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Philadelphia Zoo and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation staff have worked with over 100 volunteers to plant trees across key sections of Fairmount Park. By returning native tree species to mowed areas or to those that are overrun with exotic invasive plants, we will improve forest connectivity and enhance habitat for local wildlife species such as migratory and resident birds, and a variety of small mammals, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates.
In addition to the wildlife benefits they provide, these same trees will absorb carbon dioxide, assist with stormwater management and help to reduce the urban heat island effect, all goals outlined in the City of Philadelphia’s Greenworks sustainability plan.
The Zoo is also working with Temple University’s Landscape Architecture and Horticulture Department at Ambler Campus on a “Head-Start Program” to propagate saplings that will ultimately be planted in Fairmount Park.
As part of their coursework, Temple students gather seeds of native tree species from which the saplings will be germinated. Because seeds collected will have dropped from healthy trees found locally there is an increased chance they will thrive in our area.
Of the more than 800 trees planted to date, close to 150 have been “head-started” through this partnership program.
The Philadelphia Zoo is an official chapter of FrogWatch USA, a national citizen science program that encourages community stewardship by training volunteers to listen to and report the breeding calls of frogs and toads in their communities. Our goal as a chapter is to incorporate this opportunity into our educational programs; to engage staff, volunteers, teachers and partners in local conservation activities and to facilitate action that saves wildlife.
We're working to protect amphibians in Fairmount Park and at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge through habitat reforestation and programs like FrogWatch. Internationally, we are committed to the protection of amphibians in Haiti, where many unique and amazing species are threatened by extreme habitat loss.
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