Now entering its 25th year, Brevard Zoo in Melbourne is a tourism gem sitting in the middle of the Space Coast. Home to more than 900 animals from all over the world, it is the largest community-built zoo on the planet – something every Brevard County resident can be proud of.
More than 400,000 guests drop in on Brevard Zoo annually (with 44 percent of them coming from outside the county), and the attraction’s annual economic impact in our area is nearly $60 million. With the help of the community, the zoo has become renowned, regularly making top 10 zoo lists and earning honors from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.To support the zoo’s mission, zoo officials and staff focus in part on connecting visitors to the natural world through enjoyable zoo experiences, authentic learning activities, conservation action, and training programs. It’s no wonder this place is known as “the small zoo that does big things.”
This past December, Brevard Zoo selected multiple conservation projects to receive funding through its “Quarters for Conservation” grant program (also known as Q4C), which raises money to support wildlife conservation around the globe.
Seventy-four applications were received for the latest round of grants, with the following initiatives chosen for upcoming Q4C financial support:
- African People and Wildlife (focused on big cats in northern Tanzania)
- African Wildlife Conservation Fund (focused on endangered African wild dogs)
- Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (focused on critically endangered Madagascar pochards[i])
- Elephant Connection Research Project (focused on elephants and giraffes in Zambia)
- Florida Bat Conservancy
- Florida Wildlife Hospital
- Institute for Development, Ecology, Conservation & Cooperation (focused on critically endangered Nubian flapshell turtles in South Sudan)
- International Otter Survival Fund
- Little Fireface Project (focused on critically endangered Javan slow lorises[ii])
- Okapi Conservation Project (located in the Democratic Republic of Congo)
- Saving Species (focused on orangutans, tigers and other animals in Sumatra)
For its Q4C grant program, Brevard Zoo zeroes in on holistic projects that incorporate the community, education and wildlife conservation. Projects considered must be of an ongoing nature, conducted by a nonprofit conservation organization, and be seeking $2,000 to $7,000 in funding.
The public has an important say in how the Q4C recipients are funded. Upon entry to the zoo, guests are each given a token representing 25 cents and asked to vote for their favorite project or organization using the token at the special Quarters for Conservation station. Three projects are featured each quarter.
In 2018, more than $100,000 was raised through this process, with an average of $7,000 donated to each participating initiative. In addition, guests who are especially passionate about a particular project are encouraged to deposit real coins or bills when they vote.
More information about Q4C is available at www.brevardzoo.org/quarters-for-conservation.