Cincinnati Zoo Care Bears Advance to the Finals in National Project Polar Bear Contest

Team “The Care Bears” from Seven Hills High School have earned finalist status in a national contest held by Polar Bears International (PBI), the world’s leading polar bear conservation group. As one of four finalist teams in the Project Polar Bear contest, they’ll advance to San Diego, California, for the Awards Ceremony, where the grand prize and second place winners will be announced. The four finalist teams are from North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

The teens were sponsored regionally by the Lindner Center for Conservation & Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. They took part in a national competition that encourages teens to create and carry out projects that reduce carbon emissions. This year the competing teams lowered C02 by more than 30 million pounds! Along the way, they raised awareness about the importance of reducing greenhouse gases to help save polar bear habitat and inspired entire communities to reduce their carbon footprint.

“These teens know that the fate of our iconic polar bear is up to each of us,” says PBI President Robert Buchanan. “Their actions and attitudes have already helped reduce carbon emissions and motivate change.”

Members of the Seven Hills HS Care Bears team consisted of Michael Young, 17, Daniel Mc Kinnon, 17, and Jack Tyndall, 16 and their adult advisor, Craig Young.  Participants from as far away as Hungary and Finland—plus hundreds of local residents and 33,000 Boy Scouts*—signed up and pledged on the My Actions website created by this team, which promotes simple energy-reducing actions and calculates their CO2 savings. Savings:  273,068 lbs. of CO2.

*Savings from Scouts arrived after the contest deadline and therefore aren’t included in the total.

Other finalist teams performed energy audits that taught businesses how to cut back on power usage; planted trees and launched recycling programs; and held outreach events to inform and inspire audiences, collect CO2-reducing pledges, and distribute CFL light bulbs and energy-saving kits.

The Cincinnati zoo & Botanical Garden is part of PBI’s network of Arctic Ambassador Center Zoos. These centers focus on animal well-being and enrichment, take a leadership role in stewardship and carbon-reduction efforts in their communities, and participate in PBI polar bear research efforts. Many also help support polar bear conservation through the PBI Polar Bear Sustainability Alliance.

PBI’s Project Polar Bear contest is sponsored by Lowepro. The four finalist teams and their advisors will travel to San Diego for the Awards Ceremony, which is scheduled for April 30 at SeaWorld San Diego. At the ceremony, PBI will announce the grand prize and second place winners. The grand prize team wins a trip to Churchill to see polar bears in the wild. The second place team wins a Beluga Encounter at SeaWorld San Diego. All finalist teams receive free admission and tours at SeaWorld San Diego and the San Diego Zoo.

To learn more about Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s CREW and its efforts in polar bear research, conservation and education, visit us online.