…where staff members and volunteers are committed to lessening their environmental impact on the Earth. The Detroit Zoological Society has developed a unique, green roadmap called the Greenprint. This comprehensive strategic plan guides our operations and is the plan by which we refine and improve our facilities and daily practices, develop new policies and programs and improve green literacy in our community.
The word “green” is widely used to describe environmentally-conscious actions and programs. The Detroit Zoo and Belle Isle Nature Zoo define green as a fundamental value that moves us toward our goal of environmentally neutral operations, including through energy and resource efficiencies, carbon dioxide emission reductions, stewardship of resources, and knowledge of and sensitivity to our impacts on the environment.
The following actions are currently being taken at the Detroit Zoo and Belle Isle Nature Zoo to achieve our green vision:
• We have a Green Team that acts on and suggests green initiatives.
• The Education department developed Shades of Green, a guide that provides suggestions for lessening our ecological footprint.
• Our concessions service, Service Systems Associates operates a Tier2 Green Certified Restaurant at the Arctic Cafe.
• We have a full-time Manager of Environmental Services to manage current and future green initiatives.
• Gas-powered golf carts were replaced with solar/electric hybrid carts.
• We recycle metal, glass, plastic, paper, cardboard, light bulbs, clothing, IT equipment, cell phones and inkjet cartridges.
• Green Seal cleaning products are used by staff and volunteers.
• Many staff members ride bicycles or walk instead of using motorized transportation.
• Diesel vehicles were switched over to biodiesel.
• The Life Sciences staff reuses boxes, bags, paper towel rolls and other items for enrichment projects for our living residents.
• The Belle Isle Nature Zoo has a low flow irrigation system for the wildlife garden.
• The Environmental Services department provided reusable water bottles for staff.
• Our Education department installed rain barrels and planted a rain garden.
• Touchless sensor faucets and low flow toilets are in some of the restrooms.
• Traditional hot water heaters are being replaced with tankless hot water heaters.
• A propane powered mower is used on the grounds of the Detroit Zoo.
• Staff members are encouraged to use electronic communication and documents instead of paper, and print on both sides of office paper.
In 2014, the Detroit Zoological Society plans to introduce a 2020 zero-waste goal, advance the bottled water phase-out program, apply for funding of an anaerobic digester to manage organic waste, host the 2nd annual GreenFest (a two-day event celebrating Earth Day), advance green literacy in southeast Michigan, continue to apply for funding of green projects and research renewable energy systems, among other green initiatives.