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PRESS & MEDIA

PRESS & MEDIA

John Ball Zoo is making an impact in our community

We’re always excited to have our community’s support! At John Ball Zoo, we’re proud to raise awareness for our mission via public press and media appearances.

Thank you so much to every media platform and news station who has helped us to educate the community on the importance of wildlife preservation, and to those who have helped us encourage schools and families to get involved.

If you’re interested in featuring John Ball Zoo in your next publication, or interviewing a member of our staff, please contact us and we will be sure to reach out to you as soon as we can. Thanks!

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Media contacts

Jacqueline WayneGuite

Communications Strategist
Byrum & Fisk Advocacy Communications

Sydney Smith

Communications Strategist
Byrum & Fisk Advocacy Communications
PRESS & MEDIA

Raising Awareness For Wildlife Preservation in the great lakes and beyond!

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John Ball Zoo hosting largest annual fundraiser June 14 

RendeZoo offers night of fun entertainment, fundraising for wildlife conservation  GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – John Ball Zoo’s largest annual fundraiser is back for a night of fun, community ...
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aquarium

Study shows John Ball Zoo aquarium should be located in Kent County

Aquarium project has potential $2.9-billion economic impact  GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A feasibility study conducted for John Ball Zoo’s potential aquarium showed the project should be located in ...
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John Ball Zoo monitoring regional turtle populations to aid in conservation

Great Lakes Rare Turtles Program finds key data on turtle ecology  GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – John Ball Zoo’s conservation team is monitoring spotted turtles to collect data ...
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Photo Policy
Media Requests

If you receive a media request or are approached by someone from the media regarding comments, interviews, or images you should direct them to the Director of Marketing & Sales who will work with them to capture needed content.

Press or media that arrives at the zoo without prior authorization may be asked to leave and escorted off zoo and park property.

On-site media access must have prior approval by the Director of Marketing & Sales. A marketing staff member will be assigned to each media request to schedule access dates, help with accessing areas of the zoo, assist with set up and tear down, and will monitor media guests during filming, photographs, or interviews.

  • Anyone is welcome to photograph or take videos on John Ball Zoo property (including zoo and picnic areas) for personal use.
  • Taking photos or video for commercial use including stock images or video, commercial products, marketing products, portraiture including engagement and graduation photos, or other commercial uses is prohibited. Written permission must be granted by the Director of Marketing & Sales. See the Professional & Commercial policy below for details.
  • Photographs or videos taken for non-commercial use must abide by the following guidelines: 
    • Guests may visit the zoo as a general guest and regular or special event pricing will apply.
    • Photos and videos cannot be sold or published.
    • No tripods or monopods are permitted in the zoo.
    • Selfie sticks may be used but cannot cross zoo barriers or impact guests.
    • Plugging into electrical outlets on John Ball Zoo property is strictly prohibited.
    • Stopping, impeding, or disrupting zoo traffic, guest, staff, volunteers, or animals is prohibited.
    • For animal safety and comfort, flash photography is prohibited in outdoor and indoor spaces.
    • No special assistance including staffing, carts, or security will be provided.
    • Parties not adhering to these guidelines may be asked to leave the premises.
    • Commercial and non-commercial photographs and videos taken at John Ball Zoo cannot depict John Ball Zoo in a negative light.
    • Photographs and videos should not have any association with organizations that are inconsistent with our mission, vision, and values such as hunting organizations, circuses that use exotic animals, fur manufacturers, etc.
    • John Ball Zoo reserves the right to refuse permission for commercial or noncommercial photo and video that is determined to not be in the best interest of the zoo or picnic areas, animals, staff, volunteers, or guests.
  • Prohibited Equipment
    • Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones)
    • Tripods and monopods
    • Lenses measuring 7 inches or more when zoomed out.
    • External flashes or flash systems
    • Continuous lights including hot light and LED lighting systems.
  • Any photography or video being captured for professional or commercial use on John Ball Zoo property must be scheduled with two-weeks prior notice with the Marketing team.
  • Commercial or professional photo or video requests must be made by emailing [email protected]. For weddings and party rentals please see the Wedding & Party Rentals policy below. 
  • Written permission must be granted by the Director of Marketing & Sales prior to scheduling photography or video shoots.
  • Requests will be accepted or denied based off the request’s alignment with John Ball Zoo’s mission, vision, and values. The Director of Marketing & Sales reserves the sole right to accept or deny any requests regardless of alignment with the zoo’s mission, vision, and values. 
  • Photographs or videos taken for professional or commercial use must abide by the following guidelines:
    • Requests must be made two-weeks prior to needed access.
    • Fees for zoo and picnic space use may apply.
    • Written permission must be granted by the Director of Marketing & Sales prior to access.
    • Photographers and videographers must have a written Photography Consent form signed by the Director of Marketing & Sales on them at all times in the Zoo or picnic areas. If asked by staff or volunteers, the photographer or videographer must provide the signed consent form.
    • All professional and commercial guests must check-in at the Guest Services building prior to entering the zoo and will be accompanied by a member of the Marketing team.
    • Plugging into electrical outlets on John Ball Zoo property is strictly prohibited without prior permission and supervision from John Ball Zoo facilities staff.
    • Stopping, impeding, or disrupting zoo traffic, guest, staff, volunteers, or animals is prohibited.
    • For animal safety and comfort, flash photography is prohibited in outdoor and indoor spaces without prior permission.
    • Special assistance including staffing, carts, or security may be provided upon request.
    • Parties not adhering to these guidelines may be asked to leave the premises.
    • Final photographs and videos must be submitted to the Marketing team before use. Approval must be granted before use.
    • Submissions of final work can be emailed to [email protected] or to a Marketing team representative.
    • Commercial and non-commercial photographs and videos taken at John Ball Zoo cannot depict John Ball Zoo in a negative light.
    • Photographs and videos should not have any association with organizations that are inconsistent with our mission, vision, and values such as hunting organizations, circuses that use exotic animals, fur manufacturers, etc.
    • John Ball Zoo reserves the right to refuse permission for commercial or noncommercial photo and video that is determined to not be in the best interest of the zoo or picnic areas, animals, staff, volunteers, or guests.
  • Equipment Needing Permission Before Use – approval must be granted by the Marketing and Animal Team departments. 
    • Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones)
    • External flashes or flash systems
    • Continuous lights including hot light and LED lighting systems.
    • Sound equipment or any devices emitting noise.
    • Fog and other haze-creating machines.
    • Lenses over 7 inches when zoomed out.
  • Wedding and event photographers are welcome to capture photographs or videos of paid and confirmed rental events.
  • Rental guests will not need prior permission to photograph or video events for personal use.
  • Hired professional wedding and event photographers will not need prior permission to photograph and video on John Ball Zoo property. They may use photographs and video captured on John Ball Zoo property for promotional use. 
  • John Ball Zoo reserves the right to request the removal of photographs or video captured at weddings or rental events that do not align with John Ball Zoo’s mission, vision, and values.
  • Prohibited Equipment – approval must be granted by the Marketing and Animal Team departments.
    • Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones)
    • External flashes or flash systems with/in animal areas of the zoo.
    • Sound equipment or any devices emitting noise within animal areas of the zoo.
    • Fog and other haze-creating machines within animal areas of the zoo.
  • John Ball Zoo staff, photographers, and videographers may photograph or video guests on John Ball Zoo property for educational or promotional use. Guest entry into John Ball Zoo grants the organization permission for use of this imagery.
  • John Ball Zoo staff and volunteers reserve the right approach photographers and videographers on John Ball Zoo property. If prior permission from the Marketing department has not been granted the party may be asked to return their equipment to their vehicle before enjoying the rest of their visit. Upon refusal, parties may be asked to leave the property or further action may be taken.
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Great Lakes Rare Turtles

Great Lakes Conservation
About

Turtles are in trouble around the world and locally. The Great Lakes Rare Turtle Program addresses on threats that are existential and widespread for Blanding’s, Spotted, Wood, and Box Turtles. The John Ball Zoo is working wth partners to study head starting as a conservation tool, protecting nesting habitat for Wood Turtles from raccoons, and researching the distribution and status of Spotted Turtles in Southwest Michigan. The zoo partners with local community scientists to indentify road crossings that pose a threat to Blanding’s and other species of turtles.

Partners

Poweshiek Skipperling

Oarisma powesheik

Facts
Habitat

Grassland, Wetlands (inland)

Threat Range

Critically Endangered

Region

Extant (resident) - Canada (Manitoba); United States (Wisconsin, Michigan), Possibly Extinct - United States (South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa), Extinct - United States (Indiana, Illinois)

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Mitchell's Satyr

Great Lakes Conservation
About

The prairie fens of southern Michigan are a stronghold for the Endangered Mitchell’s Satyr butterfly. We are working with Michigan State University, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Michigan Natural Features Inventory, and the Kalamazoo Nature Center to develp to propagate this rare butterfly. Offspring reared in the program may be used to supplement wild Mitchell’s Satyr populations.

Partners

Freshwater Mussels

Great Lakes Conservation
About

Freshwater Mussels are one of the most fastenating groups of animals. Unfortunately they are also one of the most imperiled groups on animals with more than 70% of North American species listed as Threatened or Endangered. Our own Grand River is home to an impressive 32 different species, 19 of which are listed. The John Ball Zoo is working with scientists at Grand Valley State University to evaluate Grand River Mussel populations. During the 2023 field season, the team documented over 1,000 individuals from 27 different species. This includes the Endangered Snuffbox Mussel.

Partners

Habitat Hero

Community Science
About

The Habitat Hero program is focused on creating better urban pollinator habitat by giving away native plants to west Michigan community members. By giving away native trees, shrubs and wildflowers, we are inviting community members to provide crucial nectar sources for pollinators as well as become more involved in pollinator conservation in their own yards and gardens.

Partners

Kestrel Nest Box Monitoring

Community Science
About

American Kestrels are one of North America’s most abundant raptors, but their populations have been steadily declining since the mid 1960’s. This year we have begun participating in the American Kestrel Partnership, run by the Peregrine Fund, to monitor local kestrel nest boxes and help better understand Kestrel population trends and biology.

Partners

Grand River Sucker Monitoring

Community Science
About

Suckers are a very important, and often overlooked, group of migratory fish that inhabit the Grand River. Every spring they migrate upriver from Lake Michigan to spawn in tributaries of the Grand River. We are joining a project started by the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago to determine how changes in temperature and flow of the streams impact the spawning behavior of the suckers.

Partners

Turtle Road Mortality Surveys

Community Science
About

One of the major threats to turtle populations is mortality associated with roads and vehicles. We have a team of trained volunteers who survey predetermined road crossing sites and report the number of turtles they find at these locations. We plan to use the data to assist in conservation decision-making regarding roads and turtles in west Michigan.

Partners

Michigan Butterfly Network

Community Science
About

As part of our pollinator conservation work, we want to understand how native butterfly populations are changing over time. By training community members to use the Michigan Butterfly Network monitoring protocol, we are offering passionate people the opportunity to help contribute to our understanding of butterfly populations in west Michigan.

Partners

Bat Surveys

Community Science
About

West Michigan is home to several species of rare and threatened species of bats. This summer we will have a group of volunteers collecting bat occurrence data by driving predetermined routes and using special recorders and software to identify bat species. The data will be submitted to the North American Bat Monitoring Project as part of their ongoing analysis of bat abundance and occupancy across North America.

Partners

Massasauga Rattlesnake

Great Lakes Conservation
About

The Massasauga is Michigan’s only venomous snake and plays an important role in the ecosystem. Unfortunately, these snakes are declining in numbers and are listed as Threatened. The John Ball Zoo helps to educate the public on the plight of the Massasauga and helps conservation biologists study them in the field. Currently, we are assisting Pierce Cedar Creek Institute, Grand Valley State University, and Sarett Nature Center develop new technologies to monitor this secretive snake species.

Partners

City Nature Challenge

Community Science
About

The City Nature Challenge is one of the world’s largest annual community science events. Started by iNaturalist in 2016 as a friendly competition between the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco, this bioblitz has grown into a global phenomenon with over 500 cities participating. Taking place over the last weekend in April each year, the City Nature Challenge is all about getting outside and documenting the biodiversity in and around our communities while building and strengthening relationships with other people who are passionate about conserving local species. The West Michigan City Nature Challenge is Michigan’s only City Nature Challenge event, and encompasses Allegan, Barry, Kent and Ottawa Counties. We are excited to partner with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and many other local organizations to engage our communities in four days of exploring our biodiverse outdoor spaces.

Partners

Michigan Area

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Freshwater Mussels

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Habitat Hero

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Kestrel Nest Box Monitoring

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Grand River Sucker Monitoring

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Turtle Road Mortality Surveys

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Michigan Butterfly Network

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Bat Surveys

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Massasauga Rattlesnake

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City Nature Challenge

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Get Involved!