Escondido, California - In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, San Diego Zoo Global is launching a Virtual Earth Day Celebration, where online visitors can participate in fun activities and gain access to educational resources—all while learning ways to better co-exist with nature. Earth Day is celebrated globally on April 22.
To expand global awareness of Earth Day, San Diego Zoo Global is partnering with the Earth Day Network, the world’s largest recruiter to the environmental movement, working with more than 75,000 partners in over 190 countries to drive positive action for the planet. Each year, the Earth Day Network—organizer of the original Earth Day—selects an environmental priority to engage people worldwide. This year, the enormous challenges—but also the vast opportunities—of acting on climate change have been identified as the most pressing issue for the 50th anniversary year. More frequent droughts, heat waves, rising sea levels, melting glaciers and warming oceans brought on by climate change can directly affect animals and plants, and the places they live.
“San Diego Zoo Global is honored to partner with the Earth Day Network to bring about awareness of and celebrate Earth Day 2020,” said Paul A. Baribault, president/CEO of San Diego Zoo Global. “Our organizations share a mutual goal of maintaining a healthy planet. As stewards dedicated to the conservation of wildlife around the world, San Diego Zoo Global recognizes the ramifications of climate change and its impact on endangered wildlife and habitats. On Earth Day and every day, we are honored to share our science-based, educational resources with millions of people worldwide. Working together, we can make simple lifestyle changes that can add up to big benefits for our environment.”
On Earth Day, April 22, online visitors are invited to participate in the Earth Day Network’s EARTHRISE, a global digital mobilization designed to drive actions big and small, giving diverse voices a platform and demanding bold action for people and the planet. Over 24 hours, EARTHRISE will fill the digital landscape with global conversations, calls to action, performances, video teach-ins and more.
At 11:30 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) April 22, San Diego Zoo Global ambassador Rick Schwartz will participate in EARTHRISE, introducing the dedicated team of researchers and wildlife care specialists at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s Nikita Kahn Rhino Rescue Center. Online viewers can learn about the importance of conserving species and find out more about San Diego Zoo Global’s efforts to save the northern white rhino from the brink of extinction. Visit EarthDay.org.
Immediately after the EARTHRISE online broadcast, at noon (PDT), check out the San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s Facebook Live feed to ask questions and learn more from the researchers and wildlife care specialists at the Nikita Kahn Rhino Rescue Center. Visit Facebook.com/SDZSafariPark.
During the Zoo’s Virtual Earth Day Celebration April 13–22, visitors to SanDiegoZoo.org can discover more about the Earth’s diverse wildlife species through livestreaming cams, videos, activities and more.
Join in an ethology study, and study animal behavior: Animal behavior is anything an animal does in response to its environment. When scientists watch animals, they rely on specific procedures in order to collect the most accurate data possible. Researchers use charts called ethograms as part of these procedures. You can make your own observations and fill out your own ethogram to learn more about the animals we care for at the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park while viewing the live webcams that are set up in their habitats. The San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s 12 livestreaming video cams, including the newly launched Butterfly Cam at Butterfly Jungle presented by Wheelhouse Credit Union, continue to provide unmatched views as wildlife explore, eat, swing, roll, pounce and play throughout their day.
Become a citizen scientist: San Diego Zoo Global’s Wildwatch Burrowing Owl and Wildwatch Kenya projects are paving a path for anyone to become “citizen scientists” in their own homes, and contribute valuable data to conservation researchers—helping researchers to count, identify and track burrowing owls, giraffes and other wildlife by viewing and classifying images from remote trail cameras.
Gorilla-themed coloring page: Children of all ages can download a gorilla coloring page at SanDiegoZoo.org and learn about the importance of recycling cellphones to protect gorilla habitats. Coltan is a mineral found in mobile phones and other small electronics. It is mined in areas where endangered gorillas live. By recycling our old cellphones, the coltan can be reused instead of needing to be mined, which helps protect gorilla habitat. Once completed, participants can take a photo of their artwork and submit it to Facebook.com/SDZSafariPark for possible publication.
Earth Day Nature Challenge scavenger hunt: Take pictures or observe nature through a window, in your yard or on a walk. Draw a picture of your yard or neighborhood, observing what you type of nature you see. Do you see the sky, trees, flowers or animals? What do you smell, feel or hear? Download a journal sheet at SanDiegoZoo.org and record your observations. Keep taking notes each day, and notice the changes you record.
Social media: Smartphone and computer users can check out the Zoo’s Facebook and Instagram updates daily for engaging posts and educational Wildlife Talks with animal care experts; and visit ZOONOOZ Online to discover fascinating stories about wildlife and ongoing conservation projects around the world, with new features posted each week.
“The choices we make today have an effect on the world of tomorrow,” said Rick Schwartz, ambassador, San Diego Zoo Global. “On Earth Day, and every day, we can all do small, simple things that will make a difference for our planet. Remembering the four Rs—reduce, reuse, recycle and recover; conserving water; planting a tree; volunteering for a neighborhood park or beach cleanup; and educating others on the importance and value of our natural resources are all ways we can help protect our planet.”
In addition to Virtual Earth Day activities, San Diego Zoo Global offers a range of fun learning opportunities. Students ages 13 and older who want to learn more about a variety of animal species—including lions, tigers, and bears—over the next six weeks can gain free access to 22 self-paced online courses from the San Diego Zoo Global Academy. Students and teachers can click here to create an account and start learning.
For more fun and educational wildlife stories and craft activities, kids of all ages can view the San Diego Zoo Kids YouTube Channel to see entertaining content that is provided by San Diego Zoo Global at children's hospitals and Ronald McDonald Houses around the world.
About Earth Day Network
Earth Day Network is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide. Growing out of the first Earth Day, Earth Day Network is the world’s largest recruiter to the environmental movement, working with close to 100,000 partners in nearly 192 countries to build environmental democracy. More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world. Earth Day Network works through a combination of education, public policy, and consumer campaigns. For more information, visit EarthDay.org.
About San Diego Zoo Global
Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes on-site wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The work of these entities is made accessible to over 1 billion people annually, reaching 150 countries via social media, our websites and the San Diego Zoo Kids network, in children’s hospitals in 12 countries. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible with support from our incredible donors committed to saving species from the brink of extinction.