Why Compost When You Can Feed Animals At The Zoo?


The Utica Boilermaker 15k took place yesterday in Utica, New York. Among the many sustainability initiatives implemented over race weekend, this one stands out as a very creative solution to what to with leftover food that cannot be donated to relief agencies. I’ll let Boilermaker’s sustainability guru Paul Macenroe tell the story:

It is now almost 4 in the afternoon and I just got back from the Utica Zoo and had the best experience of my sustainability career. I took 207 pounds of cut up fruit to the zoo, plus 5 extra bags of ice. Apparently on hot days they mix the food with ice to give it texture and to improve hydration (who knew they would have taken all of our leftover ice).

We dropped off most of the food in the kitchen and took an assortment with us to the Children’s Zoo with a Zoo Educator and some animals and set up an education event.

Several hundred children and adults stopped by. I did a short talk on sustainability and why the Boilermaker was donating food to the zoo. Since it has already been cut up it can not be given to humans (food Banks, etc.) One enterprising 7 year old said we could compost the fruit. I said yes but wouldn’t it be better to feed it to the animals first before we put it on the zoo’s compost pile. That way we get two uses for it. She agreed.

The kids had a chance to feed some of the animals the food. The zoo educator talked about the animals and the kids were able to pet and feed them.

We were there for about an hour and half.

Out of town Boilermaker runners and their families made up a large contingent of this crowd. My favorite quote was from one father of three from Erie, PA. He said at every turn I love this race more and more. You amaze me with your total inclusiveness.

This feel good story was also covered by local Utica TV station WKTV.

July 15th, 2013 | | Innovation, Resource Management