Great Lakes Initiative

The Great Lakes are of global significance for many reasons: these freshwater ecosystems contain 20% of all surface freshwater on the planet, provide more than 35 million people with drinking water, and contain critical habitat for endangered species, including the piping plover, lake sturgeon and gray wolf. The Zoological Society is committed to raising awareness and protecting the health of Lake Michigan, a Great Lake located right in our backyard.

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The Great Lakes Need Our Help

A recent study estimated the amount of plastic entering Lake Michigan each year is equal to 100 Olympic-sized pools full of plastic bottles. Invasive species such as the zebra mussel and Asian carp are harming the native plant and animal species needed to keep our freshwater ecosystems healthy. Scroll down to learn how we, along with other area organizations committed to protecting and preserving our Great Lakes, are working toward reducing single-use plastics and promoting the critically important freshwater ecosystem that we are lucky enough to call home.

Plastic Free Milwaukee

Plastic Free Milwaukee is a movement of Milwaukee area organizations, citizens and businesses dedicated to reducing the use of single-use plastics in our city. To support the movement, shop and dine at Lake Friendly Certified Restaurants and go to the Plastic Free Milwaukee: Living Plastic Free website to learn how to reduce your use of single-use plastics. Take the pledge to help make Milwaukee a plastic-free city!

Source Citation: Hoffman, M.J. and Hittinger, E., 2017. Inventory and transport of plastic debris in the Laurentian Great Lakes. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 115(1-2), pp.273-281.

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