180 zoos, aquariums, and museums from all 50 states sign in support of 30×30 and America the Beautiful

In an unprecedented show of support for conservation, more than 180 zoos, aquariums and museums (ZAMs) from communities in all 50 states recently signed on to a letter of support for the Biden Administration’s America the Beautiful Initiative, and specifically the incorporated commitment to protect 30% of nature – lands, waters and ocean – by 2030 (“30×30”).

Earlier this year, the Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, and Commerce, in cooperation with the White House Council on Environmental Quality, released a report, Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful, which calls for a decade-long effort to advance locally-led and voluntary conservation and restoration efforts in public, private, and tribal lands and waters. It adopts the 30×30 goal, which polling indicates is supported by 85% of Americans.

As part of our mission to catalyze and support collaborative action for conservation in partnership with ZAMs, The Ocean Project have been collaborating for many years with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). This year we have also been collaborating more closely with the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) and the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC), and together with these three major associations, we circulated the letter to directors and senior staff. Following the annual AZA conference, Dan Ashe, President and CEO of AZA, sent the letter to directors of member zoos and aquariums and shortly after the annual ASTC conference, Christofer Nelson, President and CEO, also sent a letter to member museums.

With AZA, ASTC and AAM signing on to the letter, along with 180 ZAMs, the community sent a strong signal of unity and support for conserving at 30% of the lands, waters, and ocean of “America the Beautiful.” The letter clearly conveys the critical importance of advancing conservation, addressing the climate crisis, and increasing access to nature, as well as the essential role that ZAMs play in local communities and has been delivered to contacts in the Department of Interior, Department of Commerce and NOAA, Department of Agriculture and the Council of Environmental Quality and the Office of Science and Technology Policy, both within the Executive Office of the President and will soon be circulated on Capitol Hill.

Highly trusted by the public and with approximately 200 million annual visitors, ZAMs are trusted conduits to local communities. They are also sources of expertise, especially important as the discussion starts to shift from concept to implementation. As they continue to evolve their missions, ZAMs have an uniquely important role to play in helping advance the movement for 30×30. As two of the key national leaders of the 30×30 movement have noted:  

“The zoo, museum, and aquarium community are conservation leaders in the U.S., and their unique and valuable position at the intersection of public education, community engagement and leadership, and scientific research makes them powerful voices in helping to shape the first ever national conservation goal and advance America the Beautiful.” – Amy Kenney, National Ocean Protection Coalition (includes dozens of diverse groups representing national, regional, and local perspectives across the country) 

“The Biden Administration has announced a bold goal through its America the Beautiful initiative, but important questions still remain about how the effort will be implemented. Getting this right will require engagement and input from as many constituencies and conservation leaders as possible. The zoo, aquarium, and museum community is in the perfect position to provide the Administration and other national leaders with exactly the type of support, expertise, and guidance needed to ensure that 30×30 effort is a success in the United States.” – Michael Degnan, Deputy Director, Campaign for Nature (a partnership of the Wyss Campaign for Nature, National Geographic Society, and a growing coalition of more than 100 conservation organizations around the world)

Over the last several months, The Ocean Project has been coordinating a working group of ZAMs that, along with a team of expert advisors, to help us collaboratively raise public awareness, document public opinion, and inform policymakers in support of 30×30. The 30×30 Working Group has identified and developed a set of tools and resources for all to adapt and use as they wish, including the essential background on 30×30, a messaging kit, poster and postcard templates, draft op-eds, and an online action platform, with more to come. You can find all of these and more at https://theoceanproject.org/30×30.

We are currently working with ZAMs to leverage their commitment to conservation, and take advantage of the opportunity with the public comment period NOAA has opened thru Dec 28, 2021 as well as an expected upcoming public comment period with the Department of the Interior.

As we move into 2022, we are keeping the sign-on process open for additional ZAMs to show their support and will send an updated letter to the administration. If you are interested in signing on, please click here.

Please see the current list of signatories below and let us know if you have any questions or suggestions for generating further engagement. 

Thank you to the following conservation leaders for signing on to the letter of support:

Abilene Zoo

ABQ BioPark

Adventure Aquarium

Akron Zoo

Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo

Alabama Museum of Natural History

Alaska SeaLife Center

Aquarium of Niagara

Arizona Center for Nature Conservation / Phoenix Zoo

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Audubon Nature Institute

B Bryan Preserve

Bay Area Discovery Museum

Bell Museum

Bergen County Zoo

Binder Park Zoo

Birmingham Zoo

Bishop Museum

Blank Park Zoo

Brevard Zoo

Brookgreen Gardens

Buffalo Museum of Science

Buffalo Zoo

Butterfly Pavilion

Buttonwood Park Zoological Society

Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

California Academy of Sciences

California Association of Zoos and Aquariums

Cameron Park Zoo

Carnegie Science Center

Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens

Chattanooga Zoo

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Chicago Zoological Society

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland

Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Como Park Zoo and Conservatory

Connecticut Science Center

Conservation Society of California / Oakland Zoo

Cosley Zoo

Dallas Zoo

Dayton Society of Natural History

Delaware Zoological Society

Detroit Zoological Society

Dickerson Park Zoo

Discovery Place

ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain

El Paso Zoo and Botanical Gardens

El Paso Zoological Society

Endangered Wolf Center

Essex County Turtle Back Zoo

Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo

Fossil Rim Wildlife Center

Fresno Chaffee Zoo

Friends of the Alexandria Zoo

Frost Science

Great Plains Zoo

Greensboro Science Center

Grizzly &Wolf Discovery Center

Honolulu Zoo

Houston Zoo

IMAG History & Science Center

Indianapolis Zoo

International Crane Foundation

Jenkinson’s Aquarium

Kansas City Zoo

Kentucky Science Center

Lemur Conservation Foundation

Lincoln Park Zoo

Little Rock Zoo

Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park

Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens

Louisville Zoological Gardens

Maine Discovery Museum

Marbles Kids Museum

Maryland Zoo in Baltimore

Memphis Zoo

Miller Park Zoo

Mississippi Aquarium

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Museum Association of Arizona

Museum of Science, Boston

Mystic Aquarium

Naples Zoo

Nashville Zoo

National Aquarium

National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium

Natural Encounters, Inc.

Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County

Nevada State Museum Las Vegas

New Bedford Whaling Museum

New England Aquarium

New York Hall of Science

Newport Aquarium

North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher

North Carolina Aquarium at Jennette’s Pier

North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores

North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island

North Carolina Museum of Life and Science

Northeastern Wisconsin Zoo

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park

OdySea Aquarium

Oklahoma City Zoo

Oregon Coast Aquarium

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

Oregon Zoo

Orlando Science Center

Palm Beach Zoo

Peoria Zoo

Philadelphia Zoo

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Potawatomi Zoo

Potter Park Zoo

Pueblo Zoo

Racine Zoological Society, Inc (Racine Zoo)

Reading Public Museum

Red River Zoo

Reid Park Zoo

Riverbanks Zoo & Garden

Riverside Discovery Center

Roger Williams Park Zoo

Saginaw Children’s Zoo

Saint Louis Zoo

Salisbury Zoo

San Antonio Zoo

San Diego Natural History Museum

San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance

San Francisco Zoo

Santa Barbara Zoo

Scovill Zoo

Sea Life Park

Seacoast Science Center

Seattle Aquarium

SeaWorld Parks

Sedgwick County Zoo

Seneca Park Zoo Society

Shedd Aquarium

South Dakota Discovery Center

Southern Tier Zoological Society/Ross Park Zoo

Squam Lakes Natural Science Center

Staten Island Zoo

Sunset zoo

Tennessee Aquarium

Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum

Texas State Aquarium

The Climate Museum

The David Traylor Zoo of Emporia

The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee

The Florida Aquarium

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens

The Maritime Aquarium

The Natural History Museum

The Tech Interactive

The Wild Center

Thompson Park Conservancy/ZooNew York

Tifft Nature Preserve

Topeka Zoo and Conservation Center

Tracy Aviary

Trevor Zoo at Millbrook School

Tulsa Zoo Management, Inc.

Turtle Conservancy

Utah’s Hogle Zoo

Utica Zoo

Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center

Virginia Living Museum

Virginia Zoo

Western North Carolina Nature Center

Wildlife Conservation Society

Woodland Park Zoo

Zoo Atlanta

Zoo Boise

Zoo Knoxville

Zoo Miami

Zoo New England: Franklin Park Zoo & Stone Zoo

ZooAmerica Wildlife Park