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Winter wonderland goes green

In an effort to become more environmentally friendly the Bronx Zoo has discontinued the long standing nighttime holiday lights display and replaced it with a daytime extravaganza.

For many years, Bronxites and tourists from the tri-state area have flocked to the Bronx Zoo during the evening hours of the holiday season to walk through its glowing winterland and winter itself.

The new display, Hess Presents the Bronx Zoo’s Wild Winterland, will take place during the hours of 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., every Saturday and Sunday beginning December 6 through the 21, and everyday from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. between December 22 and January 4,

By switching the event to daylight hours, the Wildlife Conservation Society will be reducing the greenhouse gas emissions from its facility, in compliance with the proposal by Mayor Michael Bloomberg for ‘PlaNYC: A Greener, Greater New York.’ This initiative’s goal is to gradually reduce the city’s carbon footprint by 30% by the year 2030.

“The transformation of our holiday celebration into Wild Winterland is part of an ongoing process of ideas and strategies to reduce consumption and improve efficiency by our organization,” noted Wildlife Conservation Society’s senior vice president of public affairs, John Cavelli. “With the support of our partners, we plan to continue a great holiday tradition and our pro-environment tradition at WCS.”

Many of the WCS’s sponsors, such as PepsiCo, which has sponsored the Holiday Lights for over ten years, share in the enthusiasm and support for this environmental effort.

“As a company, we’re committed to environmental sustainability and are thrilled that our partners at the Wildlife Conservation Society and its Bronx Zoo headquarters share this same passion. By moving the event to daytime hours, we’re providing an even better show that’s now lighter on the environment,” noted Mario Mercurio, division vice president, east division sales, Pepsi-Cola North America.

According to the WCS’s Green Team, the estimated electrical use during the Holiday Lights has been 650-750 kilowatts per hour, running 3,500 kilowatts per night, equaling about two metric tons of CO2 emissions per night. For the entire holiday season, usually running approximately 33 nights, the Bronx Zoo emited about 66 metric tons of carbon emissions, which roughly totaled the annual emissions for a three-person household.

The WCS has added new events and programs to include in Wild Winterland to keep the Bronx Zoo holiday tradition great.

Storytelling at the Children’s Zoo, reindeer on Astor Court, ice carving demonstrations, costume characters, horse-drawn wagon rides, choral performances, s’mores stations, and sea lion feedings will be just some of the activities to draw the guests. By moving the event to the daytime, more animals can now partake in the festivities.

For more information on the Wildlife Conservation Society or the Bronx Zoo and Wild Winterland visit www.bronxzoo.com.

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