Children Answer the Call & Help Save Gorillas

Posted May 16, 2014

Cincinnati Zoo Announces Winner of 2014 Go Bananas! Challenge

CINCINNATI, OH – The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s Project Saving Species and The Gorilla Glue Company are excited to announce that for the first time in the history of the Go Bananas! Challenge one school has won both the Challenge category and the Most Creative Campaign category.   The Environmental Club from Parkside Intermediate in Westlake, Ohio collected 1,636 phones, beating last year’s Challenge winner by 446 phones.  The Club also won the Most Creative Campaign category with 24,420 votes.

The Environmental Club


“It’s really a testimony to the “culture” of a school system and community that they would rally around a cause like this,” said Principal Mark Bregar at Parkside Intermediate.  “These days, it’s critical that kids are aware of the challenges in the world, and how they can help…they are tomorrow’s problem-solvers!”

The Go Bananas! Challenge competition challenges schools and community youth groups across the country to Answer the Call, and create campaigns to collect and recycle cell phones to help save gorillas. Cell phones contain an ore called coltan. One of the only places in the world where this ore can be found is in the Democratic Republic of Congo – right in the middle of gorilla habitat. As a direct result of mining for coltan, the world’s gorilla population is losing its habitat, being displaced and being killed by poachers.  And the simple act of recycling a cell phone can make a difference, by reducing the need to mine for coltan.

The total grand prize for the Challenge and Most Creative Campaign winner was $5,000!  According to the Environmental Club’s teacher advisor Daniel Grigson, the group will be using the money to finalize fundraising for their Africa – Maasai Music Project III.  The project allows teens to travel to Africa and gain valuable life experience.

The Cincinnati Zoo will kick off next year’s Go Bananas! Challenge in September and signing up is easy – join the challenge online by visiting

“This is a fun way for children to get involved in their world and do something that has a direct impact on a global scale,” said David Jenike, Chief Operating Office at the Cincinnati Zoo. “If we’re going to set out to save the planet, we have to get the youth of this country involved and it needs to start at an early age.  All of us are very proud of the students in the Environmental Club at Parkside Intermediate, they are great examples for their peers and for all of us as we look for ways to improve our planet.”

There are currently more than 327 million cell phone users in the United States alone and over 6.8 billion users worldwide. The average lifespan of a cell phone in the United States is about a year and a half. Of these old cell phones that are no longer in use, less than one percent are recycled. Cell phones also contain lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic which are hazardous waste so if sent to landfills they can filter into the soil and groundwater.

In 2013, the Cincinnati Zoo recycled more than 16,000 cell phones, (more than any other Zoo in the country, and kept at least 2,370 pounds of accessories and 415 pounds of batteries out of the landfill). The goal for this year’s challenge is 20,000 cell phones and the Cincinnati Zoo cannot do it alone. The Go Bananas Challenge not only helps the Cincinnati Zoo reach its goal, but also saves gorilla habitat and gives money back to conservation projects around the world.

For more information about the Cincinnati Zoo’s Project Saving Species cell phone recycling program and the Go Bananas Challenge!, please visit