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The Queens Zoo is going green and it is doing it with human power instead of horsepower.
The Flushing Meadows Corona Park institution is transitioning from using electric-powered golf carts to more eco-friendly and heart-healthy heavy duty tricycles bought from an Ozone Park cycling company.
“The staff has taken to them very well,” said Queens Zoo Director and Animal Curator Dr. Scott Silver. “I was actually surprised by how quickly they took to them.”
The tricycles, which look like adult versions of the typical toddler toy, are capable of carrying several hundred pounds of supplies and allowing workers at the Queens Zoo to use them for the majority of their work around the facility.
“This morning I had to medicate one of the sea lions, so I loaded up a fish bucket, some treats, some medication and off I went,” said zookeeper Marcy Brown.
Brown was one of the first staffers at the zoo to start using the trikes when they were purchased from Ozone Park-based Worksman Cycles two months ago.
“I saw this and said to myself this is going to solve all my problems,” Brown said. “At first nobody wanted to ride them except me, but now everyone wants to.”
Brown has already started to personalize the work trike, too, adding a bell that reads, “I love my bike.”
“Did I pay for that or did you?” Silver asked jokingly.
“Oh, you did, and the tassels are coming,” Brown replied.
Beyond being a new toy for the zoo staff, the tricycles also serve a cost-saving and environmentally friendly purpose. Silver said one repair on one of the old heavy duty golf carts would be about the cost of one of the tricycles, plus the zoo expects to save about $2,000 a year in electricity costs.
“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?”
The zoo currently only has two of the tricycles in use and will still use the golf carts for extra-heavy loads, but Silver said he will almost certainly purchase more in the coming months.
“I’m satisfied now,” he said. “I’ll definitely buy a couple more soon.”
City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst) also endorsed the new vehicles.
“Queens is an amazing borough, populated by residents and business owners who truly care about their community and the environment,” said Ferreras. “This is a wonderful partnership put forth by the Wildlife Conservation Society, a leading cultural institution, and an established area business which share the same passion for protecting the environment [and] improving the quality of life of everyone who lives here.”
Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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