Zoo Partners with Local Bike Business to Help Save the Environment

Flushing, N.Y. (August 18, 2009) - The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Queens Zoo is continuing its commitment to protecting the environment – this time through pedal power. The zoo has replaced electric-powered golf carts with heavy-duty, human-powered tricycles to transport equipment and animal food and supplies throughout the 11-acre facility.

This eco-friendly move is environmentally and financially sound. The cost of maintaining these fuel-free bikes is far less than that of the carts. The zoo expects to save approximately 3,000 hours of electric vehicle usage a year, and $2,000 in vehicle repair costs annually.

The cycles are from Worksman Cycles, an eco-friendly company based in Ozone Park, Queens. Worskman Cycles manufactures zero-carbon footprint cycles in a solar-powered production facility. The company is actually the oldest bicycle manufacturer in the USA, and its industrial tricycles and bicycles are used around the world by leading companies and organizations.

“It’s wonderful to see our cycles in use at the zoo, right here in our own backyard,” said Wayne Sosin, president of Worksman Cycles. “What’s better than an eco-friendly zoo to demonstrate the benefits of no fuel, no fume vehicles?”

Zoo officials are excited, not only about the green benefits of using the cycles, but working with and helping a local business.

"We're hoping our use of bicycles will set a precedent for other New Yorkers to do the same," said Dr. Scott Silver, director of the Queens Zoo. "We're also really excited about partnering with a business in the community that shares our motivation to help preserve and protect the environment."

The zoo has two cycles, each constructed with three wheels that allow for one person to ride at a time. Both have a cart attached to the back that can hold items such as buckets, tools, and other small-to medium-sized items. Zoo staff will still keep motorized carts handy for transporting items that are too large or heavy for the bikes to handle.

City Council Members are praising this eco-friendly partnership:

“Queens is an amazing borough, populated by residents and business owners who truly care about their community and the environment,” said City Councilmember Julissa Ferreras. “This is a wonderful partnership put forth by the Wildlife Conservation Society, a leading cultural institution, and an established area business who share the same passion for protecting the environment, improving the quality of life of everyone who lives here.”

“It is great to see two Queens-based institutions like the Queens Zoo and Worksman Cycles supporting each other and at the same helping the community and the environment,” said City Councilmember Thomas White. “I hope this encourages other local businesses to become more eco-aware in any way possible. Even small changes within their establishment can help make a difference.”  

Using bikes is not the only way the zoo is doing its part to stay eco-clean. Maintenance staff is now using battery-operated cleaning products that ionize tap water to help keep surfaces dirt-and dust-free.

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) – the zoo’s parent organization – is working to reduce its footprint on an even larger scale.  It recently opened two green buildings at its Bronx Zoo campus: the new Madagascar! exhibit, which opened in June, 2008, and the Center for Global Conservation, which will be debuted later this year. Both achieved a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. The LEED Rating System was designed by the U.S. Green Building Council to encourage and facilitate the development of more sustainable buildings.  WCS also helped broker one of the largest carbon sales in Madagascar, where over 9 million tons of carbon have been offered in order to preserve the pristine Makira forest.

Special Note to Media: We are offering to reporters rides on the new cycles as they come to the zoo to shoot, photograph or write about this story.

Barbara Russo, 212-439-6527

The Queens Zoo is located at 53-51 111th Street in Flushing Meadow’s Corona Park and is open 365 days a year. Zoo hours are 10am to 5 pm weekdays, till 5:30 p.m. weekend. Admission is $7 for adults, $4 for seniors, $3 for children ages 3-12, and free for children under 3. For general information, please call (718) 271-1500, or visit our web site at www.queenszoo.com

The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide.  We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo.  Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony.  WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth. www.wcs.org

Special Note to the Media: If you would like to guide your readers or viewers to a web link where they can make donations in support of helping save wildlife and wild places, please direct them to: www.wcs.org/donation