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Women for Conservation trains women in sustainable, eco-friendly careers.

Editor’s note: Join us for a wonderful evening with Women for Conservation to learn about their amazing work empowering women around the world! They will be joining us for a guest speaker event in the Zoo’s Nyami Nyami River Lodge on April 5, 2022, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tickets are free, but please register ahead of time as seating will be limited.

When we restructured our Quarters for Conservation (Q4C) program, our focus was to support conservation programs around the world that aligned with our mission: We share our joy of nature to help wildlife and people thrive.

We are proud to announce that our newest conservation partner, Women for Conservation, does just that!

Women for Conservation is a nonprofit organization that works with women in South America to protect endangered wildlife and their habitats. Founded by Sara Ines Lara in 2004, it began as a pilot program through ProAves, which is the leading conservation organization in Colombia.

Women for Conservation founder Sara Ines Lara

Sara Ines Lara founded Women for Conservation 18 years ago.

Women for Conservation focuses its work in Colombia. While Colombia is considered the second most biodiverse county in the world, its natural places are increasingly threatened due to the agriculture industry, logging and cattle ranching. Communities around the nature reserves are subject to extreme poverty and often depend on their local natural resources for survival.

Women for Conservation provides these women in rural communities with environmental education, the resources to implement conservation projects and comprehensive healthcare. It also trains women in sustainable, eco-friendly careers that serve as alternatives to the work that harms the environment and local biodiversity.

“Globally, women and girls are the largest untapped resource for environmental change,” said Sara Ines Lara, Women for Conservation’s founder. “By combining nature conservation with women’s empowerment, we are able to multiply our impact, increase holistic community wellbeing and invest in an environmentally conscious future generation.”

Our Q4C program takes twenty-five cents of each daily ticket and $5 from each membership purchased to fund our featured conservation organizations like Women for Conservation that are hand-selected by our conservation team. Your “change” changes the world!

As a tier one Q4C organization, Women for Conservation will receive $35,000 of funding each year for three years from the Zoo as well as mentorship. Women for Conservation will submit quarterly reports throughout our three-year partnership to explain in detail how they’re using the funding.

With this funding, Women for Conservation hopes to expand its programs, hire more leaders in the field and increase the number of workshops available to local women. It will also go toward acquiring critical habitats for nature preserves, which will allow the nonprofit to continue to protect critically endangered species.

This partnership is effective now through 2023, during which we hope to be able to have visits with their team and provide them with other resources they need to build on their success.

“Our goal was to find organizations who are doing big things, but need help and resources,” said Ashley Rearden, the Zoo’s conservation curator. “After meeting Women for Conservation’s founder, Sara Lara, we immediately felt that they were a perfect fit.”

While we continue to support and take part in local conservation needs, our Quarters for Conservation program allows us – and you – to help people and animals around the globe.

While this tier one partnership is already established, we’re inviting you to help us “vote” for our tier two projects! Starting this spring, Zoo guests will have the opportunity to make their pick for one of three chosen conservation projects using our new virtual voting system. The organization with the most votes will be granted extra funding at the end of each 6-month voting period.  In 2022, a total of nine local and global projects will be supported by Quarters for Conservation thanks to Zoo lovers like you!