If you're a gardener looking for a natural boost that's unique and effective, look no further than New Bedford's Buttonwood Park Zoo. This summer, the zoo hosts a rather unconventional but highly beneficial online auction featuring buckets of nutrient-rich elephant manure, cleverly named "Elephant Gold."

What Makes Elephant Manure Special?

Elephant manure isn't your average compost. It's packed with organic matter rich in essential nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium — key elements for healthy plant growth. This natural fertilizer is particularly prized for enhancing soil fertility and promoting robust plant development.

Meet the Generous Donors: Ruth and Emily

Courtesy Katie Sherman/Buttonwood Park Zoo
Courtesy Katie Sherman/Buttonwood Park Zoo

The stars of this unique auction are Ruth and Emily, the zoo's longtime beloved elephants. Ruth, approaching her 66th birthday, and Emily, celebrating her 60th this fall, have graciously contributed to this initiative. As some of the oldest cared-for elephants in the country, they continue to play a vital role not only in the zoo but also in supporting local gardening enthusiasts.

How You Can Participate

Here's how it works: There are 10 buckets of Elephant Gold available for purchase, priced at $50 each. Whether you're a seasoned gardener or just starting out, one of these buckets could be the key to transforming your garden into a flourishing oasis. You can bid on one or all 10. Every purchase directly supports Buttonwood Park Zoo's ongoing conservation and educational efforts.

Interested bidders have until June 27.

More information is available on the zoo website.

Your garden — and Ruth and Emily — will thank you.

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