Funds support “access for all” initiative and endangered plant research

CINCINNATI, OH (September 28, 2017) –  The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden (CZBG) is excited to announce that it has received two prestigious grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).  One, a National Leadership Grant awarded to the Cincinnati Zoo’s Lindner Center for Conservation & Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW), will support a three-year research study on endangered exceptional plants (EEPs) that cannot be conserved in seed banks.  The second, a Museums for America Grant, is a partnership project with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC) designed to help CZBG become the nation’s most welcoming, accessible, and inclusive zoo for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.

The IMLS awards National Leadership Grants for projects designed to have far-reaching impact across the museum field. Only 11 grants were awarded nationally this year from 79 applications. CZBG was awarded $656,286 for work that will be conducted by scientists at CREW.  CREW will partner with the Lyon Arboretum (Honolulu, HI) and 10 other institutions across the country to conduct a three-year research study to address the challenges of off-site conservation of endangered exceptional plants (EEPs)–plants that are not able to be conserved in seed banks. The project will improve the ability of botanical gardens and other institutions to address the significant informational, scientific, and cost challenges of EEPs by providing new information on protocols used for conserving EEPs, an annotated list of EEPs, genetic information to guide the banking and use of these collections, and a network and website to continue facilitating future research and collaboration between institutions.

IMLS awards Museums for America grants for projects that strengthen the ability of individual museums to serve their public.  CZBG’s was one of 132 projects selected from 558 grant applications nationally – and was one of only three awarded in Ohio.  CZBG was awarded $415,852 to advance its goal to become the nation’s most welcoming, accessible, and inclusive zoo for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. The Zoo will partner with CCHMC to train all 244 full-time staff as well as 75 seasonal employees and 50 volunteers; work with a parents’ advisory council to develop supports to help prepare individuals with developmental disabilities and their families for better engagement at the zoo; test and evaluate what works and what does not; and share results through local media, networks of disability organizations, professional conferences and publications, and directly with other cultural institutions.