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Zoo News Blog

Meet Wildlife Heroes Melissa, Sydney and Ariel at the SCF SOS Event this Saturday!

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 on Zoo grounds and don’t forget to join us on Saturday so you can meet these conservation heroes in person!


Composting at the Zoo

Who: Ariel Sklar – Horticulture Supervisor, ISA Certified Arborist, Conservation Champion for Monarch Butterfly Tagging and Sydney Fitzpatrick – Senior Zoo Keeper in Natural Encounters, Conservation Action Specialist for Sustainable Seafood Awareness

What: This project turns food waste into organic fertilizer which help grow gardens that feed our animals.

Species Protected: All plant and animal species that are threatened by human pollution and waste.

Project Success: Sydney and Ariel were able to compost more than 150 pounds of food waste!

“We are passionate about reducing waste and recycling the food we don’t use into something that can make a positive impact on our environment.” – Ariel and Sydney


Disposable Glove Recycling

Who: Melissa Spradley – Houston Toad Recovery Program Keeper

What: This project collects disposable gloves for recycling to reduce plastic waste.

Species Protected: Sea turtles

Project Success: Since starting her SCF project, over 222 pounds of disposable gloves have been recycled!

“We use a lot of plastic gloves for the health and welfare of our animals and this project allows us to give the best care while protecting Sea Turtles from single use plastic waste.” – Melissa