Growing up in New York, we often visited the Bronx Zoo. It’s a huge zoo that could take a full day to really see everything. We’d spend long hours walking through the different exhibits and learning all about the different species. As a kid growing up in the “concrete jungle”, it was the most interaction I had with nature and any kind of wildlife. It wasn’t until I was much older and had kids of my own that weighing in on zoo trips was really thought. To zoo, or not to zoo. That was the question.
Did I really want to give my kids the impression that animals came from or even worse belonged anywhere other than in their natural habitat? As an advocate for all wildlife, like many others, I believe that animals and their habitat should be respected and even preserved. I donate to causes and charities to help preserve these habitats and prevent extinction of many species. The connection I feel to nature is powerful, so my feeling behind this issue measures up just the same.
As a parent, I struggled with how to broach this issue with our kids. They have class trips to the zoo, friends who frequent the zoo. However, it’s important for me to express that animals do no come from the zoo, and in fact live in a much broader world that I wish they will spend the rest of their lives learning about. I needed to find a way to introduce this issue carefully and help them to truly understand the world around them.
A happy compromise I’ve discovered is contributing to organizations that act as a conservation society. Supporting your local conservation society can help house wildlife that are incapable of surviving in the wild, while educating patrons about their species and natural habitat. The AZA (Association of Zoo’s & Aquariums) / SAFE (Saving Animals From Extinction) is working closely with Stonyfield YoKids together on a mission to help save endangered species. As part of a year-long effort, Stonyfield will not only be contributing funds to field work but aiming to drive kids and their families to see animals and conservation projects first hand at zoos, aquariums, and on the ground where the research is happening.
By sponsoring the AZA’s efforts, Stonyfield is working towards supporting conservation efforts for 10 endangered species, including the African Penguin just in time for World Penguin Day on April 25th! In keeping with Stonyfield’s long time effort in conservation and sustainability, they will be featuring most of AZA’s SAFE species on their packaging all year-long so kid’s can collect all of the species. Stonyfield YoKids will be offering a special on-pack offer to encourage families to visit any of the 131 participating AZA accredited member zoos and aquariums in their own communities.
From now to the end of September families who buy two specially-marked YoKids yogurt multipacks will receive a FREE kid’s admission to their local AZA-accredited zoo or aquarium when they also buy an adult ticket. Stonyfield has long been a company with high standards using only organic, non-gmo ingredients in all of their kids yogurt. Most recently stepping it up with a sugar reduction across the line available in cups, squeezers and smoothies.
Check out this adorable video when kids were asked if a cow could save a penguin?
By encouraging more kids and families to visit their local participating zoo or aquarium and experience endangered species firsthand, Stonyfield hopes to inspire a lifelong appreciation of our planet and commitment to animal conservation in the next generation. We can’t wait to visit our local AZA SAFE accredited Zoo in Miami and share all of the wonderful details!