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Dane County Office of Energy & Climate Change

Henry Vilas Zoo Employees Opt for Active Transportation


By Sarah Kohlbeck

Zoo staff posing with their bikes

Henry Vilas Zoo has achieved Climate Champion status in the Employee Commuting category for their efforts in encouraging employees to use active modes of transportation to and from work.

One of ten sustainable operations identified for implementation by the Henry Vilas Zoo in their Zoo Sustainable Operations Plan Implementation Report included rewarding employees for non-single occupancy vehicle commutes. Currently under discussion is an internal incentive program to “encourage and reinforce staff that take alternative methods of transportation.”

The zoo is also planning on designating parking spots for staff who carpool to work as part of their internal incentives program.

However, staff are already showing that alternative transportation is a priority.

In a statement from this report, “Currently two staff members utilize the County discount for public transportation, three staff members carpool, and fourteen ride a bike to the zoo. A total of 48% staff utilize alternative transportation, up from 33% last year.”

Jess Thompson, the Conservation Education Coordinator said "Henry Vilas Zoo’s mission is to inspire guests to take action that makes our planet a great place for people and animals to live. Our staff is committed to walking the talk… (literally!) by walking, biking and carpooling on their commute."

Along with “walking the talk” and demonstrating green transportation methods, the zoo also offers discounts at their gift shop and Glacier Grille to guests who have a Bicycle Benefits sticker on their helmet in order to encourage guests who travel to the zoo via bicycle.

Along with practicing and promoting green transportation, the zoo implements many other sustainable practices including LEED standardized buildings, cell phone recycling, solar power, and sustainable energy and water use.

Want to read more about the Henry Vilas Zoo’s sustainability efforts? Click here!

Read the Climate Champions press release for award details and check out the excellent work of all our champions on the Climate Champions map

You can earn recognition for your organization's efforts by applying for our Climate Champion awards.

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