Archive: Detroit Zoological Society Wins Top AZA Green Award

September 24, 2015

ROYAL OAK, Mich., 

The Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) has received the coveted Green Award from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA). The top honor for best sustainable business practices was presented Sept. 20, 2015, at the AZA Annual Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The award recognizes green programs that exist institution-wide in the 229 AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums to reduce the environmental impact of an organization from a business operations standpoint.

“It’s an honor to have our sustainability practices recognized as the best in the zoo and aquarium world, and we’re proud to put our conservation mission into action as a model for our profession and our community,” said DZS Executive Director and CEO Ron Kagan. “Every member of our staff, volunteer corps and board is a true champion of our green journey.”

The DZS last week announced the completion of its program to discontinue the sale of bottled water at the Detroit Zoo, helping to keep more than 60,000 single-use bottled water containers out of landfills annually. The organization is also building the first anaerobic digester in Michigan and the first zoo-based system of its kind in the country. The biodigester will compost animal and organic food waste while capturing methane to be used as a renewable energy source to help power the Zoo’s animal hospital. Additionally, the DZS has invested $3 million into energy efficiency projects throughout Zoo grounds, which will result in savings of nearly $275,000 in annual utility costs.

These and other sustainability initiatives fall under the umbrella of the DZS’s Greenprint – a strategic plan to refine and improve daily practices and facilities at the Detroit Zoo and Belle Isle Nature Zoo, develop new policies and programs, and improve green literacy in the community.