Make an Impact

Explore ways that you can help conserve wildlife and wild places in your everyday life.

Gorillas on the Line

What do gorillas and cell phones have in common? One of the major problems threatening gorillas with extinction is mining in critical gorilla habitat for a metallic ore called coltan. Coltan is used in smartphones, computers, and other small electronics to keep them powered up and working.

Riverbanks, along with many other facilities accredited by Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), participates in the Gorillas on the Line campaign in partnership with Eco-Cell. Donated small electronics are sent to Eco-cell where coltan is removed and recycled to be reused in new electronics. Eco-cell then donates to the Diana Fossey Gorilla Fund and Wildlife Conservation Society to support active gorilla conservation efforts.

YOU CAN recycle old cell phones and small electronics at Riverbanks’ Gorilla Base Camp or inside Guest Relations.

Sip Sustainably

Most single-use plastics like grocery bags, straws, soda bottles, and to-go cups end up in landfills and waterways. Plastic doesn’t biodegrade, but it can break down into microscopic plastic particles, which build up in the environment and in animals, including humans.

Riverbanks has eliminated many single-use plastics on our campus, and we provide our guests with alternatives during their visit.

YOU CAN skip the plastic straw by going without, choosing a reusable option or pick a biodegradable straw like Strawfish®, which we offer at Riverbanks. You can do the same with shopping bags, water bottles and a variety of other products.

Choose Bird-Friendly Coffee

Did you know that your morning cup of joe has a powerful impact on birds? Coffee plantations are increasingly switching from “shade-grown” to “sun-grown,” which cuts down the forest and removes critical habitat for birds, many of which spend their summers in the United States.

With help from North American Songbird SAFE (saving animals from extinction) partners, Riverbanks has prioritized serving our guests with Bird Friendly® coffee at our concessions, retail store and catered events. The Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center gold-standard for Bird Friendly® coffee ensures a mix of foliage cover, tree height, and biodiversity to support quality habitat for birds and other wildlife.

YOU CAN purchase a bag of Bird Friendly® Birds & Beans coffee at the Riverbanks gift shop and support wildlife in your everyday lives. If you can’t buy your coffee at Riverbanks, be an informed consumer and select growers and roasters that consider wildlife as they create your morning caffeine.

Keep Learning

Everyone can have a positive impact on our planet. It starts with small everyday actions that you can sustain.

At Riverbanks, we are constantly learning new ways we can reduce our resource use, identifying new green products, mitigating the impact of the built environment on local wildlife and training our staff. We’re on our own journey and constant curiosity is at the foundation.

YOU CAN look for additional inspiration on everyday actions you can take to positively impact the planet through some of our previous member magazine articles:

  • March/April 2022 Feature article “22 Actions to Take for the Earth on Earth Day”
  • May/June 2023 Feature article “5 Ways to Celebrate World Ocean’s Day Every Day”