April 22nd is Earth Day, which is both a day to celebrate the earth and a day to take action. This day first began as a local-level environmental protest and has since become a global event. To celebrate Earth Day 2023, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is hosting A Party for the Planet where we will have activity stations, host Cincinnati-based environmental organizations, and feature sustainable sculptures with the Art & Ecosystems exhibit.
Also, (since truly every day is earth day) the Zoo is continuing to invest in a greener future for the Zoo with goals of becoming a net-zero organization in water, waste, and energy operations by 2025. Currently, the Zoo has already implemented many sustainable facilities and practices, with rain gardens, pollinator gardens, various stormwater collection systems, and ten LEED certified buildings. A few examples of what else is to come:
- New million-gallon capacity stormwater tanks are being installed under the new Elephant Trek habitat. This will add significantly to the Zoo’s capacity for diverting stormwater from the sewage systems.
- A new 2.2 megawatt solar array is being designed for new Erkenbrecher parking lot, which will provide clean energy and help reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
In addition to the Zoo’s greener goals, the Zoo also heads and supports many conservation initiatives. At the local level, some of the Zoo’s efforts include our own Plant for Pollinators campaign; partnering with groups in the Avondale community to increase greenspace, pollinator friendly habitats, and tree canopy; and supporting local initiatives, such as Lights Out Cincinnati. Globally, the Zoo partners with conservation organizations across the world to give both funding and hands on support to help save species, habitats, and support the communities that coexist alongside them.
Looking for ways to get involved? Here are some opportunities:
- Save Local Waters sponsors this project that invites local artists to design and paint rain barrels that are then put on display at the Cincinnati Zoo and auctioned off. These rain barrels are both beautiful in design and can be used to collect stormwater helps keep it from our sewage systems. It’s also free water you can use for your lawn, garden, or indoor plants! The auction is open for bids until April 28th, and the money raised will go towards environmental education in the Southwest Ohio and the Northern Kentucky region.
- This Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden initiative encourages people to plant pollinator gardens and tracks the expansion of pollinator habitat across the region and country. Currently, there are over 3,000 pollinator gardens registered! Participate in the challenge by planting a garden of any size, or planting in potted containers – just make sure it includes at least one nectar and one host plant. Then, register your garden through the Zoo’s website.
- Help local wildlife by working to restore habitat in your own yard and/or community. Feed the birds, create shelters, and get to know local wildlife by participating in community scientist efforts like iNaturalist!
- Donations help support our animals and our efforts here at the Zoo and they help support our magnificent conservation partners across the globe. You can ADOPT an Animal, give to the Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW), or purchase a Behind the Scenes Experience. Every bit helps!
- Donate your time and come volunteer at the Zoo! In 2022, the Zoo had 1,455 volunteers through our Adult, ZooTeen, and Corporate Group Volunteer programs. With 142,035 hours logged, volunteers provide important support in many areas, including our Education, Visitor Experience, Horticulture, and Conservation Impact teams.
If a healthier planet truly means the world to you, get involved and take action. Happy Earth Day!