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Riverbanks ComPOOst Proudly Toots…Its Horn

For Immediate Release: April 19, 2012

DHEC Recognizes Zoo for Environmentally-Friendly Poo

[Columbia, SC] — Riverbanks Zoo and Garden has received a 2012 Earth Day Award for its Riverbanks comPOOst operation by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

The Zoo’s comPOOst program is one of four recipients of this year’s award. Each year, DHEC recognizes individuals, families, schools, communities, businesses, governments and non-profit organizations whose innovative efforts not only help protect the environment, but also inspire others to be environmentally conscious.

Riverbanks comPOOst is an all-natural composted zoo poo effortlessly produced by some of the Zoo’s most famous residents: elephants, giraffes and zebras.

"We had known for years that composting the Zoo’s animal waste would be greatly beneficial for the environment,” said John Davis, curator of mammals at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. "Stockpiling 1,500 pounds. of elephant manure is no easy task, but that all changed three years ago when the Zoo was finally able to put the necessary resources in place and launch what is today an extremely successful operation.”

From start to finish, the comPOOsting process takes about three months. Riverbanks’ four African elephants are the main contributors, making up nearly 75% of the 1,500 pounds of manure deposited to the pile on a daily basis

Guests visiting the Zoo this Saturday, April 21, will have an opportunity to learn more about comPOOsting during Riverbanks’ annual Party for the Planet. Several Earth Day related activities will be taking place from 10:00am-3:00pm—including an opportunity for kids to plant with comPOOst. The party will also, once again, feature local artist Thomas Humphries and his eye-catching creations, all made using recycled materials.

In addition, the Zoo will be educating party-goers about the importance of bats to our ecosystems as part of Riverbanks’ role in a global initiative to raise awareness of these tiny mammals and their struggle to survive. Families are invited to learn about these very cool creatures through hands-on crafts and a few batty bio-facts.

Party for the Planet is free with paid general admission to Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. For more information or to keep up with the latest scoop on our poop, visit