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Bronx Zoo opens WCS Center for Global Conservation

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The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Center for Global Conservation, designed by FXFOWLE Architects, is a state-of-the-art, 40,000-square-foot “green” facility that will serve as WCS’s command center for its conservation work worldwide, including in North America. It is now the home of more than 100 WCS conservationists, researchers and support staff working to save wildlife and wild places. The facility’s design elements represent the Wildlife Conservation Society’s commitment to sustainable practices by means of environmentally-sound architecture and operations.

“The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Center for Global Conservation demonstrates our leadership, and that of the great City of New York, in both conservation and innovative ‘green’ building design and energy efficiency,” said Dr. Steven E. Sanderson, president and CEO of the Wildlife Conservation Society. “The opening of this center marks another important milestone in our 114-year history to save wildlife and wild places, which first began right here at the Bronx Zoo with our efforts to save the American bison. We want to thank The Starr Foundation, the City of New York, including Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Speaker Christine Quinn, along with U.S. Rep. Jose Serrano, and our Trustees and donors for supporting this project.”

The WCS Center for Global Conservation has been awarded the Gold level of LEED Certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) by the U.S. Green Building Council. The center represents a synthesis of state-of-the-art technologies in energy efficiency and water management. The U.S. Green Building Council also recently awarded a Gold LEED Certification to WCS’s Madagascar! exhibit at the Bronx Zoo.

The WCS Center for Global Conservation’s east-west orientation takes full advantage of natural lighting (reducing the need for artificial illumination). The microturbine plant that generates electricity for the building captures heat in water, which is then used for heating needs. Consequently, the building’s energy consumption is some 48 percent less than a traditionally powered building of similar size.

The striking building is designed to harmonize with the landscape in the northern part of the science campus. The three-story structure was carefully located to maximize its relationship with the existing trees in the park. It incorporates elements of nearby rock outcroppings and the natural topography, as well as renewable and recycled materials. The building includes a green roof, an 18-inch layer of local grasses and shrubs, which helps to blend the center into the landscape and reduces temperatures inside the building. The project was recognized by the Public Design Commission of the City of New York with its Design Award.

The project was funded through the efforts New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, New York City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, U.S. Rep. Jose Serrano, The Starr Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).

“The Starr Foundation’s priorities in education, health, international policy, and the environment mirror WCS’s cross-cutting initiatives,” said Florence A. Davis, President of The Starr Foundation. “We are pleased to support this extraordinary new green facility on the C.V. Starr Science Campus, which will advance WCS’s vision of a sustainable future for wildlife and human communities worldwide.”

Added New York City Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate Levin: “Thanks to a terrific public-private partnership among WCS, the City, federal agencies and private funders, WCS boasts a new, ‘green’ home for its conservation programs. This new facility is a great example of how our cultural institutions continue to set the bar for sustainability in New York City.”

The C.V. Starr Science Campus where the new building sits at the Bronx Zoo includes WCS’s Wildlife Health Center, headquarters for the Global Health Program, and will soon include additional facilities for a special care unit and animal husbandry facilities.

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