January 10, 2022
Silver Spring, Maryland (January 10, 2022) – For the past 22 years, members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) have celebrated our planet with Party For The Planet® events in the largest combined Earth Day (April 22), Endangered Species Day (May 20), and World Ocean Day (June 8) celebration in North America.
AZA is in its fourth year of the Party for the Planet®: Spring into Action campaign with support from the Disney Conservation Fund. From Earth Day to World Ocean Day, this campaign leverages the reach and resources of AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums to “Spring into Action” by providing family-friendly volunteer and conservation action opportunities that focus on creating healthy habitats to improve our planet.
“AZA-accredited facilities are working to help save species worldwide, and inspire the next generation of conservationists to action,” said Dan Ashe, President and CEO of AZA. “We are so grateful to the continued support of the Disney Conservation Fund, which helps AZA members make an impact on their communities. I am especially proud of the projects this year for being driven by and focusing on under-represented and marginalized groups. Congratulations to the recipients!”
This year, AZA has awarded Party for the Planet®:Spring Into Action grants totaling $100,000 to 11 projects led by AZA-accredited facilities. The awarded facilities are Adventure Aquarium, Assiniboine Park Zoo, Bergen County Zoological Park, John Ball Zoological Gardens, the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium, OdySea Aquarium, Philadelphia Zoo, The Phoenix Zoo, Sunset Zoological Park, The Florida Aquarium, and Utah’s Hogle Zoo. AZA SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction species monarch butterfly and North American songbird are two focus species of these conservation projects.
More information about AZA’s Party For The Planet: Spring Into Action efforts can be found at http://www.aza.org/party-for-the-planet.
AZA congratulates the 2022 Party for the Planet® grant recipients:
Adventure Aquarium $5,000
Adventure Aquarium is creating healthy, community native habitats for pollinators and monarch butterflies in Camden, NJ with their partner the Camden Urban Agriculture. Collaborative, (CUAC). Through this partnership and program, 300 starter garden kits will be given to residents in underrepresented communities. Residents will also be provided with garden training and resources on planting pollinator gardens.
Assiniboine Park Zoo $10,000
Assiniboine Park Zoo will host a 3-day event with superheroes, interpretive stations, interactive citizen science booths, and Indigenous storytelling plus a shoreline clean-up event with their partners at Pride Winnipeg. During the clean-up event, participants are invited to dress in drag in support of the 2SLGBTQ+ community and engage with other community stakeholders who will help raise awareness on waste and recycling, human and waste impacts on wildlife, and social justice.
Bergen County Zoological Park $10,000
Bergen County Zoological Park will host a 3-day event for families to learn about the partner organizations, how to ID and remove invasive plants, and plant native pollinator habitats. Families will be invited to plant pollinator gardens at the zoo and Blueberry hillside garden, or on their own at home.
The Florida Aquarium $10,000
The Florida Aquarium will host events throughout the Party for the Planet timeframe with AMIkids Tampa to not only remove hundreds of pounds of debris before it reaches waterways but also empowering kids in this dynamic program. AMIkids serves a diverse population of at-risk youth and families; helping them discover their potential to transform their lives and strengthen the community.
John Ball Zoological Gardens $10,000
John Ball Zoological Gardens will host 2 clean-up events; one on Earth Day and one on World Ocean Day to launch a major conservation initiative, Habitat Heroes. This program focuses on Grand Rapids communities to connect people with nature and conservation, to increase pollinator-friendly habitat, and to increase tree cover with three West Side neighborhood groups as part of The Westside Community Cleanup.
National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium $10,000
Partnering with the City of Dubuque, the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium will host a series of community conservation action opportunities aimed to restore cultural and sensitive habitat areas. Activities beyond habitat restoration will include a wildlife recolonization survey, an overnight canoe camping trip with at-risk teens, Earth Day celebration, and a community placemaking concert.
OdySea Aquarium $10,000
OdySea Aquarium is partnering up with Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community to assist with riparian restoration (invasive plant/animals & debris removal and native planting), from the Salt River area. Additionally, a new educational campaign focused on serving the SRPMIC resident on sustainable living and human impact on animal habitats to inspire a lasting impact on the community.
Philadelphia Zoo $5,000
Working with a local library, Tiny WPA, and other neighborhood organizations, Philadelphia Zoo will host a series of programs aimed at educating families on native habitats along with providing materials for small-scale native gardens. These small gardens support the long-term plan of creating pollinator corridors, their neighbors and healthy habitats for all.
The Phoenix Zoo $10,000
In partnership with Garden of Tomorrow, The Phoenix Zoo will create a pollinator garden that will provide a critical environment for butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees. The garden will be designed by Tiger Mountain, an organization that focuses on creating opportunities for adults who have been previously incarcerated and are interested in working in landscape and gardening. The creation of the garden will provide a resource for the community by creating inclusive gardening opportunities and the conservation of pollinators.
Sunset Zoological Park $10,000
Sunset Zoological Park will actively provide mentorship in building pollinator gardens at three schools in the Manhattan-Ogden school district and will also provide education about pollinators at schools or the Zoo. In conjunction, the zoo will host an in-person celebration with area conservation partners highlighting the school gardens with other education sessions on SAFE programs and conservation efforts.
Utah’s Hogle Zoo $10,000
The Jordan River, running 52 miles through some of the most diverse neighborhoods in the Salt Lake Valley, is the focal point for Utah’s Hogle Zoo’s activities. Throughout Party for the Planet, in partnership with the Jordan River Commission, events will be hosted planting Monarch Waystations, restoring habitat through native tree planting, and cleaning the river from canoes. They have also partnered with their City and County Library Systems to make Nature Kits available for checkout to encourage nature play and exploration.
Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science, and recreation. AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the United States and eleven other countries. Look for the AZA accreditation logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in saving species and your link to helping animals all over the world. To learn more, visit www.aza.org.