It’s no secret that the Zoo does some amazing conservation work all around the world. From cheetahs in Tanzania to elephants in Sumatra to keas in New Zealand, we work to protect wildlife in wild places by partnering with other organizations and supporting field projects all over the world. While these projects are very important, most of them are also very far away, making it difficult for our visitors to see the full impact that we are able to make. That is why this year, we are making an effort to get our visitors active in local conservation right here in our own community. I am so excited to announce our newest conservation initiative: Build a Better Home for Wildlife!
Our goal is to provide our visitors with the information, as well as the inspiration, to start building a better home for the species that live right here in our own neighborhoods. As natural habitats become smaller, fewer and farther apart, we can help wildlife by restoring habitat in our own yards and communities. One easy action we can all take is to create shelter by putting up bird houses, toad abodes, bat houses, and so on. Another great idea is to grow pollinator-friendly plants in our yards; check out the Zoo’s Best Plants for Pollinators series for suggestions. Both of these actions offer safe, healthy places for native wildlife.
Another great way to help build a better home for wildlife is to join the Zoo’s Family Community Service program. This program offers fun, social opportunities for adults, families and small groups to participate in hands-on conservation activities in the Greater Cincinnati region. We’ve built bat houses, restored habitats, cleaned up rivers, collected data for citizen science projects like FrogWatch, and have much more fun planned. Our next event will be a sprucing up of the Zoo’s own Avondale neighborhood at the end of this month. To learn more about the program and how to sign up for events, go to www.cincinnatizoo.org/service.
Want to learn even more about how to build a better home for local wildlife? Our gift shop is a wonderful resource, offering tips and brand-new items like bee houses, bird-friendly coffee, pollinator garden seeds, field guides, and much more! Stop in on your next Zoo visit for ideas on how to start, and maybe even take something home with you.
Another great resource is the Build a Better Home for Wildlife page on our website. Here we offer detailed information on a variety of topics, including bird feeding, pollinator plants, and building shelters. There are even some DIY project instructions for building your own shelters, as well as suggestions for different citizen science projects you can participate in to help scientists learn more about the wildlife found around us. Find all of this and more at www.cincinnatizoo.org/wildlife.
I hope you’ll join us in our quest to build a better home for our local wildlife. The smallest of actions can make the largest of impacts if many people act. I, for one, am very excited to see what kind of impact we can make together.