Messages at the Zoo

Dear Liza,

I love that our zoo here in Portland works hard to care for the animals and make sure they are happy. I also love that they want to educate folks to the need for responsible action.

Daisy the recycled Polar Bear

This past visit, we were met by Daisy the Polar Bear just as we entered. From a distance, she seemed soft, almost fluffy. When we got closer, however, we saw that she was made from plastic trash.

Plastic lighters, medicine bottles, and cooler lids, washed up onto beaches and collected by volunteers and sorted by color, were used to make Daisy. She is one of a collection of sculptures called “Washed Ashore” and designed to raise awareness of the hazards of littering and pollution.

The zoo is currently making a huge new habitat for Polar Bears, with a larger pool, indoor and outdoor exercise areas, and lots of ways for people to learn about these wonderful bears. Climate change seems to be ruining their wild homes, but our zoo wants to make them a safe haven. I like that.

There are also non-language signs that make it clear that people need to be careful of their behavior at the zoo. Items that end up in enclosures can be eaten by the animals and make them sick. I overheard several moms explaining this to their child, and I was pleased that both seemed to realize their responsibility.

Love,

Grandma Judy