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  • June 21, 2017 7:21 AM | Anonymous


    by Danielle L Green, Director of Gardens & Grounds, Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens

    Top Tropicals recently posted a great article on what a great workout gardening is and quantified elements of what we do everyday with how many calories are burned. What a simple reminder that what we do for a living is what many have to pay for at a gym! Remember that mobility is a critical part of our ability to do our job over time, so don’t forget your warm up stretches!

    We all know that gardening provides a bit of exercise, but we do not realize how much exactly. Research has determined that three hours of gardening can have the same effect as an intense one-hour gym session. The study was carried out with a group of 100 gardeners who were asked to monitor the amount of time spent doing a series of common gardening tasks over a four-week period. Gardening tasks that were monitored included weeding, digging, mowing lawns, hedge trimming, trimming shrubs and trees, raking, planting shrubs, and moving garden waste using a wheel barrow. Here are some facts and numbers:

    • Just half an hour of weeding can burn up to 150 calories and tasks that involve handling heavy electrical equipment such as hedge trimming will burn 400 calories per hour.
    • Spending one day or five hours each week in the garden will burn roughly 700 calories.
    • A gardening season that burns 20,000 calories per year is the equivalent to running seven marathons!
    • Gardening could help burn a million calories over a lifetime.

    Here are some figures for calories burned in one hour of various activities:

    340 calories: chopping wood, splitting logs, gardening with heavy power tools, tilling a garden, operating a chain saw, mowing lawns, walking, operating a hand mower, shoveling by hand

    272 calories: carrying, loading or stacking wood, loading/unloading or carrying lumber, digging, spading, filling garden, composting, laying crushed rock or sod, clearing land, hauling branches, wheelbarrow chores

    238 calories: operating blower, walking, planting seedlings/shrubs/trees, trimming shrubs or trees, operating a manual cutter, weeding, cultivating garden

    224 calories: raking lawn, sacking grass and leaves

    136 calories: picking fruit off trees, picking up yard, picking flowers or vegetables, walking, gathering gardening tools

    102 calories: walking, applying fertilizer, or seeding a lawn

    34 calories: watering lawn or garden, standing or walking

  • June 21, 2017 7:16 AM | Anonymous


    by Rob Halpern, Zoo Horticulture Consulting & Design

    What does it take to get the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) membership to hear our message? Just put together a compelling session for the annual AZA Conference! The AZA Program Committee has been welcoming the topic of zoo horticulture into the conference for several years.

    At the 2011 AZA Conference in Atlanta, one panel considered the question "Can Zoos and Botanical Gardens Live Together?" The session had light attendance but there was good discussion by panelists and attendees.

    In 2014, I put together a panel of three zoo directors and one aquarium director to present why these industry leaders value and support horticulture at their institutions: “The Lure of Landscape: You Should Catch The Gardening Bug." The idea grew out of Satch Krantz's welcome talk at the Association of Zoological Horticulture (AZH) conference hosted in 2013 by Riverbanks Zoo & Botanic Garden in South Carolina. The room was about half-full with zoo designers and zoo staff who were there to hear from Satch, Patricia Waickman (Interim President & CEO of Akron Zoo), Bart Shepherd (California Academy of Sciences), and Rick Schwartz (Nashville Zoo).

    Reception of AZH's message of the importance of zoo horticulture is gaining interest with AZA members.

    Last year I organized another panel, inspired by several great presentations from the 2015 AZH Conference. Originally titled "I'm Gonna Botanize The Sh*t Out of This Enclosure: Animal Care Problems, Horticulture Solutions," this session was standing-room only. Animal care staff, veterinarians, and others couldn't get enough from the panelists: Jeff Pera (Oregon Zoo), Hassena Kassim (Phoenix Zoo), Dan Simpson (San Diego Zoo), and a stand-in speaker from the Denver Zoo on Afromomum.

    And so we return to AZA this year with a new session that grew out of some inspiring presentations at last year's AZH Conference in Cincinnati! In an effort to spread the recognition of how valuable zoo horticulture is to another corner of the larger zoo community, this year's panel targets marketing and community relations. "Communities Come Together Over Gardens: Using Horticulture to Connect With Our Neighbors" is a panel that includes Paul Bouseman (Mesker Park Zoo), Bob Chabot (Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens), Christine Nye (Shedd Aquarium), and Steve Foltz (Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden) sharing their work connecting with the community through both on-site programs to bring gardeners into the facility and off-site projects to bring the facility's horticulture expertise into the community.

    Over the past few years the strategy has been to make zoo horticulture a regular presence at the annual AZA Conference and to direct each session to a different part of the zoo community. We're hoping for another popular panel this year in Indianapolis on Wednesday, September 13 (10 a.m.). Spread the word in your institution and join us if you can!

  • March 26, 2017 2:58 PM | Anonymous

    by azhadminKM

    The 2017 winners of the Wendy Andrew Cultivation Grant were announced earlier this year: Michaele Bergera of Sacramento Zoo and Melanie Anderson of Buffalo Zoo. Both projects will utilize signage to encourage guests to explore plant collections and significant specimen trees.

    Heritage Oak at Sacramento Zoo

    Sacramento Zoo:
    Michaele proposes to create and install signs that will educate/inform zoo visitors about the significance of trees that are endangered, threatened, or otherwise in need of protection. Among the trees that will be highlighted at Sacramento Zoo are:

    • Valley Oak (Quercus lobata): Three Heritage Oaks, 300-plus years old, are currently under protection at Sacramento Zoo. Signage will explain the importance of these trees to our visitors, as well as the steps being taken to protect their future.
    • Chilean Wine Palm at Sacramento Zoo.

      Chilean Wine Palm (Jubaea chilensis): Signage will address the importance of protecting this species, which is listed as Threatened on IUCN Red List.

    • Michaele Bergera with a Wollemi Pine, just one of the endangered species to be highlighted at Sacramento Zoo. Wollemi Pine (Wollemia nobilis): Signage will address the importance of protecting this species, which is listed as Critically Endangered on IUCN Red List.

    Educational signage for these trees will show guests that the Sacramento Zoological Society places a priority on plant conservation as well as animal conservation.

    Buffalo Zoo:
    The goal of the Melanie’s project is to help the Buffalo Zoo’s guests explore the plant collection, as well as the importance of those plants to ecosystems and our daily lives. This goal is part of a three-year strategic plan objective of using horticulture to enhance the visitor experience.

    To accomplish this goal, the interpretivMelanie Anderson of Buffalo Zoo plans to use horticulture to enhance the visitor experience. e plan of the Zoo will be expanded to include plant signage. Significant plant species along major Zoo pathways will be tagged to include identification as well as information about the plant’s connection to its ecosystem. Active engagement in learning is more effective for knowledge retention, so the signs will include questions designed to encourage guests in exploring plants. The Zoo will also enhance horticulture training for docents to help them integrate plants into their general tours.

  • March 26, 2017 2:41 PM | Anonymous

    by azhadminKM

    One day I noticed that a large number of the animal keepers at my facility were outfitted disproportionately with Keen shoes/boots and high-end rain gear brands. I asked what that was all about? They said it was from “pro deals” that the keepers applied for. I did a little research. Turns out it isn’t just for animal keepers and lots of companies offer these deals. I have been well outfitted ever since and you can too.

    What is a “Pro Deal”?
    In a nutshell: Pro deals are for people who are employed and/or volunteer in specific fields were it would be beneficial for the company to have you wearing their gear and promoting their products to potential buyers. The companies will regularly give you free shipping and/or discounts of 40–60 percent on items purchased.

    More info on pro deals:

    How to the find deals?
    Use any search engine you like with the keywords “pro deal” or “pro purchase.” Additionally, you can include the name of any company from which you are interested in receiving a discount. Next, see if you match the companies’ requirements for receiving a pro deal. Fill out the application and provide the required documentation. The company will review and respond with an official approval or a “not qualified” e-mail. Read closely the requirements. Most only allow you to order items for yourself (no gifts), and, yes, they do pay attention to the sizes ordered and for what gender. They will cancel your pro deal if misused. A few will let you buy items for others. Please use your special discount wisely and do not ruin it for others.

    Several websites allow you to sign up for pro deals from multiple manufactures. Depending on what you qualify for, you can receive deals for everything from mountain bikes, to eye-wear, snowboarding gear, clothes, etc. You could start with these two:
    Outdoor Pro Link: www.outdoorprolink.com/
    ExpertCity/Promotive: www.promotive.com

    You should be prepared because they will be emailing you with deals pretty consistently. In my experience, I have found the best deals by going to each company and applying for their pro deals separately. Thanksgiving through Christmas is the best time for deals, so wait to make your big purchases for the most savings. Watch for Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals for greatest discounts.

    Have fun, enjoy your discounts and tell people what you think of the companies’ products. Below are some links to get you started.

    Happy Savings, Jake Pool, Horticulturist/Arborist Lead
    Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, www.nwtrek.org

    Company links to pro deal websites:













  • March 26, 2017 2:29 PM | Anonymous


    by azhadminKM

    Callery PearCallery pear has become an invasive tree species.

    By Rick Knight, Zoo Horticulturist
    Topeka Zoo and Conservation Center

    Pyrus calleryana, Callery pear, is native to China and Vietnam, and was introduced into the United States in the early 1900s by the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University. It is an ornamental, deciduous, medium-sized tree with white flowers and good fall foliage. It has a small fruit that is eaten by birds, which disperse the seeds. The various cultivars are generally thought to be self-incompatible, unable to produce fertile seed when self-pollinated. But they are fertile when cross-pollinated with other cultivars. Callery pear seedlings are now taking over old fields along roadsides and wasteland and are a new weed species. They now are on many states’ list of invasive species and are headed west.

  • March 26, 2017 2:16 PM | Anonymous


    by azhadminKM

    Ficus microcarpa, Chinese banyan, Indian laurel fig.

    By Danielle Green, Director of Gardens & Grounds, Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens

    Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens is a special place. Within these 45 acres in the heart of Naples are living reminders of the history of this property and its evolution from a personal garden of Dr. Henry Nehrling to the world class zoological garden that it is today. Caring for the historic specimen trees that we have on the property requires a plan that includes inspection and routine plant health care. As part of our plant health care, we perform annual deep root fertilization on more than 30 specimen trees around the Zoo. 

    Deep root Pterocarpus macrocarpa, Burmese rosewood. fertilization is a process where a specially formulated nutrient solution is injected into the root zone (area under the canopy) of trees. The nutrients are injected under pressure which helps aerate and provide oxygen to the root system. The soil injection begins just below the surface and goes to a depth of up to 12 inches beneath the soil. Injection sites are placed two feet apart in a grid pattern under the canopy area and beyond the drip line of the tree. Our tree-care partner, Davey Tree, uses a patented product (Arbor Green PRO) designed by the Davey Institute to mimic the natural availability of nutrients in the forest environment. This ensures that these gentle giants get the nutrients required for healthy growth and development. Just a few benefits of these nutrients include increased root growth, improved pest and disease resistance, greener foliage, and better drought resistance.

    Many of our “gentle giants” at Naples Zoo are the largest of their species found in Naples. These include two Ficus altissima or lofty fig found on Bear Loop, the Pterocarpus macrocarpus or Burmese rosewood near the Caribbean Gardens buildings, Delonix regia or royal poinciana in Bear Loop playground, and at panther viewing area we have a Roystonea regia or royalDelonix regia, Royal Poinciana. palm that is nearly 100 years old! Other specimens to take notice of are the four Ceiba pentandra or kapok trees. Kapok trees are native to tropical America from Mexico to the Amazon basin and are also called silk-cotton trees. Kapok flowers open at night and are pollinated by bats; the pods that form later can produce up to 200 seeds embedded within a silky, cotton-like, water-resistant fiber. This fiber was once used as stuffing material for life jackets and mattresses. The massive trunks are covered in thorns and can grow up to 10 feet in diameter. The oldest known Ceiba sp. trees are found in Miami and are 200 years old! Be sure to check out our signature icons at the 2017 AZH annual conference zoo day at Naples Zoo in September!

  • March 26, 2017 7:07 AM | Anonymous

    by Robin McCain, Woodland Park ZooTrees in spring.

    Nitrogen and iron are the only nutrients in which woody plants are commonly deficient. Fertilize only as needed and only if other problems for poor growth have been eliminated. Avoid over fertilization, especially with high-nitrogen, fast-release fertilizers. Over-fertilization promotes excessive foliage growth that may result in an increase of pest populations such as mites, aphids, and psyllids. It also may cause bark to crack, allowing entry of disease, may damage roots, and cause burning or die back of foliage.

  • March 25, 2017 2:26 PM | Anonymous


    by azhadminKM

    A flurry of activity has been going on since the AZH annual conference and I wanted to update everyone on some exciting changes. First, the AZH Communications Committee in conjunction with the AZH board of directors has initiated a new format for our traditional newsletter. In an effort to maintain a fresh and professional standard of communication, we will publish articles in a blog format on the AZH website. This will replace the bimonthly publication that you are accustomed to receiving via e-mail. These articles can still be printed to share with staff but will require you to log in to the members area to view updates on projects, new exhibits, IPM, and conservation articles. This blog will be updated quarterly with content that has been submitted by individuals and committees. Our hope is that this new format will encourage AZH members to submit more content for publication. Anyone can submit a short blurb or article no matter the size or scope and be sure to include pictures! Use this online “Newsletter Submission Form” to submit an article.

    Additionally, Hassena Kassim (Phoenix Zoo) has taken a position at North Carolina Art Museum and resigned her position on the board of directors. We have asked Donita Brannon to fulfill the remaining time of her term on the board as director-at-large and she has accepted this appointment. Thanks to Hassena for her service to AZH and congrats to Donita!

    Lastly, the first recipients of the AZH Wendy Andrew Cultivation Grant were chosen at the recent mid-term board of directors meeting.

    • Providing Interactive Plant Education & Conservation Connections
      Buffalo Zoo - Melanie Anderson: $1000
    • Sacramento Zoo Specimen Tree Signage project
      Sacramento Zoo - Michaele Bergera: $840

    Congratulations to Melanie and Michaele! We will hear more about these projects at the 2017 AZH annual conference.

    We are excited to launch this new grant program in honor of Wendy Andrew, a long standing member of AZH who contributed significantly to our organization. She cultivated so many partnerships and relationships within AZH and we hope this grant program will continue her legacy to grow AZH and our members.

    As always, please reach out to any member of the AZH board of directors with questions or concerns.

    See you in the garden!


  • January 25, 2017 2:06 PM | Anonymous


    by azhadminKM

    Grow Wise - Bee Smart informationGrow Wise - Bee Smart publication

    The Horticultural Research Institute (the research arm of AmericanHort) has developed best management practices for greenhouse and nursery production, woody ornamentals, and managed landscapes. HRI developed the best management practices with help from researchers and beekeepers from across North America. The information is intended to reduce grower impact on bee populations due to growing practices. Click on the following link to download Best Management Practices (BMPs) for Bee Health in the Horticultural Industry.

  • December 29, 2016 2:03 PM | Anonymous

    By azhadminKM

    Catalpa "Worm" - larval stage

    Even though the catalpa worm, Ceratomia catalpae, can quickly defoliate catalpa trees with their sweet tooth for those trees’ foliage, it also provides some benefits to the tree and humans. Mitigating the catalpa worm’s voracious appetite is the catalpa trees’ ability to produce new leaves quickly, even after being completely defoliated three or four times during a single summer. No other tree can withstand this carnage and survive but this onslaught of caterpillars in-turn produces a quantity of dung which fertilizes the tree and everything else in the vicinity of the tree. In addition to this, catalpa worms are prized for fish bait. Their tough skin and tasty innards are perfect for the fisherman’s hook.

    By Susan Pierce, Gardener, Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

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