The Hoosierist: The Dirt On Donating Plants To The Zoo

Floral philanthropy, local TV shows, and Broad Ripple vacancies. Ask The Hoosierist.

Q: My friend donated a Madagascar palm to the Indianapolis Zoo. What’s the process for doing that?
A: For an outfit that keeps some 31,000 floral specimens on its property (someone, probably an intern, actually counts them), the Indianapolis Zoo is pretty discriminating when it comes to donations. “We get a lot of people wanting to give us plants this time of year because it’s cold,” says Scott Sullivan, the zoo’s curator of horticulture. “People have had some of their donations for years, and they’ve outgrown their indoor space.” The aforementioned Madagascar palm found a home in the zoo’s Desert Dome. Potential donors must submit photos of their potted progeny, and even if it’s something the zoo can use, you aren’t allowed to take cuttings before handing it over. If your plant makes the grade, your name will be associated with it in the zoo’s electronic records, which is the cyberspace version of getting a bronze plaque.
Q: I’m still bummed about Cowboy Bob passing away. Why don’t local TV stations do their own kids’ shows anymore?
A: Those local cartoon shows got the ax for the same reason so many radio DJs have been replaced by generic national talk programs. “It’s cheaper for a station to buy a nationally syndicated package,” says Wes Gehring, a telecommunications professor at Ball State University. But Gehring laments that it also robs communities of local color. He remembers growing up in Marion, Iowa, where he enjoyed his own locally produced kids’ shows, complete with quirky puppet mascots and crappy Wally Gator shorts. Today’s children “make do” with 24-hour cartoon channels—admittedly, a sweet deal if you’re 7. However, they’ll never get the chance to sing along with the Chuckwagon Theater theme song, which is currently echoing nonstop through The Hoosierist’s head.
Q: Why has the stretch of Broad Ripple between Hardwicke’s and the shoeshine store been vacant for years? It seems like a great spot.
A: Broad Ripple Village Association executive director Brooke Klejnot says the building’s out-of-state owners have repeatedly rebuffed requests to rent out the spaces. Perhaps because they have something bigger in mind. The storefronts are part of a building spanning almost a block. If the owners wait out the leases of those remaining tenants, they could sell the entire property for redevelopment. After all, new zoning rules would allow it to be replaced by a three-story building, which would be a big payout. In the meantime, neighborhood residents will have to stare at a bunch of derelict storefronts—just as they have for the better part of a decade.
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