Current Needs


The NC Zoo Society and the North Carolina Zoological Park have as their mission to create exciting experiences to engage, inspire and empower children and adults by: connecting people with nature, encouraging individual discovery, sharing new ideas and new ways of thinking, changing behavior and attitudes, increasing knowledge and skills, encouraging creative solutions, exciting children and adults to care about nature and making us all better stewards of the Earth. Your gift  for education needs will help educate and inspire the next generation of decision-makers and stewards of our earth.

kidzone programs: kidzone is a special place where children can explore the natural world in their own unique way. kidzone is a place that encourages children’s natural curiosity about the world around them in tactile, cerebral and physical ways. kidzone’s daily programs invite children to discover plants, animals, and butterflies in a close-up setting. Education staff and volunteers facilitate play experiences that foster a love of nature.
Children create animal art, hear about the ecosystem and learn about ways in which they can participate in conservation efforts and preservation of species. Activities include nature treks, story-telling, water play, fort building, wildlife art, making mud pies, chalk drawing and dramatic play using costumes and animal props. 

Imaginations are allowed to run free (just like the animals living in our natural habitat settings at the zoo). Kids are allowed to engage in what they do best – play, dream, be inquisitive and just have some good old-fashioned fun! A growing body of research has demonstrated that children who engage in this type of play and build connections to the natural world are healthier, learn better, and are developmentally better prepared for the world around them. Located within kidzone is the RTI International Training and Research Center for Children and Nature.
Field Trip Earth:
This innovative, award-winning website, launched in 2002, is a conservation education website designed to serve K-12 classrooms. Curriculum tied to Field Trip Earth was developed by North Carolina teachers and meets all the requirements of the North Carolina Course of Study. Today the website serves classrooms in all 50 states and in more than 140 countries worldwide.

FTE focuses on wildlife researchers and their work in the field. More than 100 authors contribute articles, photos, videos and a variety of other resources to tell their stories of working on various research projects around the world. These “field trips” include elephant research in Cameroon, red wolf recovery in northeastern North Carolina, peregrine falcon reintroduction in Minnesota, Mexican wolf recovery in New Mexico and Arizona, and many other programs.
Each of the site’s “field trips” provides learners from around the world the opportunity to interact with wildlife researchers and other conservation experts. Students can read researchers’ field diary entries, direct questions to the researchers and read their responses, listen to recorded satellite telephone calls and other communications, see video taken in the field, and discuss conservation issues. Professional development available for North Carolina teachers focuses on integrating Field Trip Earth across the curriculum.
In 2009, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) named Field Trip Earth ( a “Landmark Website for Education”, a distinction it shares with twenty other sites including GoogleEarth, the Smithsonian, the Library of Congress, and NASA.

Keepers in the Classroom: This program’s primary goal, to educate and inspire, is accomplished by using our greatest asset, the zookeeper, in classroom-based presentations. Each presentation has specific learning outcomes, which are teacher driven and correspond to North Carolina’s mandated course of study.
Classrooms are encouraged to also do a hands-on environmental project that benefits the school. These projects include a range of activities to improve the school environment (organic gardens, bird sanctuaries, butterfly attraction gardens, hiking trails) to education projects (sponsoring a field day with hands-on environmental activities like paper making, sponsoring a community education project on an environmental issue, or an environmental fair). Our education staff can help teachers to formulate their plans for the hands-on activities and provide some consultation for the projects. 

Smart Carts: Smart Carts are small, hands-on learning stations set up throughout the Zoo that allow our guests to interact with biofacts (animal artifacts, either real or replicas) and talk with an Exhibit Interpreter – a trained volunteer or Education Staff member – to discover more about the animals of the Park. These stations play a vital role in engaging many of the nearly 750,000 visitors to the Zoo each year. We know guests want to have an opportunity to talk with, and ask questions of, staff at the Zoo.  Smart Carts offer this opportunity for a personal interaction while providing a platform for staff to talk about the Zoo’s animal collection and conservation efforts in which we are involved.


Support any of these programs and you will improve the lives of animals living here, at the Zoo, or in the wild. Your gift will underwrite programs that protect animals and enhance their well-being. In all cases, these programs receive little or no funding from the State of North Carolina. These good works depend entirely on the generosity of people like you to continue. Thank you for helping the Zoo's staff carry out their most important work—to protect life on Earth.

Animal and Zoo Enrichment: Make a Zoo animal's life more interesting and rewarding by supporting the Zoo's animal enrichment programs. These programs are critical to the animals' overall well-being.

Support Zoo Efforts to Care for Injured Wildlife: Help injured and orphaned native wildlife by supporting The Valerie H. Schindler Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. Your donation helps provide food, medicine and veterinary services to the 800 or more injured, orphaned and sick native animals that arrive at the Center every year.

Cross River Gorillas: Help the NC Zoo save the world's rarest and least understood ape—the Cross River Gorilla. Only about 250 of these gorillas remain, and the Zoo's own Dr. Rich Bergl is working with other scientists to bring them back from the brink.

Saving Wild Elephants: Support the Zoo's work in Cameroon, where our research team is saving the lives of elephants every day! In some places, the program has caused a 90 percent drop in the number of elephants killed in conflicts with people.

Working Dogs for Conservation: In a new twist on conservation, the NC Zoo plans to send two doggie helpmates to Cameroon in search of Cross River Gorillas—Africa's rarest ape. The dogs will sniff out gorilla droppings that researchers can mine for DNA and use to identify and count the remaining members of this elusive species. The genetic information will also flag each gorilla's sex, reproductive status and family connections, so that researchers can tailor their conservation efforts to the demographics of the remaining group.
Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park: The NC Zoo Society is a key sponsor of Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park, a leading conservator and breeder of rare and endangered waterfowl species. This Park exhibits the world’s largest collections of waterfowl species and supports a world-renowned captive breeding facility for rare and endangered ducks, geese and swans.

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