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Local Business Helping Tracy Aviary Stay Afloat During Coronavirus Closure

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A local business has donated tens of thousands of dollars to help the Tracy Aviary survive the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The aviary has been around for more than 80 years. However, like many small businesses and non-profits across Utah, they were closed due to coronavirus concerns.

“We’re a jewel,” said Tracy Aviary Director Tim Brown. “There’s nothing like Tracy Aviary in the world so this is a really important part of what Salt Lake.”

Nestled inside Liberty Park in downtown Salt Lake City, Tracy Aviary is home to more than 400 birds.

About three weeks ago, due to the spread of the novel coronavirus, Brown had to close the doors.

“Well, it’s a gorgeous day,” Brown said. “This is probably the best day we’ve had this year and as you see we don’t have a visitor in here.”

Normally thousands of families would be walking the paths inside the aviary on a warm day in April. Now, it’s just the feathered residents waddling around.

“In modern times we’ve never had something like this,” Brown said, referring to the closure.

With no admission sales or membership revenue coming in, Brown worried how they will all stay afloat.

“The birds can’t survive on their own,” he said. “We can’t just close the door and walk away from this obviously.”

Enter Jared Turner, a self-professed bird lover who in another life may have ended up as a zookeeper.

“Yes, everyone was surprised when I became a lawyer and then a business guy,” Turner said.

Turner is the president of Young Living Essential Oils. Lately, he had been thinking about his childhood.

“I came (here) when I was probably four or five years old and that’s my oldest memory of the aviary,” Turner said. “My great grandmother Sandberg lived just down the road from here.”

Although Grandma Sandberg is no longer around, Turner was determined the aviary always will be.

“I’m one of those kids who was impacted as a little kid and the rest of my life I’ve been a huge lover of wildlife,” Turner said.

Young Living has pledged $55,000 to help Tracy Aviary weather the storm.

“We’re so lucky (Turner) fell in love with the aviary,” Brown said. “I wish I could take credit for that but I don’t want to be that old.”

One day, daily life will return to normal, and with that hopefully flocks of visitors.

“The day this virus goes away, we can open doors again in all these amazing places and say come back,” Turner said.

Turner is challenging others to also donate to the aviary. He’s pledged a matching donation of $25,000 more. If you’d like to help, visit www.TracyAviary.org.

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