Cincinnati Zoo Animals Feast on Foliage Harvested from Site of 2024 Community Makeover

Posted July 11, 2024

CINCINNATI, OH (July 11, 2024) – Next month, the Cincinnati Reds, P&G, and the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden along with Cincinnati Children’s and GE Aerospace will participate in another “Community Makeover” project, this time in the Cincinnati neighborhood of Bond HillTo get ready for the transformation, the Zoo’s horticulture team cleared an area of the project site yesterday so they can start prepping the soil for a new learning garden.


“The plant material that we took out will not go to waste,” said Cincinnati Zoo’s browse coordinator Patrick Gainer.  “Almost everything there was edible and invasive, so not only are we getting rid of an invasive species, but instead of just throwing it away in a landfill or turning it into mulch, we’re bringing it to the Zoo to feed to the animals.”

Gainer collects browse like this from area businesses as part of the Zoo’s FEED (Fresh Environmental Enrichment Diet) the Zoo program. Partners in this program include Cincinnati Nature Center and Krohn Conservatory, where Gainer recently scored a truckload of ficus after its bi-annual trim.

“The harvest from Bond Hill is particularly exciting because the overgrown area will become a learning garden for students at the new Xavier Jesuit Academy, similar to this one at Rockdale Elementary School in Avondale and this one in Madisonville,” said Gainer. “That’s only one part of the amazing makeover that will happen in August.”

The 2024 Community Makeover includes these four ambitious projects:

  • Xavier Jesuit Academy – Installation of a STEM/STEAM lab, medical and art spaces, an upgraded kitchen and an Urban Learning Garden.
  • Bond Hill Food Pantry Upgrades
  • Bond Hill Academy – Upgraded playground, renovated outdoor classroom, STEM/STEAM lab, murals and other projects at the Cincinnati Public Schools pre-K through 6th grade facility.
  • Cincinnati Recreation Commission – Upgrades to the Bond Hill Community Center and nearby ballfield.

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is busy prepping the garden site and will be ready for the big day, August 1, when more than 400 volunteers will show up to dig, build, plant, water, and paint.  At the end of the day-long service event, the Bond Hill community will have a great new resource for its residents and area youth.