On Saturday, January 5th we invite you to join us for a very special Spotlight on Species event featuring members of our Houston Zoo team that are going above and beyond to save animals in the wild! At the event you will have the opportunity to meet a number of staff members that have started their own projects or spent time contributing to already existing projects dedicated to protecting animals and the places they call home.
Each staff member you’ll meet at the event was able to complete their project thanks to a program called the Staff Conservation Fund. Each year, zoo employees can donate a portion of their hard-earned wages to the fund. This fund is then used to provide support to staff members who successfully apply for funding to bring their project to life. To date, this fund has made it possible for 63 staff members to carry out 43 projects in 14 countries around the world! Read on to learn more about a couple of projects that were carried out right here in Texas and don’t forget to join us on Saturday so you can meet these conservation heroes in person!
Creating Prairie Pollinator Pathways in Clear Lake
Who: Amanda Daly – Supervisor, Natural Encounters and DeAndra Ramsey – School Programs Coordinator, Conservation Education, Conservation Champion for Texas Bat Monitoring
What: This project creates pollinator garden pit-stops to help pollinators like bees and butterflies in the Clear Lake area travel between habitats.
Species Protected: Pollinators
Project Success: Through multiple partnerships Amanda and DeAndra were able to create a pollinator pathway linking Johnson Space Center to Exploration Green – a distance of over half a mile!
“I love all animals and this project allows me to work to save some animals that are often unsung heroes: pollinators.” – DeAndra
“This project is a way for me to bring the conservation focus that I love about the zoo home to the neighborhood where I live and where I grew up.” – Amanda
Treating Infections in Attwater’s Prairie Chickens
Who: Maryanne Tocidlowski – DVM, DACZM Staff Veterinarian
What: Determining the dosage of antibiotic needed to successfully treat infections in Attwater’s prairie chickens.
Species Protected: Attwater’s prairie chicken
Project Success: This project allowed Dr. Maryanne to determine that the antibiotic dosage being used was correct to treat most of the common infections present in Attwater’s prairie chickens. This live-saving research will help to further efforts to save this rare Texas bird from extinction!
“Success with this project means that we can treat Attwater’s prairie chicken infections at a drug level that we know will work for them.” – Dr. Maryanne