Tag Archives: environment

Detroit Zoo Decks the Halls with Green this Holiday Season

ROYAL OAK, Mich. – The Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) is dreaming of a green Christmas – and Hanukkah and Kwanzaa – by incorporating elements of its Greenprint sustainability plan into Detroit Zoo events and operations this holiday season.

The Zoo’s Wild Lights holiday light display, held on select evenings through December 31, features more than five million energy-efficient LED lights illuminating buildings, trees and more than 100 animal sculptures on a trail through the front half of the Zoo. A 100-bulb string of LED lights uses the same electricity as 42 100-bulb strings of traditional lights.

“We’re very excited to present an even bigger and brighter Wild Lights display this year and even more so to do it in a green way,” said Ron Kagan, DZS Executive Director and CEO.

The DZS Green Team is on hand at Wild Lights to share green holiday tips, including demonstrations on how to upcycle common household trash and recycling items into bird feeders, tree ornaments and tabletop centerpieces. Guests can bring in broken holiday lights for recycling in exchange for a coupon toward a new strand of LED holiday lights. Continue reading


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A Personalit​y Study That is Turtly Amazing

UM-Flint Biologists Track the Blanding's Turtle.

UM-Flint Biologists Track the Blanding’s Turtle.

ROYAL OAK, Mich. – Maybe they just need to come out of their shells a bit.

Blanding’s turtles, native to the Midwest, can live to be 50-60 years old. Their hatchlings, however, are often preyed upon, primarily by raccoons.

As a continuation of an already three-year conservation effort focused on Blanding’s turtles, researchers at the Detroit Zoological Society (DZS)’s Center for Zoo Animal Welfare (CZAW) have embarked on a new plan to study the hatchlings’ personalities to determine how the various traits relate to survivability.

“While reintroduction programs are typically concerned with helping to preserve an entire species, sometimes this comes at the expense of individual animals that may not survive,” said Jeff Jundt, DZS Curator of Reptiles. “It is for this reason that researchers have begun to delve further into the factors that may predict success in reintroduction programs. It is believed that some behavioral factors such as locomotion, ability to acquire food, and personality may impact individual survival.” Continue reading

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Detroit Zoo Wraps Up Energy Efficiency Improvemen​t Project


ROYAL OAK, Mich. – As part of its Greenprint sustainability plan, the Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) has completed a 14-month energy efficiency improvement project at the Detroit Zoo.

The $2 million project, which began in September 2012, promises to save the Zoo nearly $275,000 in annual utility costs. The DZS’s performance contract with Johnson Controls, Inc. provides a guaranteed payback of its investment within seven years through savings of energy usage and related operational expenses.

“Being green is a fundamental value that reinforces our commitment to progressive resource management and environmental leadership,” said Ron Kagan, DZS Executive Director and CEO. “The energy and resource efficiencies realized through this project represent another big step on our green journey.”

Noteworthy examples of energy efficiency improvements at the Detroit Zoo include variable speed controls installed at the Arctic Ring of Life – something that wasn’t widely used in 2001 when the facility was built – resulting in a savings of nearly $55,000 a year. Electronic controls installed in various animal habitats where water runs non-stop will save tens of thousands of dollars annually.

The energy efficiency upgrades span more than 50 Zoo buildings and include installation of additional utility meters and low-flow toilets as well as rooftop unit upgrades and boiler control upgrades. A new automated building management system allows the Zoo to monitor the HVAC systems of multiple buildings from one location and make adjustments in real time based on actual conditions.

The improvements will result in an annual greenhouse gas reduction of 1,063 metric tons, equivalent to carbon dioxide emissions of 203 passenger vehicles or saving more than 11 million gallons of water a year.

The Greenprint is the DZS’s plan to refine and improve daily practices and facilities, develop new policies and programs and improve green literacy in the community. To learn more about the energy efficiency improvement project and other green initiatives, click here.

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Detroit Zoological Society Leads Expeditions To Peru


The Detroit Zoo

ROYAL OAK, Mich. – For the fifteenth year, the Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) is leading an expedition to the heart of the Peruvian rainforest to deliver school supplies to rural communities along the Amazon River.

From April 6 to 15, 2013, DZS staff members and volunteers from Michigan and around the country will deliver school supplies purchased with donations to the Peru Adopt-A-School program.

The volunteers – who travel to Peru at their own expense – will work with DZS staff passing out books, paper and supplies to hundreds of students in remote villages, enabling them to attend school and achieve a basic education with a focus on conservation.

“It is part of our mission to provide outstanding and unique educational opportunities to thousands of children in the Metro Detroit area. The Adopt-A-School program helps children in an underserved part of the world receive the important tools they need to further their education,” said DZS Executive Director Ron Kagan.

A second conservation expedition from April 13 to 22, 2013, will build simple water purification systems to provide clean drinking water to two established Amazon communities.

Donations for the Adopt-A-School program are accepted by the DZS on behalf of Conservacion de la Naturaleza Amazonica del Peru (CONAPAC). One hundred percent of every donation is used by CONAPAC to purchase school supplies in Iquitos, Peru, thus supporting the local economy, reducing purchasing costs and eliminating shipping costs.

During the 2011-12 school year, Peru Adopt-A-School donations provided more than 3,000 students and teachers with educational materials and training in 58 communities.

For more information or to make a donation to the Adopt-A-School program, contact DZS Curator of Education Claire Lannoye-Hall at clannoyehall@dzs.org or (248) 336-5803, or visit www.detroitzoo.org/adoptaschool.

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Detroit Zoo to host humane education workshop today

By Mike Fossano

Our friends at the Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) are hosting their annual “Sowing Seeds” humane education workshop today from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Ford Education Center.

Presented by the DZS’s Berman Academy for Humane Education, the goal of the workshop is to train educators to teach critical thinking about social justice, environmental ethics and animal protection to help demonstrate to students how decisions that they make can impact themselves, other people, other species and the Earth.

While the “Sowing Seeds” workshop is geared toward classroom teachers and community leaders, it is also open to students, animal management professionals, animal advocates and anyone else with an interest in humane education. Continue reading

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Stay Loyal to the Royal

A few obligations between the two of us have slowed the pace of posts, But we’re storming back strong with new posts about a plethora of topics that hopefully will get your head spinning.



By Jeffrey Buck

In December the Detroit Free Press published an article concerning a campaign boosting several Michigan based businesses, called Buy Michigan Now. I had originally set out to craft a follow up piece to my first entry, but it got put on the backburner due to a few other things that have been going on. However, since then I’ve kept up with many localized themes that have started up around town and will continue to write about them as they spring up.

I’m not shy to promote my fondness for buying things locally before I result to finding them in a large-chain-super-mega-giant (You know what I mean). I’m willing to spend a few extra dollars knowing that more of my money will be finding its way back into my local economy.

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