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Fort Wayne Children's Zoo's new Kids4Nature project lets visitors direct money among conservation projects

Wednesday, May 1, 2013 - 12:38 pm

You can help the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo decide how to allocate half of the $50,000 in donations it will make this year to conservation projects locally and around the world.

The donation total is based on the zoo giving 10 cents for each of the 500,000 people who visit it during a typical season, a zoo news release said.

Zoo guests of all ages can stop by a Kids4Nature kiosk near the lion drinking fountain in the Central Zoo, where they can learn more about three conservation projects the zoo plans to assist this year:

*Saving Javan gibbons in Indonesia

*Protecting sandhill crane habitat and food sources in Indiana

*Preserving the wild lion population in Africa

Zoo guests then can use a recycled metal washer, which represents their 10 cents, to vote for their favorite project by dropping the washer in a spiral wishing well, the news release said.

People also can cast more votes using quarters, nickels and dimes, with 100 percent of the coins going to that conservation project.

The “votes” will be counted, and $25,000 will be divided among the three Kids4Nature projects based on the vote totals, the news release said. The zoo also will donate at additional $25,000 to about 20 other local and international conservation organizations.

“Conservation is a big part of what we do at the zoo,” Zoo Director Jim Anderson said in the announcement. “We're excited to give our guests a chance to participate in our efforts.”

The zoo is self-supporting, so the donated funds would not involve any tax dollars, the news release said.

The zoo, which is located at 3411 Sherman Blvd. in Franke Park, is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily now through Oct. 13. Admission is $13.50 for adults; $10.50 for ages 60 and older, $8.50 for ages 2-14; and free for ages 1 and younger and Zoo Society members.

For more information, call 427-6800 or go to www.kidszoo.org.