We’re all in this together

02-27 blog 1

Our Butterfly Beltway Program plants gardens that encourage butterfly conservation.

The Seneca Park Zoo may be a place for animals, fun and family but it is also a place for conservation education.  We are active in a variety of conservation projects, like our commitment to protect butterflies through our Butterfly Beltway Project. Our work reaches around the nation, with our participation in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP), and around the earth, as we work to protect Bornean orangutans through our partnership with Health in Harmony.  These are a small sampling of the conservation projects in which we take part. You can see more of what we do here.

Our otters are expert recyclers. Photo by Kelli O'Brien.

Our otters are expert recyclers. Photo by Kelli O’Brien.

Since we are all in this together, conserving the environment and protecting animals begins with what we do at home every day. Here are some easy things you can do at home to help animals and the environment:

  • Plant a butterfly or pollinator garden
  • Plant native trees
  • Put up a bat box or bird nesting box
  • Use a rain barrel to collect water to water your garden
  • Organize or participate in a litter cleanup
  • Recycle your electronic waste
  • Compost
  • Donate to conservation organizations like Seneca Park Zoo

We would love to hear what you are doing around your own home or in your community to help preserve this wonderful planet. Share your story here. After all, we are all in this together.

- Tim Fowler, Outreach Coordinator

Leave a comment »

Experience the real thing at the Zoo


Photos by Kelli O’Brien

Our school program calendar is filling up for spring, so now is a great time to book your field trip. Students will meet animals from the habitats they study, delve deeper into conservation issues they read about or gather information to enhance their school projects.

Our teacher’s guide is brimming with programs. We’ve also developed new programs on frogs, biomes and wolves. If you don’t see a perfect match for your curriculum please reach out so we can collaborate to create something new. Contact me via e-mail at anordmark@senecazoo.org or call (585) 336-7394.

Anneke NordmarkYouth and School Groups Program Manager

Leave a comment »

Winter Break Camp at the Zoo

It’s February and that means we are gearing up for Winter Break Camp taking place February 16 to 20.


Winter Break Camp


photos by Kelli O’Brien

This is one of my favorite camps of the year. We spend the week exploring the adaptations of animals living in different climates from the cold Arctic to hot deserts. Like all camp sessions, we will get up-close encounters with animals in our Education Collection in the classroom, and get out around the Zoo to see all of the animals on exhibit.

People remain surprised that the animals are out in winter, but many of our animals love this cold weather. Polar bears, sea lions, Canada lynx and Amur tigers are just a few of the species who feel right at home in the cold. We will get a chance to see these animals show off their winter survival skills, and we will try out our own as well. We always make time to play outside in the snow (if the weather allows) and sometimes we make snowmen for the animals to play with, then we warm up back inside with a nice cup of hot chocolate! This is a winter experience your child will remember for years to come. Space is limited, so make sure you register soon.

Registration is now open for our popular Summer ZooCamp. We’ve expanded our themes and added sessions to accommodate more campers. Take a few minutes to register your child. You can find more information, including our 2015 brochure and registration form, here.

See you at the Zoo!

Emily Coon-Frisch, Manager of Program Development

Leave a comment »

Festival season is upon us. Can you believe it?

ZooMobile at Entercom Kids Fest

Swainson’s lory, Gloria, at Entercom Kids Fest (Photo by Kelli O’Brien)

Can you believe festival season is really starting? This might sound odd since it’s only January, but within the next month, the Seneca Park Zoo’s Wegmans ZooMobile, will do three festival presentations. The ZooMobile will be at the Entercom Kids Fest on February 14; at a Rochester RazorSharks game on February 16; and at the Rochester Museum and Science Center on February 18. We will be at these events with some of our Education Collection animals, talking about conservation and what you can do to help animals in their natural ranges.

So come out to see us and our animals for a whole lot of educational fun! If you can’t make it to one of the festivals, invite the ZooMobile to your next event, class or program.

Tim Fowler, Outreach Coordinator

Leave a comment »

Not an average summer vacation for teens

Want to meet new people this summer? Need to gain confidence in public speaking? How about completing your community service hours or building your resume for college applications? Do you love animals and want to share that love with others? Spend your summer with us at the Zoo! The ZooTeen Program gives young adults the opportunity to explore their interests in ecology and conservation. The unique training ZooTeens receive engages them in the sciences and also provides activities that foster self-esteem and encourage positive social interactions. ZooTeens spend the summer educating Zoo visitors about the Zoo’s animal residents and important environmental concepts by running education stations located throughout the Zoo. At these stations, teens encourage visitors to touch different “biofacts” (pelts, nests, bones etc.), and engage in conversation about animals. Click here for program information. Application due by April 6th, 2015.

Blog by Anneke Nordmark, Youth and School Programs Coordinator

Photo by Kelli O’Brien

Leave a comment »

15 things you can do to help animals in 2015

The New Year is here and we are all making our resolutions to live better. Consider making a few resolutions to help animals, too.  Here is our list of 15 things you can do in 2015 to help animals at the Seneca Park Zoo, throughout Western New York and internationally.

  1. Support international conservation efforts: Support organizations that help animals in their natural habitats. You can even make donations at the Seneca Park Zoo. Here are just a few of the organizations that the Seneca Park Zoo supports:
    1. International Elephant Foundation – Protecting Elephants from poaching
    2. Health in Harmony - Protecting orangutan habitat
    3. SANCCOB – Protecting South African penguins and their habitats
  2. Recycle: It is a simple but powerful tool you can use to help protect natural habitats. Reducing waste helps to lessen the amount of land used for landfills, decrease pollution and stop habitat destruction resulting from the harvest of new resources. Learn about recycling at the Zoo by attending a Go Green! Recycle Rally.

    DSC_3462 (cropped))

    ZooTeens assist members of the community with recycling at a Go Green! Recycle Rally. Photo by Kelli O’Brien.

  3. Reuse: Using reusable shopping bags or water bottles can reduce waste and save animals from encountering these objects as litter in their natural habitats. Sea turtles confuse plastic bags in the ocean for jellyfish and often die after eating them.  Small animals can get body parts lodged in plastic bottles.
  4. Reduce energy use: Simple changes in your daily life can make a big impact on energy use. Consider unplugging your cell phone chargers when not in use or powering down your electronic devices for a few hours a day.  Unplug and get outside to enjoy a walk in the park or at the Zoo.  Ride your bike or carpool to get there.
  5. Clean up our waterways: Participate in local clean-up events or support organizations that do clean ups. Seneca Park Zoo’s ZooTeen Leaders spent a day clearing up Durand Eastman Beach last summer and collected 10 bags of trash in just a few short hours!
  6. Reduce water use: All living things need fresh water. By reducing your water use you can help ensure there is enough for people and animals alike. Turning off the water while brushing your teeth, washing your car less frequently and reducing how much you water your lawn are all ways you can help.
  7. Shop local: Buying local produce helps to reduce fossil fuel used for shipping and reduces the amount of habitat being used for farmland. Buying local produce also helps support your local economy.
  8. Compost: Composting food scraps and yard waste can help keep items out of landfills and creates nutrient rich soil for your own garden. Also, when using disposable items, consider buying compostables like plates, napkins, cups and more.
  9. Use sustainable palm oil: Palm oil, found in many products we use on a daily basis, is harvested from trees in orangutan habitats. In order to protect these habitats and the orangutans, many companies have committed to using only sustainable palm oil. To learn more, you can download a shopping guide app for your phone to help you to know which products were made with sustainable palm oil.

    Orangutan 2013 A Brian Sheets (Denda)

    Bornean orangutan, Denda. Photo by Brian Sheets.

  10. Attend Conservation Education Days at the Zoo: Throughout the year the Zoo hosts conservation education days to give our visitors a chance to learn more about species in crisis. You will have a chance to talk with Zoo staff about the animals and learn how you can help.
  11. Buy sustainable fish: The fish you eat can have a big impact on the ecosystems of our oceans and animals, like sea lions. Switching to more sustainable fish can be easy (and delicious) by using the Seafood Watch Program put together by the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
  12. Plant a butterfly garden: Pollinators like butterflies and bees are critical in maintaining our food supply but their habitat is in danger. Planting native, pollinator-friendly plants in your garden provides breeding habitat for these amazing animals. Or, consider having the Zoo plant a garden for you; our Butterfly Beltway Program plants butterfly gardens to help provide habitat and migratory stopover points for monarch butterflies and other pollinators.
  13. Save a sturgeon: The Seneca Park Zoo partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reintroduce 1,000 sturgeon into the Genesee River in the autumn of 2014. You can help them thrive by keeping waterways clean, and if you catch a sturgeon while fishing, throw it back!


    Seneca Park Zoo Director Larry Sorel participates in a sturgeon release. Photo by Kelli O’Brien.

  14. Watch for invasive species: Invasive species are non-native species who have been introduced into our habitat. Be sure to take precautions while boating not to transfer invasive aquatic species attached to your vessel to other waterways, never release exotic pets into the wild and plant only native plants to ensure you are not introducing invasive species.
  15. Visit the Zoo: The Seneca Park Zoo is a leader in conservation. Our participation in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan program helps to ensure the survival of animals like orangutans, tigers, penguins and many more. Visiting the Zoo helps to continue to fund these great programs and save animals from extinction.

The Seneca Park Zoo’s mission and vision communicates our commitment to conservation. We encourage you to act as a steward of the environment in your own community. – Emily Coon-Frisch, Manager of Program Development

Leave a comment »

Have animal visitors at your next Zoo event!

Photo by Kelli O'Brien

Photo by Kelli O’Brien

Whether you are interested in having a family reunion, company picnic, cocktail reception or just a relaxing get together, the Zoo is the perfect place for your party.

Bearded dragon

Photo courtesy of M.M. Ewing Continuing Care Center

Where else can you have an owl visit with your guests while they eat their hors d’oeuvres? Or a curious-looking armadillo accompanied by a table full of touchable animal artifacts? You’re sure to delight everyone at your event!

Click here to find out more and let us make your event at the Zoo extra special.

- Anneke Nordmark, Youth and School Groups Program Coordinator

Leave a comment »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.