In 2002, the Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden zoo staff began to monitor the salamander population at Wesselman Woods Nature Preserve. During this survey three salamander species known to occur at WWNP were found to be persisting in small populations. Spring migrating salamanders are vulnerable to being killed by vehicles while crossing park roads to breeding pools. The Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden zoo management recommended to the Evansville Parks and Recreation Board in 2003 that measures be taken to protect these animals during their seasonal migration. They approved and installed gates on roadways crossed by the salamanders. As a result park roads are now closed between February 14th and April 1st each year. Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden continues to monitor the populations. In 2006 MPZBG provided funding to the Wesselman Nature Society to construct a box tunnel under a section of park road to create a passage in an area where it was impractical to close the roads. Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden staff checks to make sure park staff are installing and maintaining barriers annually.
Howell Wetlands is owned by the City of Evansville and administered through the Wessleman Nature Society. This wetland is an oxbow of the Ohio River and is approximately 22 acres in size. Remnant populations of locally uncommon plants, including passion vine and bald cypress, persist here. It was acquired as a city park after several decades of illegal dumping. Reconstructed areas are now being restored with wetland plants that have been collected from propagules collected at Howell. MPZBG raises money at annual plant sales to fund this project. In 2004, Jennifer Keller conducted weekly field surveys of the vascular plants in the wetlands during her internship at Mesker Park Zoo & Botanic Garden. In 2005 Ms. Keller finished the field survey of the vascular plants in the wetlands. She reposited additional herbarium specimens at the University of Southern Indiana and published a report of the study's findings in the Proceedings of the Indiana Academy of Science. The MPZBG Conservation Committee continues to assist with long-term restoration plans.
Beginning in 2006, MPZBG became involved in the restoration of the Indiana State Nature Preserve called Prairie Creek Barrens in Davies County Indiana. It is the only example of a sand prairie under state protection in Indiana. In spring and fall of 2006, MPZBG staff assisted Division of Nature Preserve staff in the installation of 10,000 locally adapted prairie plants that were grown for this project from seed collected near the site. 2000 of the plants were grown in MPZBG’s greenhouse facilities.