For the past 20 years, members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) have celebrated our planet with annual Party For The Planet® events. This year, with the support from the Disney Conservation Fund, members will be helping their communities “spring into action” with opportunities for families to volunteer to improve our planet from Earth Day (April 22) to World Oceans Day (June 8) including trash clean-up, bioblitzs, habitat restoration, and native planting activities.

The New York Aquarium will commemorate the annual Party for the Planet® celebration with two events. On June 1st there will be a volunteer clean-up of Coney Island Creek, bringing attention to this urban waterway that is now the focus of a revitalization effort.  On the following Saturday, June 8th, the aquarium will celebrate World Ocean’s Day with a “March for the Ocean”, a parade on the Coney Island Boardwalk to highlight the challenges posed by plastic waste to the waters of New York and celebrate New York’s commitment to healthier, cleaner waters. 

“We’re looking forward to working with local schools, community leaders, and organizations this year on a week-long effort to restore and protect our local waters while raising awareness about the threat of plastic to marine ecosystems,” said Jon Forrest Dohlin, WCS Vice President and Director of the WCS New York Aquarium. “It’s a great way to think globally and act locally in the week leading up to World Ocean’s Day.”

The Coney Island Creek clean-up (Kaiser Park, Saturday, June 1st, 8-11 a.m.) event will be coordinated by the Wildlife Conservation Corps (WCC) program, a group of students turned passionate ocean advocates who work with Aquarium staff to enlist additional volunteers for the event, all of whom will help protect the neighborhood’s natural environments.

On the following weekend (Saturday, June 8th, 10 a.m.—12 p.m.), participants in the March for the Ocean will hold a parade starting at the Parachute Drop of Steeplechase Plaza to the Aquarium’s Oceanside Grill seating area. The event will address the problem of plastic in the ocean, specifically by the use of plastic debris to decorate bikes and wagons, design “trashion” costumes, and produce clever signs. Judges will present awards for the best creations.

In addition the New York Aquarium-led events happening in Coney Island, NY, signature events will also happen in five other cities across the country: Brevard, Fla., Chicago, Ill., Los Angeles, Calif., Philadelphia, Pa., and San Francisco, Calif.

In total, over 120 AZA members will be hosting Spring Into Action events during the 48 days.

“AZA-accredited facilities are experts at connecting families to nature. Party For the Planet™ offers families the perfect opportunity to visit their local AZA-accredited facility, celebrate the Earth’s biodiversity, and learn how they can take action to make a difference,” said AZA President and CEO Dan Ashe. “AZA-accredited facilities are working to help save species worldwide, and inspire the next generation of conservations to action. We are so grateful to the Disney Conservation Fund for helping AZA members make an even bigger impact this year with their grant support. The events our members have planned are inspiring and impactful, and I encourage families everywhere to find their local event and get involved!”

About AZA

Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science, and recreation. AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the United States and eight other countries. Look for the AZA accreditation logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in saving species and your link to helping animals all over the world. To learn more, visit