Conservation Partners

Conservation is a core mission for the Virginia Zoo, but we can’t do it alone! We work with a number of conservation organizations at home and abroad to help preserve and restore natural habitats for animals, and ourselves.

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The Zoo has been recognized as a Virginia Green attraction by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).  Conservation is an important part of the Zoo’s mission. Protecting wild animals and the wild spaces where they live is an urgent concern.  Many incredible animals and natural resources are threatened because of habitat destruction. It takes the commitment of the entire Zoo staff to initiate and maintain daily green actions, but everyone from animal keepers to office staff is dedicated to this goal.

Virginia Green is the statewide program that works to reduce the environmental impact of Virginia’s tourism industry. It is run as a partnership between DEQ, the Virginia Tourism Corporation and the Virginia Hospitality and Tourism Association. To qualify, Zoo staff submitted an application outlining the Zoo’s green actions and commitment to the environment.

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The Elizabeth River Project has called the Virginia Zoo one of the “best of the best.” The ERP’s Model Level recognition is given to facilities that lead the community in environmental stewardship through exceptional results in pollution prevention and wildlife habitat protection as well as efforts to mentor others.

The Zoo was recognized for its extensive project to reclaim the wetlands that border the Zoo’s Lafayette River shoreline, its oyster habitat restoration, and environmental exhibits, including an Eco-Garden. At the end of the Zoo’s parking lot, visitors can see a dramatic transformation, where Zoo staff and volunteers, in partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, removed rubble and invasive plants and restored a healthy wetland. The area was revitalized with 9,000 native plants and grasses. An oyster reef helps stabilize the shore and other features include an osprey platform, a permeable walkway that soaks runoff and educational signage.

Two new gardens showcase how a rain garden can filter run-off and also feature a model green roof (on a dog house!), rain barrels for irrigation and solar-powered fountains.  A children’s rain garden also features fun re-use of “trash” including the transformation of old tires into colorful planters, bowling balls into ladybugs and old industrial spools into stepping stones.


In January 2010, the Virginia Zoo become a sponsor of NuRide, a program that encourages people to commute greener by car pooling, biking, walking, telecommuting and taking public transportation.  People earn points for their green actions, which are redeemed for prizes – such as admission to the Virginia Zoo.

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Recycling Perks strives to improve household recycling efforts and community service by its residents. It is our objective to reduce waste, promote local economic growth and preserve natural resources for our future. We partner with recycling companies, municipalities and local businesses to achieve our goal of saving cities revenue, increasing customer traffic for local businesses and helping recycling companies provide the best possible service to their customers.

  • Activate your free and private account to earn points for recycling
  • The more you recycle, the more points you will earn
  • Redeem points for rewards are offered by local businesses