Do Your Part

With constant news reports about pollution, global warming, destruction of wildlife habitat, the extinction of species, and more, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and at a loss as to how to make a difference. Not to worry! There are many ways you can initiate change and make a difference in our world, and some are as easy as flicking off a light switch.

Please click on the topics below to learn more about how you can do your part.

Make a contribution

Please consider directly supporting the Zoo's conservation efforts by making a contribution to our current conservation projects. You can make a donation online or mail to:
Santa Barbara Zoo
Attn: Conservation Donation
500 Niños Drive
Santa Barbara, CA 93103

For more information, please call (805) 962-5339 or email your inquiry.

Volunteer for environmental organizations

New! Condor Nest Guarding: view flyer

Check your phone book or do an internet search for 'environmental your city' to discover organizations in your area that are dedicated to helping the environment. Some local groups include: 

Community Environmental Council 
Green Difference 
Project Clean Water 
Concerned Resource Environmental Workers 
Santa Barbara Audubon Society 
Santa Barbara Channelkeeper 
Urban Creeks Council

Everyday Tips

Below is a list of easy things you can do every day!


  • Participate in community curbside recycling programs.
  • Buy recycled/recyclable products.
  • Take recyclables to recycling facilities (recycling facilities take more items than curbside programs).


  • Ride your bike or walk to work.
  • Use mass transit (bus or train) to travel to work.
  • If possible, carpool to work.
  • Combine multiple errands into one trip to reduce your amount of driving.
  • Keep you car well-maintained.
  • Consider purchasing smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicle.
  • Consider purchasing hybrid fuel vehicle.


  • Recycle office paper. Encourage your employer to start a recycling program if one is not currently available.
  • Turn off computer at the end of the day to save electricity.
  • Turn off lights when leaving office.

At Home

Water conservation inside your home

  • Turn off the water when brushing your teeth
  • Turn off the water when washing your hands
  • Limit your shower to five minutes. (To really save water, you can turn off the water in your shower while you soap up and then turn it back on to rinse off!)
  • If you do not already have a water efficient toilet, you can place a glass jar filled with water in the tank of your toilet. Now, every time you flush, you save an amount of water equal to that in the jar. Pickle and salsa jars work well.
  • Run the dishwasher only when you have a full load.
  • Use the washing machine only when you have a full load.
Water conservation outside your home
  • Water your garden, trees or lawn, in the evening when temperatures are cooler and evaporation rates are lower*. Watering in the evening will help reduce water loss to evaporation.
  • Mulch flower beds and around the base of trees to help hold moisture for plants.
  • Aerate your lawn to help increase water absorption by the soil.
  • Set your mower to the highest setting when cutting your grass; this will leave the grass longer, which provided more shade for the soil and helps retain moisture.

*Before watering your garden, trees, or lawn, check with your city or county for local watering restrictions.

Energy Conservation

  • Turn off the lights when you leave the room.
  • Use cold water when washing clothes: this conserves natural gas used by your water heater.
  • Turn down the thermostat before going to bed.
  • Turn down the thermostat when leaving on a trip.
  • Consider installing solar panels on your house.
  • During the summer, open the windows in the evening to help cool the house and reduce the need for air conditioning.
  • Plant trees around the house to provide shade, after several years, for the house and help to keep the house cool during the summer.**

** Check with your local nursery to see which trees they recommend planting. If possible, plant native species.

Recycle Your Old Cell Phone

Santa Barbara Zoo and The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International are working together with a company called Eco-Cell to recycle cell phones, help the environment and raise money for gorilla conservation.

Many of us have one or more old cell phones stuck in drawers or closets just waiting for a place to go. You don't want to throw them in the trash because you've heard its bad for the environment. Well, we have a solution for you!

Bring in or mail your old cell phones to the Zoo. Cell phones brought to the Zoo can be recycled in the special containers at the front gate. Cell phones mailed to the Zoo should be labeled Cell Phone Recycling Program, Santa Barbara Zoo, 500 Niños Drive, Santa Barbara, CA 93103. ANY kind of cell phone will be accepted - even the big, heavy ones that were popular 10 years ago and wouldn't come close to fitting in your pocket now. For each cell phone received, a donation will be made to The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, the Santa Barbara Zoo's partner for gorilla conservation.

Why Should I Recycle My Phone?
Cell phones and other electronics contain a number of hazardous substances that can have a serious impact on the environment. Donating your phone to the Zoo and having it recycled by Eco-Cell will ensure that it will be reused or properly recycled.

Cell phones also have had a direct effect on wild populations of gorillas. A critical component of cell phones and other small electronics is a substance called coltan. One of the few places in the world where coltan is found is the forests of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo-right in the middle of gorilla habitat. As a result of mining for coltan, critical habitat has been destroyed and gorillas have been displaced or even killed by poachers. By recycling your phone with us, you will be helping to raise money that will go directly to help these populations of gorillas. First, donations to The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International will help further their work to protect gorillas. Second, the reuse of cell phones results in the need for fewer new ones, which in turn reduces the need for coltan mining.

Who Gets the Phones?
Some of the phones collected by Eco-Cell will go to charities that need them for emergency 911 use. Others will be recycled because they are no longer usable. But the majority will be refurbished and resold to first-time, low-income users in areas outside the US with compatible cell phone technology.



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