Celebrate Earth Day at Cosley Zoo

If you want to make a big difference for Earth Day, it's important to think small.

That's why the annual Party for the Planet on Saturday, April 23, at Cosley Zoo in Wheaton teaches children and families how little acts of conservation can create major effects across the 197 million square miles of Earth.

"It's important to help people connect with the environment and realize they can make a difference by helping to plant seeds or using a little bit less water," Cosley Education and Guest Experiences Supervisor Tami Romejko said.

"No matter a person's age, it does have an impact on the environment and on the types of animals they see at our zoo. We want them to see that it's all related."

Party for the Planet was started by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and is the largest combined Earth Day celebration in North America; more than 100 facilities across the continent participate.

At Cosley, up to 700 visitors come to see more than 150 animals like the baby lambs born this spring, bobcats, hawks and even snakes and tarantulas.

In addition, Cosley hosts several nonprofit groups and businesses that offer conservation opportunities that last beyond Earth Day, which is officially April 22. Exhibitors include businesses like Norwex, which sells environmentally-friendly cleaning products; SCARCE (School and Community Assistance for Composting and Recycling Education); and Lincoln Marsh.

Party for the Planet also will include children's activities and games that feature a conservation theme, as well as musical performances at noon and 1 p.m. by Dave Orleans, the Earthsinger.

"Sometimes making a difference can seem daunting to adults and that's why we focus on creating empathy at the early childhood level," Romejko said.

"We want to help children make that connection with animals, nature and the environment so that when they come of the age that they can take action, they are ready."

If you go

What: Party for the Planet

When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 23

Where: Cosley Zoo, 1356 N. Gary Ave., Wheaton

Cost: $5 for adults; $4 for seniors; free for children, Wheaton Park District residents and zoo members


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