Do You Have a Gorilla Garden?

Browse Donations

Many of the Zoo’s animals, like gorillas, elephants, and giraffes, eat several pounds of green waste (“browse”) every day.

Don’t throw it out…I’ll eat it!

Green waste that includes non-toxic branches and leaves from specific species of trees and shrubs, such as bamboo and grape vines, make up an important part of these animals’ diet. Won’t you consider giving yours to the animals at the Santa Barbara Zoo?

Donations needed of organic, pesticide-free tree trimmings and branches from plants such as:

  • Acacia/Wattle
  • Arundo/Giant Reed
  • Bamboo
  • Banana tree
  • Giant Bird of Paradise
  • Fig/Ficus
  • Ginger plant
  • Grape vines
  • Mulberry
  • Olive
  • Palms (green only)
  • Sugarcane
  • Willow
See full list of plants accepted for donation.

Don’t waste it. We want it!

To donate your green waste, email us or call (805) 403-5303 for more info.

Email Us

Donation deliveries by appointment only; receipts available upon request.

Frequently Asked Questions

I don’t know what kind of tree I have, do you?

Possibly. Email a photo to us, and we can try and ID the tree. Unfortunately, we do not have the time or staffing to make house calls to try and identify trees in person.

Do I need to trim my tree a certain way?

Whole branches are preferred. Usually, the way we feed trees out to the animals is by hanging branches up for them to consume – small chopped pieces are difficult for us to manage.

How much do I need to be trimming?

Sometimes even three or four big branches from a tree will make a great meal. If we are picking up from several locations in a day, we can pick-up grab smaller amounts from a few stops. If you are delivering to us, we’re happy to take even a few decent sized branches. When in doubt, send us an email.

I use pesticides/insecticides/herbicides, can you use my tree?

We cannot take any trees or plants that have been treated with a pesticide/insecticide/herbicide, even an organic one, for the safety of our animals.

I cut my tree last week and then saw you were looking for branches…it’s available but dry. Do you want it?

We are occasionally in need of branches used for perching. Email us to see if we can use it.

Will you take the whole tree/everything I trim?

We only use/feed out branches. We do not have a use for/place to dispose of tree trunks or large sections of limb. If you are cutting a whole tree we are quite happy to pick up as many branches with leaves as we can load (if you’re close by we can make a few trips) but we are not able to clean up and dispose of a whole tree and may not always be able to take everything you trim.

I live in Goleta/Carpinteria. I would love to help, and have a large tree to be trimmed. Will you pick it up?

As sad as it is to let a good tree go, we can only pick up browse donations from within five miles of the Zoo. But if it is possible for you to deliver, we certainly welcome your donation!

I’m here at your gate with a tree: will you come get it?

We ask that you please always contact us by email and wait for confirmation before bringing us a delivery. We appreciate your donation and want to make sure we have staff available to unload it.

I contacted you about donating my tree and was told you could not use it, why?

There are several possible reasons we may not be able to accept a browse donation. Hopefully, the staff member who responded to your email explained our requirements. Your tree may have been turned down because it is not on our list, which is usually because it is toxic to our animals. There may also be occasions when we get so many trees donated that we simply cannot accommodate them all and have to turn donations away. Thank you for thinking of us and taking your time to try and help, we are sorry we could not accept your donation.

I have excess fruit/vegetables, can I donate those as well?

Yes, we do accept donations of organically grown produce from local residents and farms. Please email us to arrange donations of fresh produce.

If I deliver, do I get to see the animals eat my donation right then?

It takes us some time to process trees that are donated. They have to be sorted, cleaned and then delivered to the appropriate section of the Zoo depending on which species of animals will be eating them. This means you will not be able to see your donation used right then or help us feed it out, but you can be certain that the only ones who appreciate your delivery more than our zookeepers are our very happy and well-fed animals…all thanks to you!

Is my plant donation tax-deductible?

Yes. Tax deduction receipts are available upon request.