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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Cohanzick Zoo, Bridgeton, New Jersey, USA

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Cohanzick Zoo, Bridgeton, New Jersey, USA
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Registered: December 2008
City/Town/Province: Pilesgrove
Posts: 1
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“Mommy! We should go to the zoo today,” a young girl eagerly exclaims. The mother, tired from a long week at work, looks with tired eyes at the girl. She knows she wants to make those pleading eyes happy, but she also understands that she cannot spend a fortune on zoo tickets for a Saturday afternoon event. So, the mother ultimately chooses to take her child to the Cohanzick Zoo in Bridgeton, NJ: a non-profit zoo where admission is solely run on voluntary donations.
As the mother and daughter enter the zoo, they notice that it is not the cleanest place with the best exhibits and interactive learning facilities. But, none of this matters to the little girl, whose eyes light up in excitement after seeing a lemur jump from wall to wall or after observing a white tiger sleeping soundly in the hot afternoon sun. On their way home, the girl naps, exhausted from such a fun-filled day. The mother, as she is driving home, smiles, as she is content with the time spent with her daughter.
This story is a common one among the frequent visitors to the Cohanzick Zoo. In fact, I became this little girl when I was five years old. Although our family had to watch our spending, my mother managed to take me to the Cohanzick Zoo frequently, which sparked my interest in the environment and taking care of animals. It is because of my love for the Cohanzick Zoo and my interest in the environment that I focused my Apprentice Ecologist Initiative project on helping the zoo have the materials it needed to take care of the animals and become a cleaner environment.
As secretary of my Environmental Club, I was aware that we had helped the zoo in the past, as we raised money to adopt a pot-bellied pig. So, I spoke to my advisor and we decided that we could do more for the zoo. We spoke to the curator and she said that the zoo was in desperate need of supplies. The curator had said that the zoo needed simple things, such as paper towels, trash bags, latex gloves, brooms, and other cleaning supplies. Because the zoo did not charge admission, they relied simply on donations, which could sometimes be scarce. The Woodstown High School Environmental Club has about 300 members, so I made up announcements and asked them to donate at least one thing. By the end of the collection period, we had filled up the lab area of my advisor’s classroom!
I was happy with the immense success of this project, but I felt that we should do more for the zoo. I remembered visiting the picnic area at the zoo as a child, and I knew that since the zoo was short on staff, they probably didn’t have many volunteers to clean up that area. So, I began planning a field trip for some members of our club to go to the zoo and help clean it. We met with our principal, sent out permission slips, and began working with the curator of the zoo to finalize the plans for the project.
Then I, along with 30 other volunteers, headed off to the Cohanzick zoo to clean up the picnic area. To make the trip exciting, I split everyone into groups and made it into a competition, so all of the groups were trying to collect as much trash as possible. We probably spent about five hours collecting trash from the surrounding areas, and each person collected at least three trash bags! As we all regrouped to see how much we had done, I was aghast at the impact of our trip. The picnic area was spotless, and I was thrilled to see that it was once again a place where young children and their parents can enjoy lunch before entering the zoo.
Because of the Apprentice Ecologist Initiative, I was able to see how much of an impact one school club could have on the environment. To see so many members working towards a common cause was extremely rewarding. One of the core values of the Nicodemus Wilderness Project is to have “long-term commitment from concerned citizens”. This project has revealed to me my desire to work long-term towards helping the Cohanzick zoo, and the environment in general. I am still able to see the piles and piles of trash bags that we collected, and the look on the curators face as we gave her the supplies she had asked for. This year, I was elected president of the Environmental Club, and I would like to further our involvement with the Cohanzick Zoo. I am currently planning monthly trips to the zoo to collect trash and help clean the cages. This zoo is such a great place for families to come and spend time together while learning about exotic animals in the process, and because of my project, they will continue to do this in the future.
· Date: December 31, 2008 · Views: 6790 · File size: 31.4kb, 296.6kb · : 1500 x 1125 ·
Hours Volunteered: 206
Volunteers: 40
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 14 to 18
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): 4
Trash Removed/Recycled from Environment (kg): 135
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Registered: December 2011
City/Town/Province: Sunny Isles Beach
Posts: 7
December 30, 2011 12:44pm

I've never heard of someone cleaning up a zoo, what a geat idea Smile

Continue being green!

-Hugs from Miami,