Treasurer/CFO
Dried mango, peanuts


Connie Solano, Interim Chief Operating Officer


Shauna Murphy, Assistant Superintendent
Romaine lettuce, healthy salads


Rico the porcupine
Susan Bunte, Deputy Superintendent
Peanut butter, banana chips, nuts


Fiona the hippopotamus
Tianay Amat, Interim Superintendent
Fruits and vegetables

Monday–Thursday videos will be uploaded to Facebook and YouTube at 1 p.m. Friday, visit the CPS Facebook page for Fiona Friday LIVE from 9:45–10 a.m.