Conservation 2017-01-25T22:01:55+00:00


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, re-purposing materials rather than buying new ones, and installing energy-efficient lighting. We also participate in several large-scale conservation initiatives.

Coins for Conservation Kiosk

AZA SAFE LogoCosley Zoo’s conservation efforts don’t stop at our own five shady acres.

As one of the 233 accredited facilities of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), Cosley Zoo contributes to AZA SAFE (Saving Animals from Extinction), an initiative that’s part of AZA’s 2,700-plus field conservation projects in over 115 countries.

CZ Coins for Conservation Kiosk
AZA SAFE focuses on ten endangered species, and starting August 17, 2016, you can donate directly to three of them at the Coins for Conservation kiosk just past the zoo’s entrance.

Support the cheetah, whooping crane, and vaquita, and help save a local species, too: the Blanding’s Turtle. Your donations go to work across the globe and right here in DuPage County.

Turn that change in your pocket into change in the world!

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 semi-aquatic 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 2009, Blanding’s Turtles were added to the endangered species list in Illinois.


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

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, some of them 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, as well as a live video feed of the turtle rearing area.

Links to more information on Blanding’s Turtles:

  • Cosley Zoo relies heavily on donations for the Head Start Program. You can help by becoming a “Blanding’s Buddy” and donating money towards the care of the Blanding’s Turtles. Click here for more information about the Blanding’s Buddy program.
  • Read articles from TribLocal on the Blanding’s Turtle Head Start Program:
  • Click here for a fun activity sheet with more information on Blanding’s Turtles.

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 backyards. Check our Events page in the spring for more information about Party for the Planet.


FrogWatch USA™

Do you have an interest in Frogs and Toads? Become a FrogWatch USA Volunteer!

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

  • An interest in frogs and toads
  • A willingness to participate in a volunteer training session at Cosley Zoo, your local FrogWatch USA Chapter
  • A commitment to monitor a wetland site for 3 minutes multiple evenings throughout the breeding season (February-August).

2017 Training Dates for FrogWatch at Cosley Zoo

Friday, March 24, 6-8 PM or Sunday, April 30, 3-5 PM
Fee: $7/person; $20/household (or group)*
*One person per household or group must attend training but all are encouraged to attend.

Email for more information.

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.

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

Great Backyard Bird Count

Each February, we train our Junior Zookeepers in backyard bird identification and encourage them to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count ( Participation is quick and simple, requiring individuals to monitor bird populations anywhere in the world, including their own backyards, for a minimum of 15 minutes, and then submit the results online. This data provides scientists with valuable information about wild bird populations. The next Great Backyard Bird Count is February 17-20, 2017.

Cosley Zoo also offers a training session for individuals and families who would like to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count. The 2017 training session is Saturday, February 11th from 2-4 PM. It is best for families with children ages 8 years and older, but all ages are welcome. The training fee is $7/person or $20/household or group. For more information or to register, please contact Natasha at