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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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PRESS & MEDIA

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

USGBC West Michigan announced John Ball Zoo Meerkat Habitat as Certified Green Building Award Winner

The U.S. Green Building Council of West Michigan (USGBC-WM) announced Meerkat Habitat at John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids, MI, as the Certified Green Building Award Sustainable Sites winner. The Certified Green Building Awards recognize exemplary building projects that received high-performance certifications.

The John Ball zoo continues to inspire with its sustainability efforts and awards

Grand Rapids’ John Ball Zoo was awarded the West Michigan Sustainable Business of the Year by the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum. Along with this award, the zoo was also awarded the West Michigan Clean Water Leadership Award, according to The West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum (WMSBF).

John Ball Zoo exec, Allmon Forrester, wins national Conservation Member of the Year award

A John Ball Zoo executive has been recognized by his peers with a national award. Allmon Forrester, the zoo’s director of facilities, planning and sustainability, was given the Conservation Member of the Year award by the Aquarium & Zoo Facilities Association at its annual conference in Washington, D.C.

John Ball Zoo First Zoo in World to Receive SITES Gold Certification for Sustainability

John Ball Zoo’s meerkat exhibit is awarded SITES Gold certification under the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) rating system. SITES is the most comprehensive program recognizing sustainable landscapes for their exceptional planning, design, construction, and maintenance.

John Ball Zoo Awarded MCACA Grants for Habitat Improvements, and Diversity and Inclusion Program

John Ball Zoo has announced they have again been named as a recipient of two grants from The Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA). These grants, announced on October 15th, were awarded to 470 organizations including arts and history centers, performance arts, and cultural institutions for arts and culture projects in Michigan.

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John Ball Zoo taking the first step toward bringing a world-class aquarium to West Michigan

John Ball Zoo officials have commissioned a feasibility study examining potential locations in Kent and Muskegon Counties for a large-scale aquarium featuring more than one million gallons of fresh and salt water exhibits. The layout featuring floor to ceiling viewing walls. A space where visitors pass through tunnels exploring a shark tank and living coral reef complete with Jellyfish.

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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!