By: Erica Rymer, Events & Marketing Specialist
National Wildlife Week has a rich history of conservation and education dating back to 1938, making it the longest-running National Wildlife Federation (NWF) education program in history. This year the event is being celebrated from March 12-16. All across the country, people are encouraged to spend this week learning more about incredible animals native to North America, their habitats, and how we can help them thrive.
Because our mission is to connect your life to wildlife while inspiring lifelong learning and conservation action, your Akron Zoo is thrilled to share some of the ways we are celebrating local animals, educating visitors, and working to protect local habitats.
One of the most notable ways we celebrate local animals is through our Mike & Mary Stark Grizzly Ridge expansion. The space highlights the natural beauty of Ohio and serves as a reminder that you don’t need to travel the world to protect it: conservation starts at home!
The species in the space are all either current residents or historic natives of Ohio. Informational displays help to educate guests about these beautiful animals, how to recognize them, and even how to help protect them.
This is especially true in the case of our red wolf population. Red wolves are the smaller, slimmer cousin of the well-known gray wolves. Unfortunately, because of their coloring and stature, they are often mistaken for coyotes and killed. Because of predator control programs, as well as habitat loss, red wolves are currently on the brink of extinction in their natural habitats. Our red wolf habitat is located directly next to our coyote habitat and includes a red wolf research station, which encourages visitors to note the differences between the two species and take better care to protect red wolves at home.
Visit the Zoo and Save a Species
Did you know that each time you visit your Akron Zoo, you are helping to save species from extinction? One percent of admission revenue goes directly to field conservation and research projects that contribute to the long-term survival of species in natural ecosystems and habitats. Along with a portion of your admission, we raise money for conservation throughout the year in a variety of ways.
The funds we raise throughout the year are donated directly to our partner organizations who work with animals in the wild. Each year the Akron Zoo is able to support 18-20 field conservation projects.
How You Can Celebrate This Week
1. Visit your Akron Zoo. The purchase of a ticket helps us to fund conservation projects around the world, and gives you the opportunity to learn more about local wildlife!
2. Browse the NWF’s Wildlife Guide. Learn more about some of the featured species for 2019, such as the Hawaiian monk seal or the Florida panther.
3. Volunteer to remove invasive species such as garlic mustard from a local park. This is a great family activity to get everyone outside and moving, while also helping to prevent invasive species from destroying local habitats.
4. Care for a Critter. When you “Care for a Critter,” you help the Akron Zoo provide food, medical care, habitat maintenance and conservation programs for one year. Packages include a color photo and fact sheet on your “adopted” animal, a personalized certificate of sponsorship, and even a plush toy (for select species).