Tree Planting, Alternative Transportation Use & Partnerships Help Zoo Reach Carbon Reduction Goals

Denver, CO (May 13, 2011)– Denver Zoo staff will celebrate their carbon reduction success by planting trees on May 14 at Sloan’s Lake and May 18 at Denver Zoo. The crew at the zoo has offset 9 tons of CO2 by using alternative transportation to commute to work and have reduced their use of single occupancy vehicle trips to work by 50 percent, compared to this time last year.

On May 14 at 8 a.m., nearly 40 zoo employees and their guests will join Denver Parks & Recreation’s volunteer tree planting event at Sloan’s Lake . Efforts will continue on May 18, at 11:30 a.m. when Denver Zoo’s Workplace Conservation Committee and staff from the zoo’s Rocky Mountain Chapter of the American Association of Zookeepers (AAZK) will plant trees in the Northern Shores play area.

“Planting trees is a great way to give back to our local community and further support our goals to offset carbon emissions. This is just one of many ways our employees are working to ensure a safe habitat for all creatures,” says Denver Zoo Sustainability Coordinator Jennifer Hale.

“Planting Trees at the zoo is our opportunity to participate in Polar Bear International’s Acres for the Atmosphere program. It’s a competition among professional zookeepers to support efforts at carbon reduction and raise awareness of the value of planting trees in support of the environment,” says Rocky Mountain AAZK Vice President and Denver Zoo Keeper Michael Murray.

A recognized leader in sustainability, Denver Zoo is committed to reducing its carbon footprint and has invested in this effort in many ways, including offering Eco-passes and incentives for employees to use alternative transportation. The zoo’s Wild Ride program has championed the use of alternative transportation by challenging a single employee to give up their automobile as a method of commuting to work. With just 6 weeks left in the year long commitment, Denver Zoo’s Director of Communication is posed to successfully complete the challenge. While employee meet-ups and transportation fairs have helped encourage more employees to join the cause.

The zoo also has developed two types of proprietary software to monitor and reduce carbon emissions. The zoo’s ECO-Wheels software tracks each employee’s use of transportation, while another software program manages the zoo’s purchasing, selecting products that have been individually screened for environmental, social, and economic values, as well as items that are manufactured close to home.

Last month, Denver Zoo also offset a month’s worth of the emissions generated from its employee transportation.

About Denver Zoo: Denver Zoo is home to 3,800 animals representing more than 650 species and is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). AZA accreditation assures the highest standards of animal care.

A leader in environmental action, Denver Zoo is dedicated to ensuring the safety of the environment in support of all species and is the first U.S. zoo to receive ISO 14001 certification for the entire facility and operations. This international certification ensures the zoo is attaining the highest environmental standards.

Since 1996, Denver Zoo has participated in 568 projects in 57 countries on all sevencontinents. In 2010 alone, Denver Zoo participated in 92 projects in 22 countries and five continents and more than $1 million in funds was spent by the zoo in support of animal conservation in the field.