Lake Superior Zoo Goes Green

By KBJR News 1

August 4, 2010 Updated Aug 4, 2010 at 3:16 PM CDT

An environmental goal for each of us is to reduce our carbon footprints. Today's technology has made those steps more economically feasible. One step that's working for a growing number of people is using the sun to heat your home's water supply.

At the Lake Superior Zoo, they have successfully adopted this green practice in their animal barn.

"They provided us with solar tubes over in the barn area, which allowed us to store hot water tanks in there for water use. As the barn never had hot water before. That allowed us too clean the barn all year round and allow for running water and hot water for us to use."

The hot water not only makes cleaning the barn easier, but it even allows the animals to get hot showers, even in the middle of winter.

With that success under their belts the zoo is focusing on further steps to reduce their carbon footprint.

"Here at the Lake Superior Zoo they are keeping in touch with the environment by using the power of the sun to help power their trains and even their automobiles."

In the 1960's and 70's, a steam powered train was used to transport guests around the park. Today the train is completely electric, giving tours on a daily basis powered by batteries run entirely with solar energy.

"We thought a train would be a perfect addition. Being electric it fit in with our theme"

The Zoo's fleet of transport carts are also electric.

"My staff uses them during their daily day to day operations, and when they are moving from their animal care to their area that they are working at. They are transporting food, waste, and the animal to the care facility."

Zoo spokespeople say in the 8 years they're used electric carts they've required little maintenance, needing only to be re-charged at night.

With these solar practices, the Lake Superior Zoo has become a cleaner, quieter, greener place for both visitors and residents.