Posts Tagged With: Zoo Corps

Zoo Corps electronics recycling initiative is here to stay

We’ve just wrapped up our second year of Zoo Corps, and I couldn’t be prouder of this year’s group of amazing high schoolers. Our youth-led conservation team meets twice a month throughout the school year and selects an important conservation issue to address. While I provide guidance along the way and connect the team with knowledgeable Zoo staff, these teens do it all – from conducting research to making key decisions.

This year’s group selected deforestation as their issue to tackle. Although a multi-faceted and daunting issue, the teens came up with a creative and effective way to make a positive impact.

During Endangered Species Weekend, Zoo Corps launched a new initiative to help save gorilla habitats and encourage Zoo guests to reforest their own backyards. As you may have read in their earlier blog post, gorillas, chimps, okapi and many other animals who call African rainforests their home are losing this critical habitat. Much of this habitat loss is due to mining coltan, a mineral used to manufacture electronics such as cell phones and tablets. By recycling or extending the life of these devices, you can help reduce the demand for coltan, and ultimately help save gorilla habitat!

While the potential for storms seemed to keep some people away on Saturday, May 20, we had a great turnout on Sunday, May 21, and overall, the weekend was a success! We collected a total of 56 devices, including phones, tablets and MP3 players. Each will be recycled with ECO-CELL, a handheld electronics recycling company founded in 2003.

Though team members were initially concerned about saving habitat in Africa, they also wanted to save wildlife in their own backyards. To help local wildlife, the teens gave out Texas native tree saplings to Zoo guests who brought a device to recycle. They also engaged visitors in conversations about gorillas, giving out saplings to guests who could answer trivia questions about the great apes. In total, Zoo Corps gave out 100 tree saplings from Texas Trees Foundation that were ready for guests to take home and plant in their yards!

In addition to the Zoo Corps cell phone recycling drive, Endangered Species Weekend featured 7 stations around the Zoo where visitors took specific pledges to help protect wildlife. Pledges were simple tasks that anyone can do, but they can make a big difference in small ways! In total, there were 3,200 pledges to save wildlife, with 250 specifically for gorillas.

I could not be more proud of these students who have so much passion and drive to save endangered species, and I look forward to welcoming the 2017-2018 Zoo Corps group who will make their own difference in the world. Applications will be live this August for students who will be in grades 9-12 for the upcoming school year.

If you didn’t make it to Endangered Species Weekend, you can still recycle your small electronics any time you visit the Zoo.

Categories: Conservation, Education, Gorilla | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Teens launch cell phone recycling initiative to save gorillas

_MG_9731-Hope gorilla w-logo CB

Dallas Zoo’s Zoo Corps youth-led conservation team guest-blogs on ZooHoo! Our group of 14 high school Corps members worked together to select a challenging conservation issue, develop a solution, and put it into action. Here’s their story.

In 2016 alone, nearly 1.5 billion smartphones were purchased around the world. And sadly, the ramifications of producing these small electronic devices is seriously harming wildlife habitat.

Every minute, 150 acres of rain forest is lost to deforestation, depriving animals of their homes and people of crucial resources. One major cause of habitat destruction in central Africa is the mining of the mineral coltan, which is widely used in common compact technology devices, such as cell phones. The plight of critically endangered gorillas, a species already challenged by a variety of issues, is further exacerbated when their habitat is destroyed for unsustainable cell phone production.

The Zoo Corps team is combating this issue by holding a cell phone recycling drive so Dallas Zoo visitors can bring in electronic items to be recycled. By salvaging and reprocessing usable pieces, this drive will play a part in reducing the demand for coltan, which, in turn, will help save gorillas and other forest animals.

Although this issue is daunting, we can help make a difference. During the Zoo’s Endangered Species Weekend, May 20-21, the first 50 Zoo visitors each day will receive a free Texas native tree to plant at home in exchange for an approved recyclable electronic! While supplies last, even those who are unable to bring their used technology may be able receive a tree at no cost by learning about deforestation and answering trivia questions throughout the weekend.

We ask everyone to participate in this exciting event by donating old cell phones and electronics! We’ll work with the conservation-minded company Eco-Cell to make sure your device is recycled.

And if you can’t make it out to Endangered Species Weekend, you can still recycle your small electronics any time you visit the Zoo. In the meantime, consider attending a tree planting session in partnership with the Texas Trees Foundation to help fight deforestation.

Here’s the low-down on how you can recycle your electronics at the Zoo.

What we can accept:Zoo Corps Coltan Infographic-01

  • Cell phones (smart phones and older cell phones)
  • iPods
  • iPads
  • Tablets
  • MP3 players
  • Handheld video games

We do NOT accept:

  • Desktop computers
  • Monitors
  • Laptops
  • Game consoles
  • Calculators

*Note: Apple, Best Buy, Staples, and other retailers will take larger items like these. Call your local store to find out more.

What to do with your device before dropping it off:

  1. Backup your device and save any data you want to keep, such as contacts, photos, or music.
  2. For security purposes, we recommend resetting the device and wiping all data. Specific instructions can be found online for various devices.
  3. Remove the case and/or screen protector.

Where can I drop off my device?

You may drop off your used devices with a staff member at the Membership Services booth, ticket booths, Information Booth. You may also leave them in the drop box at the Jake L. Hamon Gorilla Conservation Research Center at the Dallas Zoo while you’re here visiting our gorillas.

Categories: Africa, Conservation, Education, Events, Gorilla | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Zoo Corps teens make small impact to help big pollination crisis

Dallas Zoo’s Zoo Corps youth-led conservation team guest-blogs on ZooHoo! Our group of 13 Corps members worked together to select a conservation issue, develop a solution, and put it into action. Here’s their story.

IMG_9865 Bee on purple flower CSOur planet is in the midst of a pollination crisis. Because of human actions, pollinators are facing extinction – making plants around the world unable to reproduce. If we don’t make changes, this crisis could spark a major food shortage, and possibly a global famine.

Nature is a truly wondrous thing. Even people who live in urban areas, like Dallas, can enjoy the beauty of nature. Pollination is an extremely important process that happens to be the quickest and most efficient process to help flowering plants reproduce. Without pollination, flowering plants would have to rely on wind and water to reproduce, which is an extremely sluggish method.

So what exactly are pollinators? A pollinator is an animal that transports pollen from one plant to another, fertilizing the plants. Pollinators include birds, bees, insects and bats, along with a large variety of other organisms. Without pollinators the earth would eventually be reduced into a mere wasteland.

The Zoo Corps teens installed a pollination garden in the Children's Zoo.

The Zoo Corps teens installed a pollination garden in the Children’s Zoo.

How is pollination carried out? When an organism goes towards a flower to get its nectar, it brushes against the flower. The flower will sense this and release pollen onto the organism. This organism will go to other plants for more nectar. When the animal does this its drops off the pollen from the other plant, pollinating that plant.

Unfortunately, thousands of species of pollinators die every year from habitat loss, pollution, car exhaust, pesticides and more. Bees are earth’s biggest pollinators and their populations are rapidly dwindling. We lose about 30 percent of the bee population each year.

4Because the Dallas Zoo cares so much for pollinators, we built a pollination garden through our Zoo Corps event called Operation Pollination. We planted 72 native plants in the Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo including, purple cone flower, milkweed, blackfoot daisy and more. We also made and distributed 414 “seed bombs” filled with Texas native pollinator seeds for guests to easily plant their yards. We also installed two hummingbird feeders and one bat box for our local pollinators to enjoy.

If you didn’t make it out to our event, you can still help pollinators by planting your own garden with plants that are native to Texas. (See photos from our event and our entire Zoo Corps experience on our Instagram page!)

Categories: Conservation, Volunteers | Tags: | 3 Comments

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