FROM ZOO TO YOU

By Julianne Werts

Each April, people around the world come together to celebrate Earth Day. This holiday is a day of action for our environment, with common activities including planting trees or picking up litter. Many environmental groups also use this time to speak with government officials and promote environmentally friendly policies.

This year, you and your family can join the Lee Richardson Zoo for some Earth Day fun on Saturday, April 24! We will be hosting free activities throughout the morning, many of which will focus on different ways we can help our local birds and pollinators. With migration season in full swing, there are many different species of birds flying through Garden City that have been absent through the winter.

As winter approaches birds like warblers, ducks, and many others will fly south to find warmer climates, some traveling from Canada all the way to South America. In the spring as the weather warms up, daylight increases, and insects become more abundant, the birds start to make their way back north to their breeding areas. These long travels also bring the need for a lot of healthy habitat for the birds to survive. They need enough food and shelter not only in both their summer and winter homes, but also along the paths that they fly. During our Earth Day Celebration, you can learn some of the easy ways you can help protect many of these birds around your own home!

One way the Zoo will be helping out local birds on Saturday is by hosting a riverbed cleanup! You can join us at 9:30 a.m. in front of the bison habitat (the southwest corner of the Zoo). From there, we will stroll to the Arkansas River just across the street and pick up litter so the birds and other wildlife have a clean home. We will have trash bags and gloves available, but consider bringing your own reusable gloves to limit the amount of trash we create!

After cleaning up the riverbed, we will have Discovery Carts set up around the Marie Osterbuhr Aviary and the Pollinator Garden near the Primate Forest habitats. At these stations, you will have a chance to speak with Zoo volunteers and staff to learn more about different birds, bugs, and plants that help our earth survive. There will also be a Keeper Chat at the aviary where you can speak directly with one of our staff members who takes care of the birds!

We hope to see you at our Earth Day Celebration this Saturday! To join in on the fun, visit us at the Zoo between 9:30 a.m. and noon. For more information, you can follow Lee Richardson Zoo on Facebook, visit www.leerichardsonzoo.org, or call us at 620-276-1250 with any questions. Happy Earth Day!

Julianne Werts is the guest engagement coordinator at Lee Richardson Zoo.