Wildlife Conservation Society’s Prospect Park Zoo Wins 2014 IKEA Life Improvement Co-worker Challenge

Prospect Park Zoo to get new teen-designated lab and classroom space, courtesy of the IKEA Brooklyn store

Brooklyn, N.Y. – April 16, 2014 –
The votes are in and the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Prospect Park Zoo is the winner of the 2014 IKEA Life Improvement Co-worker Challenge. The zoo will receive a new teen-designated laboratory and classroom space, furnished by the IKEA Brooklyn store.

“We are extremely thankful to IKEA and the community for giving us this amazing opportunity to improve our educational programming space,” said Denise McClean, Director of the Prospect Park Zoo. “Our teens have a passion for conservation, and a new lab and classroom area will greatly enhance their learning experience.”

“We believe in creating a better everyday life for many people and by making this contribution, IKEA Brooklyn and our co-workers are able to support the Prospect Park Zoo and the good work of the Wildlife Conservation Society,” said Fredrik Rabe, IKEA Brooklyn Store Manager. “We hope this new classroom and laboratory space provide a great space for young people to learn, and contribute to the conservation work of the Prospect Park Zoo.”

The IKEA Life Improvement Co-worker Challenge is an online contest in which the public can vote for local charities to receive makeovers in communities throughout the United States where IKEA has stores. The Prospect Park Zoo was the winner out of three nominees in the Brooklyn contest. The IKEA Brooklyn store will make over an existing hallway at the zoo into a learning lab and inviting space for teens participating in Prospect Park Zoo’s programs.

The redesigned space will create a more cohesive access point for teens to learn about wildlife and become stewards of the environment and conservation leaders in their communities.

The new space will include a study area for teens participating in science-based programs; electronic and research devices such as iPads, laptops and microscopes; new stools and tables; a bathroom; and lots of shelving and storage space.

Renovations will be complete by summer 2014- just in time for all the teens who descend on the Prospect Park Zoo as part of their summer programming.

The Prospect Park Zoo has many program opportunities for teens who are interested in conservation and the environment. These include:

Discovery Guide Program:
Teen volunteers talk with zoo visitors about the animals in many of the exhibits in the zoo. They also help with special events, interact with families in the zoo’s interactive Discovery Center, and conduct hands-on activities with visitors in the Animals in Art exhibit. Applications for summer 2014 will be accepted until May 15, 2014.

Project TRUE:
Project TRUE (Teen Research in Urban Ecology) is an environmental education program conducted by WCS and Fordham University that gives students hands-on experience in urban ecology. Funded by the SENSER-ISE grant, all program participants have a special interest in environmental studies and pursuing careers in environmental science, wildlife management, or similar fields of study. Applications for Cohort 3 will be accepted in September 2014.

Bridging the Gap:
The Bridging the Gap program works to help students learn more about the various science careers available in zoo and aquariums. Students participating in this program get hands-on experience learning about conservation, participate in internships at the zoo, and receive guidance in educational planning, financial aid options, and more. Applications for Bridging the Gap are being accepted until April 15.

Summer Teen Internship
For teens ages 13-17, the Prospect Park Zoo offers a fee-based program that gives teens a unique opportunity to discover what it is like to work in a zoo. They will help prepare animal diets, clean out animal enclosures and more. They’ll also conduct animal behavior studies, meet with WCS staff, and participate in an elective such as wildlife photography. This three week program begins on July 8, 2014.

More information about these teen programs at the zoo can be found online at http://www.prospectparkzoo.com/teens.aspx Or email ppzeducation@wcs.org.

Barbara Russo – 718-265-3428; brusso@wcs.org
Max Pulsinelli – 718-220-5182; mpulsinelli@wcs.org
Lorna Montalvo –718-246-0921; lorna.montalvo@ikea.com

The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Prospect Park Zoo – $8 for adults, $6 for seniors 65 and older, $5 for kids 3-12, free for children under 3. Zoo hours are 10 A.M. to 5 P.M. weekdays, and to 5:30 P.M. on weekends and holidays, April through October. 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. November through March. The Prospect Park Zoo is located at 450 Flatbush Avenue in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. For further information, call 718-399-7339 or visit www.prospectparkzoo.com.

Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)
WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. VISION: WCS envisions a world where wildlife thrives in healthy lands and seas, valued by societies that embrace and benefit from the diversity and integrity of life on earth. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in more than 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: www.wcs.org; facebook.com/TheWCS; youtube.com/user/WCSMedia; follow: @theWCS.

Note to the Media: If you would like to guide your readers or viewers to a Web link where they can make donations in support of helping save wildlife and wild places, please direct them to www.wcs.org.

The IKEA vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people. Our business idea supports this vision by offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them. There are currently 305 IKEA Group stores in 26 countries. There are 38 IKEA stores in the US. In FY 13, the IKEA Group had 135,000 co-workers, 684 million visitors to the stores and 1.3 billion visitors to IKEA.com. IKEA incorporates sustainability into day-to-day business and supports initiatives that benefit children and the environment. For more information, see IKEA-USA.com, facebook.com/IKEAUSA, @IKEAUSANews, @DesignByIKEA, @IKEA_Brooklyn, http://pinterest.com/IKEAUSA/, www.youtube.com/IKEAUSA, www.theshare-space.com, www.theshare-space.com/en/Blog

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