Morrie’s Automotive Group has been involved in our local communities since Morrie Wagener opened his first store in Wayzata, MN over 50 years ago. Giving back to the community has always been a core value for Morrie’s, and we are grateful to be able to support the local communities that we live and do business in, leading us to establish our Buy Happy Giving program in 2011.
We are pleased to announce that last month we donated a Mazda CX-5 to the Minnesota Zoo. Since 1978 the Minnesota Zoo has been connecting people, animals, and the natural world through cutting edge exhibits and education programs.
The Morrie’s Automotive Group is a proud sponsor of the Minnesota Zoo’s conservation program. With this partnership our goal is to assist with conservation research by providing the necessary means of transportation needed by the Zoo to travel to area’s where field work can be conducted. Because of the substantial amount of work needed for these research projects, we felt that this was another great way to extend our resources to the community. These initiatives will hopefully increase understanding of what needs to be done in order to save these species on the brink of extinction. Zoo staff will engage Morrie’s customers and employees by involving us in events, lectures, education programs, and volunteer opportunities. We are extremely grateful to have this partnership with such a great organization and we look forward to working with the Zoo and other great community institutions in the future.
Before handing off the vehicle, I had the chance to conduct an interview with Tara Harris, Director of Conservation at the Minnesota Zoo, to get a better idea of how they will use this vehicle. Tara explained that the CX-5 will be used to travel to field sites in Northeastern Minnesota to do critical research on endangered moose populations and habitat, as well as throughout the prairie butterfly habitat of Western Minnesota.
The number of Minnesota moose in the Northwestern region has already declined almost 98% from about 4,000 in the early 90’s to an estimated 100 in the most recent survey. The Northeastern population has also declined from about 9,000 in 2006, to about 4,000 now.
The field research vehicle will be used to travel to Northeastern Minnesota to collect data on the habitats that they know moose are using. An important time to collect this data will be during the upcoming hot Summer months, with heat stress being a significant challenge to the moose population. They would like to identify what types of habitat moose use when there are higher temperatures. After the research is conducted they hope to be able to plan for and create more of those types of habitats in Minnesota to support a thriving moose population for years to come.
There are 15 species of butteries in the state of Minnesota that are considered threatened or endangered and 10 of those 15 are dependent on prairies. The butterflies are quickly losing their habitat and a few species in particular are candidates for the endangered species list and are considered extremely threatened.
Researchers will be looking for remnant populations of prairie butterflies that have become rare in Minnesota and may have already gone extinct. Goals for research include trying to find out if these butterflies still exist in Minnesota and to try to collect data on the other rare butterfly species. The zoo researchers will also be gathering some eggs and hope to start a breeding program on site at the Zoo for some of the rarest butterfly species.
We sincerely hope that the donation of this Mazda CX-5 helps support the Minnesota Zoo’s research efforts for the prairie butterflies and Minnesota moose populations.
Click here to read more about the Minnesota Zoo’s conservation programs.
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