Lake Superior Zoo, Duluth, Minnesota

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Our mission is to provide close-up animal experiences which inspire connections to wildlife and action toward conservation in our region and around the world.

1. Create an understanding of the connection between the natural world and humans.
2. Stimulate a fun, entertaining, and interactive learning environment.
3. Provide staff and volunteers with opportunities of continued education.
4. Encourage questions and further investigations into animal conservation and ecological issues.
5. Engage the public in high quality programs that are appropriate for the audience and based on accurate scientific knowledge.
6. Promote career exploration through various programs for junior high, high school, and college students.
7. Inform the public about conservation issues and teach the importance of zoos' roles in conservation.

Conservation Programs offered:
• Zoo ABC's: Zoo ABC's (Animals, Biodiversity & Conservation) was developed for 3rd grade classrooms in the Northland to learn about why zoos are important, what we do and how we are helping with global conservation initiatives. In 2010, with the help of the State's Legacy Grant we were able to fund this program completely by presenting the program, free admission and also a zoo memento. The Lake Superior Zoo reached 53 classrooms totaling 1092 students.
• Homeschool: Every year our homeschool classes focus on a specific topic. In 2007 we focused on habitats, in 2008 we studied animals from each continent, 2009's focus was animal groups, and in 2010 we will be looking into specific conservation issues. We will be learning to appreciate Earth's animals and natural resources and how our behavior impacts both.
• Animal Encounters/Zoomobiles: With each program that we offer, not only do we teach them about the animals at hand, but we teach them the importance of each individual, the habitat that they come from and the benefits and/or impacts that they have on Earth.

Benefits of Program Animal Presentations
The AZA Conservation Education Committee (CEC) has developed a Program Animal Position Statement that supports the presentation of program animals in the conservation education programs of AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums and illustrates many of the benefits these presentations have on audience engagement, knowledge acquisition, and enhanced environmental attitudes. Studies have shown that the presentation of program animals is a powerful catalyst for learning for a variety of reasons including:
• Increases the length of time that people are engaged with the program animals thereby lengthening the potential time period for learning and overall impact.
• Provides the opportunity to personalize the learning experience, tailoring the teaching session to what interests the visitors.
• Allows the visitors the opportunity to make specific inquiries about topics in which they were interested.
• Enhances the delivery of cognitive and empathetic messages.
• Increases affective learning and attitudinal change.
Retrieved from AZA website:

Species Survival Plan® Programs
The mission of an AZA Species Survival Plan® (SSP) Program is to manage and conserve a select and typically threatened or endangered, ex situ species population with the required cooperation of AZA-Accredited Zoos and Aquariums, Certified Related Facilities, and Approved Non-Member Participants.
SSP species are often "flagship species," well-known animals which arouse strong feelings in the public for the preservation and protection of the in situ population and their habitat, including the giant panda, California condor, and lowland gorilla. There are currently more than 115 AZA SSP Programs, each of which is responsible for developing a Master Plan that identifies population management goals and recommendations to ensure the sustainability of a healthy, genetically diverse, and demographically varied population.
The Lake Superior Zoo is home to several SSP or endangered animals. Although we are not currently part of the breeding program, we could be one in the future, if approved by AZA, which regulates the breeding of these animals.
Retrieved from AZA website:


Polar bear

White naped


Snow leopards Goeldi's monkey Cotton-top
Amur tiger

Building a green foundation:
New Tiger Deck and Tables
If you have been visiting the zoo for more than a year you may remember the concerning state of the old Tiger Deck. The concrete was crumbling and uneven, looked quite unattractive, and was eventually closed to visitors for safety purposes. Well, not anymore!

The Tiger Deck has received a make-over! The deck has been fitted with new tiles, a GreenGrid roofing system and picnic tables and umbrellas constructed from recycled materials. We are very proud of this improvement, not only because it looks great, but because it serves a purpose as well. The Tiger Deck and tables are helping us in our conservation efforts and are environmentally friendly.

The plants found on the Tiger Deck naturally transform heat and soil moisture into humidity, cooling the building directly below in warm weather. Conversely, in the famous cooler Duluth weather, the green roof provides added thermal mass to the building's roof to help keep the building warm. This simple feature is helping us save money on our heating and cooling efforts, as well as use less energy and non-renewable resources.

The new tables on the Tiger Deck are made from 100% polyethylene which is converted from recycled milk jugs. Each table keeps 2670 milk jugs out of landfills. We currently have six tables which means we reused 16,020 milk jugs! These jugs provide our guests with some sustainable seating which can be completely recycled several years from now.

Small Things Matter
There are several thoughtless tasks we all perform throughout the day that can become very wasteful if care is not taken. Here at the zoo we strive to make even the most simple of tasks more environmentally friendly.
These tasks include:
• Printing and copying on reused paper
• Turning off lights in offices whenever we walk out (no matter how long we plan to be gone)
• Using one paper towel to dry hands instead of two or more
• Using hand towels (cloth) in our break room rather than paper
• Access to a paper recycling bin within a few feet of workspaces to promote recycling instead of throwing away
• Fax machine always prints on reused paper
• Staff uses washable cups for water; not plastic bottles
• Recycling ink and toner cartridges
• Supporting local businesses to cut down on emissions caused by shipping of products
• The Safari café uses compostable/biodegradable dishes, napkins and utensils and composts and recycles waste
• When staff purchases food from the café we use washable plates/bowls/silverware
• The Tiger's Paw Gift Shop utilizes biodegradable bags and also offers a fair trade section highlighting crafts and gifts from globally sustainable organizations
• Organic or recycled fiber clothing is offered in the gift shop
• Turning off electronics (adding machines, fans...etc.) unless they are in current use
• The office supplies we order contain at least 30% post-consumer recycled content, when possible
• Packing materials are reused or brought to a recycling facility
• Outdated flyers and brochures are either recycled or cut up to be used as scratch paper