Party for the Planet: Spring into Action Grant will provide funding for education, outreach, programming
PARAMUS, NJ – Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco, the Board of Commissioners, and the Bergen County Parks Department are pleased to announce the receipt of a $10,000 grant for a three-day conservation program at the Bergen County Zoo in Paramus.
The Bergen County Zoo was one of 11 facilities in the country that were awarded the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Party for the Planet: Spring Into Action Grant. Each year, the Bergen County Zoo hosts Party for the Planet, their most popular event which welcomes upwards of 1,000 visitors annually. The AZA Spring Into Action Grant will turn the historically one-day event into a three-day conservation program that is part of the Zoo’s Change for the Climate initiative.
Party for the Planet will take place Friday, April 22 through Sunday, April 24. Friday and Saturday, April 22 and 23, will feature education and training regarding issues targeting local pollinators including invasive plant species, as well as the planting of pollinator gardens within the zoo. Sunday, April 24, will see a dozen organizations visit the zoo and set up tables with activities, prizes, and more, to educate and involve the public in various conservation projects.
“Our nationally accredited zoo is an excellent resource for local residents looking to learn more and take action to help protect our environment,” said Bergen County Executive Tedesco. The Zoo’s focus on local pollinators is another example of how providing our residents with an opportunity to support a conservation effort right in their own backyard helps everyone, especially our open space.”
“Two of our most important responsibilities are protecting the residents of Bergen County and being good stewards of our piece of the planet,” said Commissioner Mary Amoroso, Chair of the Environmental Commission. “We are committed to preserving the health and enjoyment of our soil, air and water, our flora and fauna. We are grateful for this grant that allows us to continue and expand our commitment to educating our fellow citizens about the good things we all can do for the planet, like identifying invasive plant species and creating pollinator gardens.”
Marianne Vella, the Director of the Bergen County Zoo said: “Pollinators are vital to the sustainability of our ecosystem, and they are continuously under threat. Our education department has been involved with Monarch Watch for years, which is an initiative that is part of the AZA SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction program aimed at Monarch Butterflies. We have always done what we can for our local pollinators, but we are thrilled that our education staff was awarded this grant which gives us the resources to increase our programming and outreach regarding this vital conservation topic.”
A portion of the Party for the Planet: Spring Into Action grant will provide training to teams of volunteers from local organizations that will continue to plant pollinator gardens at different locations throughout the county, and continuously make observations and enter data regarding the pollinators into online citizen scientist databases like Monarch Watch and Nature’s Notebook. The Zoo’s organizational partners for this initiative include Norwood Summit House, Hope worldwide – NY Metro Division, and Flatrock Brook Nature Center.
The Bergen County Zoo is dedicated to actively pursuing efforts to conserve wildlife and wild places and instill in its guests a strong sense of appreciation and understanding of both.