Wet, Wild, and Rare- Helping Conserve Local Habitat

When you visit the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo and cast your vote at the Kids4Nature Kiosk or round up your total at the Wild Things Gift Shop, you’re helping to protect local habitat with ACRES Land Trust. Most recently, your support helped conserve and study Quog Lake, a local, wild and rare quaking bog that is part of an incredible wetland complex in LaGrange County.

Over the past few years, through the Kids4Nature and “round up” programs, Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo visitors have contributed $13,500 toward the preservation and study of this 807-acre LaGrange County wetland complex, protected in part by ACRES Land Trust. State-endangered Marsh Wrens and Massasauga rattlesnakes call this secluded wildlife habitat home. Recent bird surveys document 75 bird species in the area; notable species include Veery, Northern Water thrush and a bouquet of warbler species including a Cerulean Warbler.

Your contributions at the Zoo have supported two exciting ACRES preserves within the complex:

  • Marsh Wren Nature Preserve, a 50-acre high-quality wetland preserve. Zoo funding created and launched ACRES’ preserve management plan to remove invasive non-native plants and restore critical natural habitat.
  • Quog Lake, a 126-acre wetland preserve that protects one of a few remaining quaking bogs in the state. A quaking bog – the origin of Quog Lake’s name – describes a floating mat of sphagnum moss along the shore of the lake.

Zoo funding helped ACRES purchase this land for permanent protection and conduct a plant inventory. Plant life at the preserve includes carnivorous pitcher plants and sundew in great abundance.

Did you know that Zookeepers and staff partner with ACRES, too? This spring, a team of eleven bird-brained zookeepers volunteered to count birds for ACRES’ inaugural Bird Blitz event. ACRES’ Bird Blitz welcomed 76 total bird blitzers, who visited 35 ACRES properties, counting 89 species of birds. Their work helped ACRES understand and communicate the value of protecting habitat. These results will be recorded on ebird.org, an online citizen science birding database developed and maintained by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Audubon Society.

Thank you for helping protect habitat for local animals when you visit the Zoo. Happy trails!




Quog Lake nature preserve’s floating sphagnum moss mat is thin in areas and contains holes throughout, making a trail for visitors to view the bog impossible. The preserve is closed to the public, but will be open for ACRES members 6 am, Saturday, November 11 for a guided waterfowl viewing event. For more event information, visit: acreslandtrust.org/participate/events.

Submitted by Lettie Haver, Outreach Manager for the ACRES Land Trust.


Join the millions of families who recognize that playing outside together is fun! Print your passport and start earning points. When you get 100 points, turn in this sheet for a prize and one FREE Child Admission Ticket* to the zoo!

Looking for more ideas?  Here are simple ways you can help our planet…

and remember, “No one made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.”

-Edmund Burke

At Home
  • Spend time outdoors. Get to know the plants and animals in your own neighborhood
  • Create a Certified Wildlife Habitat in your own yard
  • Turn off lights when they’re not needed
  • Turn off the water when brushing your teeth or doing dishes
  • Turn off the TV when not in use
  • Recycle
  • Take reusable bags to the store
  • Fix leaky faucets
  • Use rechargeable batteries
  • Choose a reusable water bottle
  • Buy in bulk to reduce packaging
  • Start and maintain a compost pile
  • Build a Monarch Butterfly Waystation to help migrating butterflies
  • Weed by hand instead of using pesticides
  • Grow your own fruits and vegetables
  • Buy energy-efficient appliances
  • Purchase a fuel-efficient vehicle
  • Start and maintain a compost pile
  • Don’t buy disposable products
  • Choose not to water your lawn
  • Install a rain barrel; use the rainwater in your garden
At School or Work
  • Pack your lunch in a reusable container
  • Use both sides of a piece of paper when printing
  • Reuse bags
  • Turn your water heater to 120 degrees Farhenheit
  • Take short showers
  • Obey speed limits to increase gas mileage
  • Recycle or refill ink cartridges
  • Walk, ride your bike, or use public transportation
At The Zoo
  • “Round up” your purchase at the Wild Things Gift Shop. These funds go directly to our Conservation Partners
  • Drop a coin in the Kids4Nature kiosk each time you visit. Contributions support conservation projects
  • Don’t pollute storm drains with liquids or litter
  • Recycle your cell phone to benefit wildlife
  • Read the signs at the zoo to learn more about conservation, and share what you learned with someone else.
  • Participate in our Holiday Light Drive – Bring your unwanted lights to our Guest Services building for recycling.

*Bring your completed Nature Passport to the Guest Services building at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo April 22 – October 8, 2017 to receive one prize and one free Child Admission Ticket (ages 2-18). Ticket valid for 365 days after issue date. Limit one free ticket per completed Nature Passport. Ticket valid during the regular zoo season only. May not be combined with any other offer, coupon, or discount.

zoo nature fort wayne


2017 Kids4Nature Featured Projects

These three projects will share 50% of all Kids4Nature funds in 2017, with the allocation proportional to the number of votes received. The other 50% of Kids4Nature funds will be shared by our Conservation Partners.

African Penguin
As one of the most endangered types of penguin, these little birds need your help. Using KIDS4NATURE funds, the zoo supports SANCCOB in their efforts to rehabilitate and release wild penguins.

Blacktip Reef Shark
shark fot wayne zooOverfishing is the main threat to shark species around the world. KIDS4NATURE supports organizations that encourage responsible trade, consumption and sustainability globally.

Indiana Wetlands and Rivers
Thousands of Midwestern animals and plants depend upon Indiana wetlands, marshes, and rivers for survival. Using KIDS4NATURE funds, the zoo supports groups that protect these needed ecosystems through land acquisition and scientific study.


Kids4Nature invites every zoo guest to make a difference for wildlife conservation. Your vote at the Kids4Nature kiosk helps us direct our conservation commitment to projects locally and around the globe. In 2016, Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo invested $167,000 to conservation projects. Every vote matters!

How Kids4Nature Works

On every visit, you’ll receive a recycled metal washer that represents 10 cents. Visit the Kids4Nature kiosk near the Lion Drinking Fountain and read about the three conservation projects. Cast your “vote” for your favorite project by dropping the washer in the wishing well. Your vote helps determine how much funding each project will receive.

Additional votes can be made with real quarters, nickels, and dimes – 100% of any added contributions will go toward the voted project. Total contributions are calculated from April – October.

Our Conservation Partners

Our Conservation Partners

The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is proud to support the following conservation organizations.

When you “round up” your total at the Wild Things Gift Shop or make a donation at our Kids4Nature kiosk, those funds and other zoo monies directly support the important work of these like-minded organizations. Thank you for helping us make a difference!

ACRES Land Trust
The zoo financially supports ACRES and its effort to restore the Marsh Wren Nature Preserve in northeast Indiana.

Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance (ALTA)
The Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance (ALTA) is a coalition of 15 international and Russian NGOs working to conserve the endangered Amur leopard and tiger.

Association of Zoos & Aquariums
As a member of the AZA, the zoo partners with zoos across the country to save animals from extinction. The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo provides financial support to the AZA’s Conservation Endowment Fund as well as funding for projects of the Tiger Species Survival Plan.

Butterfly Conservation Initiative
The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo provides financial support to the Butterfly Conservation Initiative’s efforts to conserve endangered North American butterflies and their habitats. To learn how you can create a Monarch Waystation to help migrating monarch butterflies, click here.

Conservation Breeding Specialists Group
The zoo offers financial support to the CBSG for effective conservation through research and international collaboration.

Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake SSP 
The zoo supports The Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake Species Survival Plan® (SSP), which is a collaborative management program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Click here to download a brochure created by the zoo to educate local residents about rattlesnakes.

Gibbon Conservation Center
The zoo provides financial support for the Gibbon Conservation Center and its work to study, protect, and propagate endangered gibbon species.

Giraffe Conservation Foundation
Through financial support, the zoo helps to fund habitat protection, research, and ongoing studies to better understand all nine subspecies of giraffes found throughout Africa.

Help the Hellbender
In 2015, the zoo began a partnership with Purdue University to raise hellbender salamanders, which will eventually be released into their southern Indiana habitat. The hellbenders will be tracked as part of a statewide conservation effort.

Lion Guardians
The zoo supports Lion Guardians, an organization that trains and supports a team of people dedicated to lion conservation. Lion Guardians seeks to achieve the long-term coexistence of humans and lions through scientifically-driven practices.

Little River Wetlands Project
The zoo financially supports LRWP’s goal of restoring and preserving wetlands in the watershed of the Little River, a headwater tributary of the Wabash River, in Allen County, Indiana.

Little Turtle Chapter – American Association of Zoo Keepers
The zoo supports the efforts of Little Turtle AAZK in the areas of cell phone recycling, river cleanup, and Bowling for Rhinos.

Marianas Avifauna Conservation Project
The zoo’s Director of Animal Programs Dr. Joe Smith and veterinarian Dr. Kami Fox routinely travel to the Marianas Islands in the Pacific Ocean to participate in the relocation and conservation of native bird species.

Mitchell’s Satyr Butterfly Introduction
The zoo financially supports efforts to conserve and protect this endangered insect. Known threats to the Mitchell’s satyr are destruction and pesticide contamination of their wetland habitat.

Orangutan Conservancy
The zoo sends contributions from the donation box at Orangutan Valley to the Orangutan Conservancy to support the preservation of wild orangutans. In addition, you can help save orangutans by making sustainable choices! Download the Sustainable Palm Oil Shopping App from the iTunes Store or Google Play, or click here for a printable version.

Pacific Marine Mammal Center
The zoo financially supports the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in their work to rescue and rehabilitate stranded California sea lions.

Primate Conservation in Central Java
The effect of coffee plantations on endangered primate species on the heavily populated Indonesian island of Java is the focus of an intensive study, of which the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is the primary sponsor. You can read the researcher’s blog here. Click here for a report from the field and the latest photos of the zoo-sponsored research project and efforts to encourage production of shade-grown coffee. Note: An online translation site may be needed to convert Bahasa (Indonesian) to English for some materials.

Red Panda Network
 The zoo supports the Red Panda Network in its efforts to empower local communities with community-based research, education, and carbon mitigation.

Sahara Conservation Fund – Ostrich Project
With a focus on saving the critically endangered north African ostrich, this project seeks to preserve fragile desert habitats in the Sahel and Sahara regions of Africa.

Save the Tasmanian Devil Program
 The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo was one of only a few zoos selected by the Australian government to exhibit Tasmanian devils in North America. Tasmanian devils are endangered and the zoo is working to educate the public on the conservation of the Tasmanian devil population.

Seafood Watch 
The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch® program empowers consumers and businesses to make choices for healthy oceans, helping support diverse marine ecosystems for the future.

Sharks and Rays Conservation
The zoo provides financial support to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) for shark and stingray conservation programs. The goal of WCS is to prevent extinction and halt decline of these important groups of species.

Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds
The zoo provides financial support for SANCCOB (The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds) to assist with the rehabilitation of seabirds exposed to pollution and natural disasters. Based in Cape Town, South Africa, SANCCOB’s works to rescue black-footed penguins.

Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program (SOCP)
Through its financial support of this organization, the zoo supports the integration of research, environmental education, reintroduction, and habitat protection within endangered orangutan habitats.

Tiger SSP 
The zoo supports the Tiger Species Survival Plan® (SSP), which is a collaborative management program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The goals of the Tiger SSP are to maintain sustainable, genetically diverse tiger populations as a “genetic insurance policy” for their wild counterparts, to raise awareness about the plight of tigers and funding for their conservation, and to support research on tiger biology and care.

Conservation Programs

Zoo Conservation Programs

The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is dedicated to the preservation of wild animals and wild places.

To that end, we participate in programs and initiatives to protect animals and their habitats both at home and around the world.

Association of Zoos & Aquariums

The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is a non-profit organization, accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you and a better future for all living things. With more than 200 accredited members, the AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation and your link to helping animals in their native habitats.

On May 15, 2015, the AZA launched SAFE. SAFE = Save Animals From Extinction. Click here to learn more about the AZA’s conservation practices.

Species Survival Plan

The AZA manages the Species Survival Plan (SSP) to ensure the survival of endangered wildlife species. The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo participates in 91 SSP programs, Taxon Advisory Groups, and Studbooks to maximize genetic diversity in zoo-dwelling populations.