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The Milwaukee County Zoo &
Polar Bears International

Male polar bear peering up
Polar bear next to the tundra buggy


The Milwaukee County Zoo, in conjunction with Polar Bears International (PBI), is actively involved in outreach programs and conservation efforts to help the threatened polar bear. Climate change, industrial encroachment of the environment, sea ice loss and global warming all adversely affect and threaten the polar bear’s natural habitat. Most scientists believe polar bears will disappear in the wild without positive environmental changes.

Our Zoo has three dedicated Arctic Ambassador’s, who in collaboration with PBI, lead outreach programs and conservation efforts to help protect the polar bears and their natural environment; Our Arctic Ambassador’s include Kara DeLanty, Small Mammals zookeeper, Milwaukee County Zoo; Amanda Ista, Big Cat area zookeeper, Milwaukee County Zoo; MaryLynn Conter-Strack, enrichment program coordinator, Zoological Society of Milwaukee.

Our previous and ongoing efforts include:

  • Yearly PBI leadership camps in Churchill, Manitoba – Attendees learn about polar bears, climate change and what can be done to safeguard the polar bear’s natural Artic habitat.
  • Acres for the Atmosphere program – Organized tree planting and educational outreach during Zoo special events including Party for the Planet day. Zoo visitors plant trees and they are educated about global warming and tree planting benefits.
  • Trees for You and Me program – National fundraising competition among American Association of Zookeepers’ chapters. Funds raised are used to plant more trees. For each $1.00 donated, three trees are planted in one of our nation’s forests. The Milwaukee County Zoo proudly won the 2012 competition.
  • Polar Bears International Recycling BinsCycle for Change – 113-mile bike ride between the Brookfield Zoo, Chicago, and our Zoo to raise awareness about polar bears.
  • No Idle Zone program – New program under development that will encourage school bus drivers to turn off engines while waiting for school children to return from field trips.
  • Zoo fundraising campaign that helped raise awareness and money for seven new recycling bins. The bins, created from recycled plastic drums by Sparta Wisconsin teens, were designed to look like polar bears and each had its own set of graphics detailing recycling facts. The bins were entered in PBI’s Project Polar Bear Contest.

One tree can absorb more than one ton of carbon over its lifetime. Planting trees helps reduce our global footprint. As trees grow, they help stop global warming through the natural process of photosynthesis, by removing carbon dioxide from the air, storing carbon in the trees and soil, and releasing pure oxygen into the atmosphere. Trees also provide other benefits such as cooling shade, wind blocks, bird and wildlife habitats, air purification and erosion prevention.

To donate, click here. Check the box Trees for You & Me and select Milwaukee County Zoo AAZK Chapter, from the dropdown menu.