COAL VALLEY, Ill. – Niabi Zoo will host an environmental work day on Tuesday, June 19, from 8 a.m. to noon with Clean Sphere, a Black Hawk College community service club focused on environmental awareness and habitat restoration.
“Organizations like Clear Sphere understand that global conservation progress starts in our own backyards,” said Lee Jackson, Niabi Zoo director. “We’re happy to partner with them on this project.”
Emma Bertram is a sophomore Black Hawk College and is president of Clean Sphere.
“A lot of the work we do is on campus,” said Bertram. “At our first cleanup of the school year we picked up nine pounds of trash in the student parking lot.”
Two times a semester Clean Sphere goes off campus and pairs with local organizations to clean up the community.
“Niabi is the first of two community cleanups we’ll do this summer,” Bertram explained. “They share our mission and love for the environment so it’s a great fit.”
The group will work with Niabi staff to clean up trash on zoo property.
“We have two areas in particular that and could use some extra hands,” said Tammy Schmidt, Niabi Zoo assistant director. “Both are in ravines and wooded areas where trash has accumulated over time.”
Clean Sphere isn’t the only group to volunteer at Niabi in recent months.
“On June 5, we had over 40 volunteers from Wells Fargo preparing environmental enrichment items for our animals,” said Schmidt. “It’s our mission to motivate action. If we can get people in the zoo, educate them and inspire them to take action when they leave our gates, we’ve done our job.”
If your organization is interested in volunteering with Niabi Zoo contact Joel Vanderbush at or 309-799-3482 x 225.