Shedd Aquarium Donates Enrichment Toys During Holiday Season

Shedd’s Teen Learning Lab Participants Create Upcycled Dog Toys for The Anti-Cruelty Society

On Wednesday, Dec. 21, Shedd Aquarium staff and a participant of Shedd’s Teen Learning Lab delivered over 200 enrichment toys to The Anti-Cruelty Society they created as a holiday donation.

An alumni of the Teen Learning Lab, Madly Espinoza, wanted to be sure Chicago’s shelter dogs were receiving the best mental stimulation possible. Espinoza felt without proper enrichment toys to play with these animals may be less likely to be adopted. She met with Shedd’s Teen Learning Lab manager, Wade Berger, to discuss what opportunities there may be for the Teen Learning Lab to get involved with assisting these animals. They decided to create enrichment toys, which serve to both stimulate and engage animals in new and innovative ways.

Over 100 participants of Shedd’s Teen Learning Lab utilized upcycled t-shirts and developed more than 200 toys during a 6-month period by cutting and braiding them into unique designs. While creating the enrichment toys, Shedd staff and participants discussed the significance of enrichment, memories of their own pets at home and the importance of giving back to the community.

In 2017, the Teen Learning Lab hopes to create enrichment toys for additional animals including cats and amphibians.

VISUALS: Shedd staff and Alice Pham, an active participant of Shedd’s Teen Learning Lab, had the opportunity to meet and interact with Howard, a 2-year-old Great Pyrenees mix, Ron, a 3-year-old Boxer mix and Van, a 2-month-old Labrador Retriever mix, while donating enrichment toys to The Anti-Cruelty Society on Dec. 21. 

PHOTOS/VIDEO: High resolution photos are available for download:

Photo credit:©Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez 

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