Earth Day

Earth Day at Zoo Knoxville Presented by Kroger will take place on Saturday, April 23rd from 10 AM – 2 PM.

The day will be filled with conservation conversations with our animal keepers. Each conversation will be paired with a conservation focused kid friendly educational activity.

Also! Help support the Gorilla on the Line initiative. Recycle your old electronic devices. Our recycling partner for the project (ECO-CELL) will accept cell phones, smart phones, iPads, iPods, tablets, Apple watches, adapters, chargers, mp3 players, handheld gaming systems and their accessories for recycling. Devices can be in any condition. They can drop them at the ranger station bin or the kiosk in front of the gorilla courtyard.

Time Location Conservation Topic
10:00 Otter Creek Water & Plastic
10:30 Black Bear Falls Being Bear Smart
11:00 Gibbon Treehouse Photo-tourism
11:30 Kid’s Cove Beehives Pollination
12:00 Elephants Human-Animal Conflict
1:00 ARC Wetlands Water Pollution
1:30 Giraffe Viewing Deck Habitat Needs
2:00 Ray Family Gorilla Valley Cell Phones


Earth Day Conservation Chats

10:00 AM: Meet Zoo Knoxville’s elite task force, the Otter Squad, who are on a mission to save our waterways! Learn how otters were brought back from extinction in East Tennessee and one very simple thing you can do to support their mission to protect otter habitat.

10:30 AM: In East Tennessee, it’s not uncommon to cross paths with wild bears, but humans can unknowingly put them in peril. Learn form our bear experts how to coexist with one of our most iconic animals.

11:00 AM: Be a “photo-tourist” and take a selfie with Zoo Knoxville’s larger-than-life tiger and gibbon puppets!

11:30 AM: Take action for bees in this hands-on activity making seed bombs to spread plants to supply food for pollinators in our own yards or overgrown ditches, fields and lots.  Bonus that these flowers also beautify!

12:00 PM: Did you know there are things you can do to help save endangered animals AT THE GROCERY STORE? Making an impact is super simple when you know these tips. Our elephant care team is going to tell you how.

1:00 PM: You might be surprised at the things you can recycle that benefit clean water and protect our wetlands. Find out how you can recycle an automotive essential to be a hero for clean water.

1:30 PM: Bugs need love, ya’ll. And you can show them you care simply by being part of the native plant rescue squad! By making some thoughtful choices when you plant your spring garden, you can help some of the most vulnerable animals on Earth.

2:00 PM: Hold the phone! Did you know mobile phones are one of the biggest threats to wild gorillas? There is a simple and impactful way you can help protect their habitats right here in East Tennessee and it starts with cleaning out that junk drawer of unused electronics.

Gorillas on the Line

Smartphones, computers and other small electronics rely on a metallic ore called coltan to keep them powered up and working. Coltan is also used to make electric cars, medical equipment and other electronic devices more energy efficient. There is no substitute for coltan, which is prized for its ability to withstand extreme temperatures and to hold and move electrical signals.

But one of the few place on earth where coltan is found is in the forest of the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is also the only home of the critically endangered Grauer’s gorilla. The majority of coltan mining is illegal and controlled by rebel groups; mining has greatly contributed to the devastation of both human and wildlife populations in the region. To feed the miners, wildlife is hunted, including iconic species like Grauer’s gorillas, chimpanzees and elephants. As a result, the Grauer’s population has declined by an estimated almost 80% over the last two decades—that means four out of every five Grauer’s gorillas remaining on the planet has been killed.

The good news is that coltan is recyclable. You can help reduce the pressures on the forest where these endangered gorillas live simply by recycling your old electronics in a responsible way. After using your smartphone and other electronic devices as long as you can, drop them off at your local participating zoo.

In honor of World Gorilla Day, look around your house for old electronics, and ask friends and family to do the same. Any devices can be recycled—no matter how old they are. Gorillas need your help. Answer the call today.