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Thursday, April 20, 2017

5 Easy, Impactful Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

Posted by Kirsten Pisto, Communications

We know you all love animals and want to protect wildlife, but it’s not always easy to know what you can do from home that will make a difference. This Earth Day, we've made a list of five easy, impactful ways you can celebrate Planet Amazing (that's Earth).


A starlit sky over tiger territory in Peninsular Malaysia. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren. Woodland Park Zoo.
Why: Every year people turn off their lights during Earth Hour. The worldwide one-hour event has become a symbol for appreciating the planet, but you can celebrate Earth Hour all year long. Spend some time in the dark once or twice a week, or promise to turn out the majority of your lights an hour before bedtime, you'll sleep better too! Turning off lights and unplugging is an easy way to save energy and become mindful of how much energy you are using.

How: 40% of total U.S. energy consumption is consumed in residential and commercial buildings. Simply turning off appliances and lights when not in use has a big impact.

Pro tip: Unplug your electronic devices from the wall or turn them completely off with a power switch. Leaving them plugged in, especially items like phone chargers, can still slowly suck energy. According to the EPA, idle gadgets (aka Vampire electronics) suck up to $10 billion in energy annually. Yikes.


You'd do anything for this little nugget, right? Well, recycling your old cell can help Yola's wild cousins. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren. Woodland Park Zoo.
Why: On Earth Day, come recycle your handheld electronics with us through ECO-CELL to preserve gorilla habitat. By reclaiming the minerals in your electronics and diverting them from landfills, we can reduce demand for mining in gorilla habitat.

How: Bring any old cellphones, MP3 players, or tablets hanging around your house to the zoo on Earth Day and drop them off at our ECO-CELL stations.

Pro tip: Funds generated from recycled electronics will go toward our Mbeli Bai Gorilla Project that works to protect gorilla families like Yola’s in the Republic of Congo. 


You can do it, we promise. Photo by Dennis Dow, Woodland Park Zoo.
Why: Plant-based diets benefit the environment and our overall health. If you are looking for an easy way to lighten your carbon footprint, this is it. Adopting a  mostly vegetarian diet can cut food-related greenhouse gas emissions by more than two-thirds.

How: Go vegetarian once or twice a week or commit to local, organic meat options. With a suite of awesome vegetarian recipes readily available online its easy to find something you'll enjoy. Best excuse for homemade cheese pizza ever. 

Pro tip: You don't have to give up on meat entirely, as it provides lots of great nutrition and some healthy fats, but try to limit what you do consume. While you're at it, make sure your fish is on the seafood watch list.


A gray wolf shakes off a thick Seattle rain. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, Woodland Park Zoo.
Why: While over 70% of our planet is covered in water, only 3% is fresh water. Of that, less than 1% is available for consumption. Saving water isn't just about saving water. The energy needed to treat and deliver water is also precious. Saving water helps reduce pollution and conserve fuel too.

How: The biggest water guzzler in your house is probably in your bathroom. Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth. Take a shorter shower. Consider installing water-friendly toilets and shower nozzles. Always wash laundry and dishes at full loads. Never ignore leaky faucets.

Pro tip: Can't You Hear Me Knockin' by The Rolling Stones is seven minutes and fifteen seconds. Finish your shower before it ends!


Gunnar believes in your ability to speak up for wildlife! Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, Woodland Park Zoo.
Why: Humans are responsible for pollution, deforestation, industrial waste, greenhouse gases, urban sprawl and really bad memes, but we are also capable of change. Being an advocate for wildlife and wild places is an incredibly important role.

How: Think about energy and resources. We have a finite amount of it, it’s precious and can be expensive. Recycling isn’t just about reusing your jeans, it’s about not wasting energy making a new pair, right? One of the most-effective ways to be a steward for mother nature is changing your mindset to think about the amount of energy and resources you are using. Examples of this include buying higher-end products that might last a lifetime rather than a less expensive option that will wear out quickly. It’s also about being vocal about the products and companies you support; your consumer choice is incredibly powerful!

Support companies and products that pledge to offset their carbon emissions, use recycled materials and take corporate sustainability and environmental impact seriously.

Pro tip: When buying paper or wood products look for the FSC label, which means the product is Forest Stewardship Council certified. Buying FSC supports companies who practice responsible forest management and saves habitat for forest-dwellers, 70% of Earth's animals and plants.


The one thing that will have the most immediate impact is your decision to act. On Earth Day, Woodland Park Zoo invites the community to be advocates for our planet with action opportunities throughout the zoo. Sign cards for a few of our Congress members to thank them for their commitment to the planet, learn about personal actions you can adopt at home and take home a biodegradable coaster embedded with non-invasive seeds that can be planted into a garden or pot, germinating later into beautiful flowers.

See you on Earth Day, Saturday April 22!

This tiger is counting on you. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, Woodland Park Zoo.
There are about a million ways you can be a more sustainable creature on Earth. That’s good news, it means we can all find ways to change our behavior to lower our impact. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

April showers bring delicious PNG YUS coffee

Posted by Kirsten Pisto, Communications
Photos by Ryan Hawk/ Woodland Park Zoo

It's April in Seattle which means weather. Lots of weather. Along with springtime blooms, the earth-soaked scent of petrichor and dancing under rainbows, there is yet another reason to love this season...an excuse to stock up on your favorite PNG YUS coffee!

PNG YUS coffee is now available at both ZooStores and Caffe Vita shops around Seattle!
Photo courtesy of www.caffevita.com.

AROMA: Guava, hazelnut, orange zest
FLAVOR: Honey, sugarcane
BODY: Smooth

Caffe Vitta has been partnering with Woodland Park Zoo's Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program (TKCP) for over four years, and each batch of sustainable coffee tastes better than the last.

Grown in the remote cloud forests of Huon Penensula, Papua New Guinea, the coffee plants thrive under native shade and the care of farmers who are proud to support local conservation.
The coffee you buy can help save wildlife. The people of Papua New Guinea’s YUS region pledged 180,000 acres of their own land to help save endangered tree kangaroos. The shade-grown coffee they grow sustainably—in the very forests they protect—is not only delicious, but is part of an internationally renowned, award winning conservation program. 

With Earth Day coming up on April 22, look to TKCP as a reminder that sometimes the simplest solution is the most sustainable. When WPZ's senior conservation scientist, Lisa Dabek started looking at ways to save habitat for endangered tree kangaroos 20 years ago, she began by talking to the people who live and work in the area. 

Dr. Dabek explains, "In PNG, more than 90% of the land is owned by indigenous clans. Land cannot be bought or sold; it is passed down from generation to generation. TKCP spent years meeting with the landowners and communities, building trust and a mutual understanding of wildlife conservation. The landowners in YUS chose to pledge portions of their clan lands to create the YUS Conservation Area so that future generations can depend upon their natural resources and carry on their cultural traditions. One of the greatest assets for protecting species and habitat is the leadership of local communities in managing resources sustainably." 

Although the program is complex, the basic idea is all about community. By “ensuring sustainable health and prosperity for the living YUS landscape, biodiversity, people and culture,” the mission of TKCP has been very successful. Drink coffee = save tree kangaroos.

Wild Matschie's tree kangaroo in Papua New Guinea.
There's nothing more Seattle than coffee, rain and conservation. We're all about protecting rain forest habitat and the creatures who love it as much as we do, which is why it just makes sense that we're also passionate about cheering on Papua New Guinea’s first national conservation area. 

A familiar scene 6,700 miles away in Papua New Guinea's cloud forests.
Dr Dabek reminds us, "If we do not focus on community-based conservation and sustainable living, we will not succeed in conserving endangered species. Conservation is ultimately about people!"

Right now, you can directly support conservation in YUS by buying YUS Conservation Coffee at both ZooStores and through Caffe Vita! The new batch of medium roast PNG YUS is totally ready for your vacuum pot, pour over or drip. It's delicious any way.

You can also visit zoo.org/treekangaroo to learn about other ways to get involved. 

Every visit to the zoo is a vote for conservation.