Your Green Life: "Green Paws Step Forward at The Zoo"

By KBJR News 1

October 25, 2012 Updated Oct 25, 2012 at 7:28 AM CST

Duluth, MN
The Lake Superior Zoo has had a challenging summer in the wake of the June Floods... but that hasn't prevented them from continuing their effort to become a more sustainable business.
They have already added solar voltaic panels for power, and solar thermal panels to create hot water, but they are still adding where they can.

"We have a green roof that captures water runoff by absorbing it through the plants that are on the roof. And this year we started a vegetable garden to supplement our animals diets with more fresh, local produce." Said Sarah Wilcox, the Director of Education at the Zoo.

The zoo benefits by buying less food, and the animals love the fresh produce. They also planted apple trees, a sustainable treat almost all the animals can enjoy

Maicie Sykes, the Lead Zookeeper told me, "The apples are fed out to a lot of our animals. Our brown bears, a lot of our smaller mammals, our rodents, such as our porcupine and a lot of our parrots too."

But the green progress doesn't only benefit the animals, but also the consumer. In the gift shop customers have the option of buying fair trade products that are all made by hand.

"I think one of the things that a lot of people don't notice about sustainability is that there's a human element to it. The whole idea behind it is that if people's basic needs aren't being met they're not going to care a whole lot about the environment and what they are doing to it." Said Susan Wolniakowski, the Director of Guest Services at the Lake Superior Zoo.

Organizations promote fair trade products helping the producer, the consumer, and the environment.
But the strides for sustainability will continue thanks to some training from the Sustainable Twin Ports Program.

Sarah Wilcox says "We were very excited to complete the Sustainable Twin Ports Program this year and we can now continue to make more sustainable steps here at the zoo."

In the garden for the animals they grew everything from tomatoes to hot peppers. What animal would eat a jalapeño pepper? Parrots actually enjoy the spicy foods!

Meteorologist Adam Lorch