Asheboro, NC - The North Carolina Zoo is teaming up with Polar Bears International (PBI), the world's leading polar bear conservation group, to celebrate International Polar Bear Day on Wednesday, February 27.

As a member of PBI's Arctic Ambassador Center network, the N.C. Zoo is asking the Piedmont area to take part in the "Thermostat Challenge" to help raise awareness of how our daily actions impact the polar bear's sea ice habitat.

In support of the effort on February 27, N.C. Zoo polar bear keepers will staff an information table from 1:15 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. at the Seal Exhibit to inform visitors about the plight of wild polar bears whose icy hunting grounds are being lost due to global warming.

The zoo is also partnering with Progress Energy for the second annual Energy Efficiency Campaign. Area families can fill out a home energy report available on the Progress Energy website at and be entered to win a one-year family membership from the N.C. Zoological Society good for a year's free zoo admission and other benefits. The Energy Efficiency Campaign will kick off on International Polar Bear Day and run until Earth Day, April 22. You can visit Progress Energy's website for more information.

PBI and the N.C. Zoo are also inviting families, schools and businesses to "Bundle Up For Polar Bears" and join them in adjusting their thermostats a few degrees on February 27 to lower carbon emissions and help save polar bears. The public is also encouraged to purchase and install programmable thermostats or take additional steps to help conserve energy.

"Saving energy, which reduces our carbon footprint, can slow and even reverse global warming, which causes sea ice to melt," said Kathryn Foat, PBI's Vice President of Conservation Education and Stewardship Strategies. "Polar bears rely on the sea ice for reaching their prey. Without sea ice, there will be no polar bears. By taking part in this initiative, we can show our commitment to take action on climate change."

As a member of PBI's Arctic Ambassador Center network, the North Carolina Zoo is one of more than 50 leading zoos, museums, science centers, and aquariums that conduct programs to educate the public about polar bears and climate change and that play a leadership role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in their communities.

The N.C. Zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, John E. Skvarla, III, Secretary; Pat McCrory, Governor.