Research/Care Blog

Koko Hosts Pumpkin Design Contest for Students

Koko sitting next to the winning pumpkin, lit from within

Date Added: 2009-10-30
This Halloween, the Gorilla Foundation hosted a Pumpkin Face Design Contest and invited students at Kings Mountain Elementary School in Woodside California to participate. About 80 students submitted their most creative pumpkin face designs for Koko, and some were quite fantastic.

The winning design (shown at left) was selected by Koko herself and carved onto a real pumpkin by Gorilla Foundation Enrichment Specialist, ***Adrienne Mrsny. Note that the winning design was particularly intricate, with many teeth, eyeballs and even ears (in fact it was the only design with ears), but Adrienne was more than up to the challenge and did a fantastic job with the carving.

On Friday, October 31st, the Gorilla Foundation conducted a brief award ceremony at Kings Mountain School, as part of their annual Halloween celebration. The winning designer, Kyle Nierman (3rd grade) received a glossy photo of Koko picking his design –


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Our mission is to learn about gorillas by communicating with them, and apply our knowledge to advance great ape conservation, education, care and empathy.

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