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Small Conservation Efforts Create Big Change

Be a superhero for the planet

When it comes to supporting conservation efforts, every Sacramento Zoo visitor counts. In 2013, The Sacramento Zoo announced that for the first time in its 87-year history, it provided more than $100,000 in one year to support more than two dozen conservation efforts in the United States and around the world. This could not have been done without support from Zoo visitors.
Still, some guests might think, I didn’t do anything special. Yet, 25 cents of every admission fee goes directly toward conservation. Quarters for Conservation enables visitors to take personal action as each guest is given a token to use as a vote toward one of three conservation projects at the wishing wells located in the Zoo’s Entry Plaza.

Annually, the Zoo’s Conservation Committee evaluates local and global conservation efforts and commits to three projects – one local and two global. These projects are then featured at the wishing wells. Guests vote by depositing their tokens which swirl toward their chosen cause. Each project is guaranteed a minimum of $5,000, with votes determining how much additional funding will be granted.

Every vote makes a difference and the program is a great example of the Sacramento community working hand-in-hand with the Zoo to make a global impact.

Last year 379,282 votes were cast between the local Riparian Brush Rabbit Recovery program, the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary project and the Masai Giraffe Conservation program. Each of these species plays an important part in their local ecosystem yet faces trouble. In total, $50,000 was divided among the three projects, with the amount determined by the number of votes each project received.

The three programs for 2014 are:

Pacific Health Fisher Project
This local project is a program of the Integral Ecology Research Center that studies the impact of diseases such as canine distemper among fishers. By studying what makes fishers sick, we can make better recommendations to ensure the survival of their dwindling numbers in the Sierra Nevada Range.

Tiger Conservation in Sumatra
The Tiger Conservation Campaign is working to reduce tiger-human conflicts around Leuser National Park by building and maintaining tiger-proof livestock pens in villages, increasing outreach and awareness, and rescuing tigers caught in snares.

Galapagos Penguin Lava Nest Project
The Center for Penguins as Ocean Sentinels is building shaded lava nests in predator-free areas in the Galapagos in hopes of reversing population decline.

Of course there are everyday things we can do for conservation. The Sacramento Zoo’s Green Team provides several ideas: Help preserve rainforest by avoiding items with palm oil; reduce plastic waste with reusable shopping bags; conserve energy by unplugging electronics when not in use; eat sustainable seafood; conserve water with shorter showers; repurpose items; and donate to conservation organizations.

Together, one small action at a time, we can make the world better for all who share it. For more info, visit saczoo.org and please leave a comment with your conservation tips.

Quarters for  Conservation Wishing Wells
Quarters for Conservation Wishing Wells

About the author

April Mae Saenz Johnson

On a daily basis, I see animals from all over the world in one special place: the Sacramento Zoo. I am happy to share inside info, fun facts and photographs of the zoo's animals, staff and events.

In my personal life, I enjoy the sleepy, gross and amazing moments of motherhood, time with my husband and our labradoodle, with a bit of traveling, yoga and volunteering on the Leadership Team for Social Media Club Sacramento.

I am embarking on a new adventure as co-founder of Aging UP, a nonprofit empowering youth with experience in foster care to successfully transition into adulthood.

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