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Teens Help Others “Go Green”

Written by guest blogger, Jessica Klosinski, Sustainability Intern and AIP Graduate Student

While most teens are spending their summer at the pool or playing video games, others are educating Zoo visitors on sustainable choices and going green. The group is called “Green Teens” and you can find them volunteering in the Zoo’s Go Green Garden where they have spent most of their summer. The Go Green Garden exhibit is located across from the Elephants, not far from the Vine Street Village.

The Go Green Garden Exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo

The Go Green Garden Exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo

The teens describe their typical day as greeting and helping guests, giving green tours, helping in the Base Camp Café, and interacting with children. “Interacting with kids is the best; they get really excited,” says Hannah Quillin, 15. The teens are stationed in the Zoo’s Go Green Garden, an area dedicated to educating guests about the zoo’s green initiatives and how they can make sustainable choices in their own lives. Olivia King, 16, one of the green teens, says that talking about water conservation is her favorite part of the zoo’s green story. King and friend Mattina Girardot, 16, say that there is so much to talk about regarding water, from pervious pavement found throughout the zoo to the water retention tanks in the new Africa exhibit. Nicole Armbruster, 14, says that she loves to tell guests that we are “the Greenest Zoo in America.”

Nicole, Mattina, Olivia, Hannah and Melissa in the Go Green Garden.

Nicole, Mattina, Olivia, Hannah and Melissa in the Go Green Garden.

Another place the teens are active is in the Base Camp Café, recently deemed the greenest restaurant in America. The teens help educate the guests as they sort their waste into compost, recycle, and landfill. These teens aren’t all talk either, they say that volunteering has helped them feel connected to conservation and incorporate sustainable living into their own lives. “I yell at people at home for leaving the lights on,” says King. Melissa Holland, 15, shared that volunteering at the zoo has helped her be more involved in programs she didn’t know about before like participating in the Adopt an Animal program. “I recently adopted a female rhino,” Holland says.

Olivia and Mattina teach guests how to sort their lunch waste into bins marked compost, recycle, and landfill.

Olivia and Mattina teach guests how to sort their lunch waste into bins marked compost, recycle, and landfill.

The teens joked, saying they would love to require conservation actions from the public. “I wish everyone had to compost and recycle,” says Quillin. Volunteering at the zoo has also helped to develop responsibility and people skills both valuable in their future career endeavors. Holland has even considered a career in environmental engineering and conservation. The teens say this opportunity has helped them to become more outgoing and to meet other like-minded teens that care about conservation. Representing the greenest zoo in America is a big responsibility but these teens have taken on the challenge. Come visit the teens in the Go Green Garden the next time you visit the zoo; they would love to help you learn how to GO GREEN!

August 16, 2013   1 Comment

Earn Money for the Zoo with MyActions.Org!

Help the Greenest Zoo in America raise money by recording YOUR green actions! Cincinnati’s regional sustainability alliance, Green Umbrella, is in the middle of their Spring Challenge in collaboration with MyActions.org, the social network for the planet. MyActions is a tool to share any green action you have taken throughout the day, and to encourage others to do the same. Tips, videos, and photographs can be shared to even further motivation and knowledge about green actions.

The Cincinnati Zoo has joined the challenge and we need YOUR help. Sign up to join our team, record your actions, and raise money for the Zoo. The Cincinnati Zoo has a team set up – all we need are members to join and start logging their actions! Go to http://www.myactions.org/greenumbrella, click on Cincinnati Zoo. You will then be taken to a sign up page – fill in your information and start logging your actions! You can even download the free app for your iPhone, iPod, and iPad which makes it even more convenient to share your actions.

Money is earned based on the number of actions and points you earn. Each time you log an action, you can include photos and comments – which gives you more points and more money! You can even share on Facebook.

An example of MyActions website, the social network for the planet.

An example of MyActions website, the social network for the planet.

The Zoo is currently #2 in the challenge behind Keep Cincinnati Beautiful. They have 35 members with 791 actions recorded and $230.25 raised for them. We have 34 members with 559 actions recorded and $131.25 raised for the Zoo.

Please sign up and start sharing your actions! Anything from recycling, adjusting the thermostat, carpooling, composting, turning lights off, unplugging electronics, taking short showers, sharing conservation information (so all keeper talks, shows, summer camps, etc. would be an action each day!), buying local, and biking are just a few of the actions that you can record. Each action you take can have a BIG impact on conservation. Saving water and energy, reducing waste and pollution, and raising awareness can all impact the habitats where these plants and animals live.

Share with your family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers, and ask them to join the Cincinnati Zoo’s team as a part of the Green Umbrella challenge, which ends June 22nd. Help us become #1 in the challenge, while raising money and doing good for wildlife.

June 12, 2013   5 Comments

Celebrate the Earth: It’s a party for the planet!

April is Earth Month, and while we encourage our community to be earth-friendly all year round, we’ll take the opportunity to really drive the message home during our 4th annual “Party for the Planet” this Thursday, April 18. It’s a celebration of the Earth, and a festival for all things “green” in Cincinnati. Businesses and organizations from around the regions will be on hand at the Greenest Zoo in America to share their expertise and resources about living more sustainability within our communities. Topics include solar energy, composting, recycling, energy efficiency, green building, rain gardens/barrels, sustainable food, green products, and many more.

In addition to learning ways to go green, also visit the Go Green Garden for the Rain Barrel Painting Event, hosted by the Cincinnati Zoo, Save Local Waters and the Regional Stormwater Collaborative. Rain barrels are an easy and inexpensive way to conserve water and save money, and for homeowners to take one small action that collectively will have a major impact on our local environment. Local artists have done their part to motivate area homeowners to save rainwater in dazzling beautiful rain barrels. The typical dull green or drab rain barrel has been revamped into a creative and colorful accent piece that will make any homeowner proud to use in their landscaping. Participate in the People’s Choice Award and vote for your favorite painted rain barrel online. Guests will be able to bid on their favorite barrels for purchase during a silent auction from 6:30-8pm.

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Cohen, the official electronics recycling partner of the Cincinnati Zoo, is sponsoring an e-waste collection event during Party for the Planet. Recycle your unwanted e-waste with the Zoo’s certified e-waste recycler, where your electronics will be recycled in a responsible way and all data storage devices cleared properly. For every item donated, Cohen will make a donation to the Zoo’s Project Saving Species.

A convenient drive through drop-off will be set up in the Zoo’s parking lot on the corner of Erkenbrecher and Vine Street. Guests can drop off their items between 4 and 8pm before heading into the Zoo to enjoy Tunes & Blooms and Party for the Planet! Acceptable items include: personal computers, keyboards, servers, mice, routers, wires, switches, laptops, modems, rechargeable batteries, telephones, small home appliances, docking stations, printers, LCD screens, cell phones, fax machines, copiers, speakers, cable/satellite boxes, CRT monitors, TVs, stereos/VCRs, and remotes. A $10 cash fee will be charged for each CRT monitor and TV (27″ or under) collected. TVs larger than 27” will be charged $20 cash.

To learn more about Cohen and the electronics recycling programs, visit cohenusa.com

Party for the Planet takes place during Tunes & Blooms, a weekly concert Thursdays in April, featuring local musicians. This Thursday Shiny & the Spoon and Shiny Old Soul will be performing. It is a wonderful way to enjoy the beautiful tulips and other spring flowers the Zoo has planted, listen to some great, local music, learn about ways to go green, and enjoy the spring evening with your family and friends. And, enjoy Zoo Blooms all around.

The Party occurs from 4-8:30pm and is free with Zoo admission. Admission to the Zoo is FREE after 5pm and parking is $8

April 15, 2013   No Comments