Better parking at the zoo and help for the environment. Is that possible?
The Detroit Zoo says yes and is hard at work to make that happen.
For the past few years, the zoo’s attendance has risen to the point where each year breaks records. With this in mind, it plans to add another 215 spots near the new Polk Penguin Conservation Center and use permeable pavement to reduce storm water runoff and improve water quality by filtering pollutants.
Permeable pavement absorbs water and prevents excess storm water from damaging sewer systems and minimizes underground pollutants.
This is not the zoo’s first experience with the substance. It used it for walkways at the Cotton Family Wolf Wilderness.
In step with its Greenprint initiative – an award-winning roadmap for sustainable business practices – the Detroit Zoological Society chose this material over traditional asphalt to be as eco-friendly as possible. As a result, it will have the largest permeable parking lot in Oakland County.
“This lot represents another way we can reduce our ecological footprint,” says Ron Kagan, DZS executive director and CEO. “In all that we do, our goal is to make the most sustainable choices and encourage others to join us on our green journey.”
This is no new feat for the zoo. Other efforts to make it as aligned with nature as possible include discontinuing the sale of bottled water on zoo grounds, which keeps 60,000 plastic bottles out of the waste stream annually; powering Detroit Zoo operations with 100% renewable electricity from wind farms, and building an anaerobic digester, which annually will convert 400 tons of animal manure into methane-rich gas to power the zoo’s animal hospital.
Convenience and eco-friendly behavior sit hand-in-hand at the Detroit Zoo.