On July 25, 2023, the GRC hosted our latest GRCx Innovation Tour at the Franklin Park Zoo, managed and operated by Zoo New England. Participants had the unique opportunity to see a Climate Action Plan come to life among the exhibits and operations across the Boston Franklin Park Zoo’s 72-acre site. A recent graduate of the GRC’s Collaborative Climate Action Planning (CCAP) program, Zoo New England, the non-profit organization that operates the Franklin Park Zoo and Stone Zoo, produced a rigorous climate action plan that included the implementation of a series of mitigation goals, along with the optimization of energy efficiency for systems that safeguard animal health, visitor comfort, and staff comfort.
Led by Joshua Meyer, Curator of Horticulture and Sustainability, who recently completed the GRC’s CCAP program, and Bob Chabot, Chief Operating Officer, the walking tour of Franklin Park Zoo allowed participants to get a first-hand look at various initiatives, projects, and activities involving sustainability within the organization. Highlights of the walking tour included current and future renewable energy projects; sustainable water usage at the historic Rock Garden project (open to the public 2024); a sneak peak of the Zoo’s The African Experience $16 million dollar project; a food forest; a look at the Zoo’s electric shuttle bus that runs visitors back and forth from the T; a behind the scenes tour of waste and recycling streams; an overview of the Zoo’s draft climate action plan as well as the organization’s Pathway to Net Zero activities; and the horticulture nursery operations.