Greenbacks Save Silverbacks
In 2011, after receiving sponsorship from Gorilla Glue, the zoo launched its popular and successful Go Bananas! Challenge. The challenge encourages schools and Scouts to collect cellphones. The team that collects the most cellphones wins $4,000, and an additional $1,000 is awarded to the group whose campaign is voted “most creative.” The Most Creative Campaign contest is determined by public vote. The winning team from the 2012–2013 challenge was the Miami (Ohio) Palmetto Senior High Science Competitors Club, which turned in 1,190 phones.
Hoeweler says that the sponsorship from Gorilla Glue made it possible for them to offer the $5,000 in prize money, and the challenge is not limited to local groups.
“Any business, individual or nonprofit can recycle with us,” she says. After they reach out to the zoo through its website or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, they are sent a collection bin.
“We also provide free shipping labels for them to send in the phones they’ve collected,” she says. Any school, Scouts group, business or individual that donates more than 300 phones is given a painting done by the zoo’s silverback gorilla, Jomo.
“We are excited about what we’ve been able to accomplish,” Hoeweler says, adding that she would like to see even more participation in the program and raise more money for gorilla conservation.
“We’ve been extremely successful, but we can always do more!”
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