Conservation is a key component of Cosley Zoo's mission. We demonstrate our commitment to conservation on a daily basis by participating in environmentally friendly practices such as recycling, composting food scraps, repurposing materials rather than buying new ones, and installing energy-efficient lighting. We also participate in several large scale conservation initiatives.

Blanding's Turtle Head Start Program

Cosley Zoo is proud to partner with the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, as well as the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Brookfield Zoo, and St. Charles Park District, in this program which works to help increase the wild population of Blanding's Turtles (Emydoidea blandingii) in Illinois.

Blanding's Turtles are medium-sized water turtles whose distribution is concentrated around the Great Lakes. Their population has been declining in recent years due to the loss of available wetland habitat. In addition, increased pressure from predators has caused a decrease in the number of turtles surviving to sexual maturity (15-20 years of age). In 2010, Blanding's Turtles were added to the endangered species list in Illinois.

The Head Start program aims to increase the number of Blanding's Turtles surviving long enough to reproduce. The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County collects gravid (pregnant) turtles from the wild and houses them until they lay their eggs. After the eggs hatch and the young turtles are off to a good start, they are raised by Cosley Zoo staff until they are two years of age. The turtles are reared at an accelerated rate, so that when they are released back into a DuPage County wetland, the two-year-olds are each roughly the size of a naturally-reared five-year-old turtle, and should be less vulnerable to predators. The young Blanding's Turtles are not on display at the zoo in order to minimize their exposure to humans, but we do have an exhibit containing adult Blanding's Turtles which can be viewed by the public.

Links to more information on Blanding's Turtles:

Zoo & Aquarium Partnership for the Great Lakes

Zoo Director Susan Wahlgren serves on the steering committee of this organization, which consists of 32 zoos and aquariums working together to promote preservation, protection, and restoration of the Great Lakes, and the animals and plants that depend on them.

The group recently launched a website titled My Water Footprint where visitors can calculate the effect their activities have on the world's water supply, and make a pledge to help with water conservation on a personal level. To visit this website, please click here.

Party for the Planet

Cosley Zoo hosts this annual event each April along with more than 100 other zoos and aquariums throughout the country. This is the largest combined Earth Day event in North America! Party for the Planet features conservation-focused activities for families and promotes ideas for establishing "green" practices in our visitors own homes. Check our Events page in the spring for more information about Party for the Planet.

FrogWatch USA™

FrogWatch Cosley Zoo is a local chapter of FrogWatch USA™, AZA’s flagship citizen science program that invites individuals and families to learn about the wetlands in their communities and help conserve amphibians by reporting the calls of local frogs and toads.

FrogWatch USA™ volunteers play an important role in amphibian conservation. Over 2000 amphibian species are currently threatened with extinction and many more are experiencing sharp population declines. This alarming trend may be a sign of deteriorating wetland health because amphibians can serve as indicator species.

You do not have to be a frog or toad expert to be a FrogWatch USA™ volunteer!  All you need is:

2014 Training Dates for FrogWatch Cosley Zoo

When: Saturday, March 29, 2014; 10A-Noon or Thursday, April 24, 2014; 6:30-8:30P
Where: Training will be held at Cosley Zoo
Fee: $7/person; $20/household (or group)*

*One person per household or group must attend training but all are encouraged to attend.

Email to RSVP or for more information.


To learn more about amphibian conservation and FrogWatch USA™ click here.

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Blanding's Buddy

Cosley Zoo participates in several conservation initiatives on an on-going basis, including a program to save the Blanding's Turtle.

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