In honor of Earth Day’s 45th anniversary, Delaware North’s parks and resorts celebrated with a variety of engaging activities that support and inspire this year’s theme “It is Our Turn to Lead”. Delaware North operates in some of the world’s most pristine environments and continues to lead the way with GreenPath®, an innovative stewardship initiative that encompasses environmental management, interpretation and education programs, facility and artifact care, healthy living, community involvement, and ongoing commitment to corporate social responsibility. Earth Day is the perfect time to celebrate success, share stories, leverage partnerships, and engage people for a sustainable future.
Fresno Reservations is Delaware North’s central reservations office in Fresno, California. This year’s Earth Day consisted of the Dirty Sock Contest (socks were put on the tailpipes of participating cars while the cars ran for about 60 seconds) the dirtiest sock was the winner and the car’s driver received a $45 Jiffy Lube Gift Card for an oil change. A vegetarian feast potluck was a delicious way for staff to enjoy lunch, compete, and attain recognition for their cooking skills. How-to interactive demonstrations included seed planting and the reuse of toilet paper rolls to make I-pod speakers, now that is creative! A clothing drive benefited a local women’s shelter.
The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake is located in Geneva, Ohio. This 109-room conference and event facility is located in the heart of northeast Ohio’s wine country. Delaware North employees from the Lodge will celebrate Earth Day with a cleanup of Geneva State Park on May 2. The team will work with local scout troops and all interested community members. The Lodge is partnering with Connect 534, a local entity composed of businesses along State Route 534, whose goal is to support the community and encourage locals to get involved. Prior to the cleanup, volunteers will enjoy refreshments accompanied by a presentation about Earth Day and the Lodge’s contributions.
Gideon Putnam Resort is located in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. This 120-room conference and event space is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Earth Day 2015 is the Gideon’s eighth annual event celebrated April 27 with St. Mary’s School in Saratoga Spa State Park. Twenty-one 3rd-grade students cleaned up the park and planted a tree on The Gideon Putnam grounds. A New York State Parks Educator led a nature walk through the Saratoga Spa State Park and conducted a hands-on field activity, Let’s Talk about Trees, to teach students about tree identification, common species, and historical uses. Delaware North provided a lunch for the students following the Earth Day activities.
Grand Canyon National Park is located in Arizona. Delaware North provides retail, grocery, and lodging services in the park and operates a General Store in nearby Tusayan, a gateway community to the park. Delaware North employees and guests participated in the park’s Earth Day celebration at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center with the U.S. National Park Service and park partners. Earth Day activities were interactive and educational including a bag toss game and 70 reusable water bottles were given to participants. Those who answered correctly to sustainability trivia questions were entered into a raffle and four lucky people won one of four prizes: a pair of shoes or hiking boots, a backpack, a pair of trekking poles, and a $200 gift certificate for Native American jewelry at the Desert View Trading Post. A sustainable retail display highlighted select products, produce, and reusable bags – all of which served as giveaways for sustainable products. A display and musical rap song celebrated Delaware North’s new partnership with Roots of Good Earth Soils; the company begins diverting organic waste from the waste stream this summer!
Kalaloch Lodge is located in Forks, Washington. Set high on an Olympic Peninsula promontory overlooking a wild stretch of Pacific Northwest coast, Kalaloch Lodge is a classic seaside retreat with full access to the pristine wilderness and recreation at Olympic National Park. This year’s Earth Day event was kicked off on April 22 with a clean-up of a two-mile stretch of highway along 101, one mile north and one mile south of Kalaloch Lodge. In partnership with the National Park Service and Coast Savers, and Delaware North hosted a clean-up of the beach and a picnic for volunteers. The goal of the clean-up is to alleviate the problem of coastal debris by scheduling multiple “clean the beach” events, and this year’s event on April 25 was the largest of the year.
Kennedy Space Center Visitors Center is located in Florida. Delaware North hosted an Earth Day event out of this world, the largest celebration to date! More than 50 exhibitors were on display at the Countdown Café and the Rocket Garden, including Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Canaveral National Seashore, The Florida Wildlife Hospital, Brevard Zoo, CPI Solar Technologies, the U.S. Soybean Board, and many others.
The famous rocket garden is now home to a butterfly garden, planted in partnership with Delaware North and Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Guests and employees were given the opportunity to release butterflies into their new home.
NASA and various motor companies such as General Motors, Elio Motors, Nissan, Cadillac, and Polaris displayed the future of alternative fuel vehicles some of which looked the same from the exterior while others looked very different. Alternative power sources included electricity, compressed natural gas, and hydrogen.
FIRST® robotics team and their recycling robot was on display demonstrating the importance of recycling.
At NASA Central, series of experts presented current efforts to solve environmental challenges.
- Key note speaker, Astronaut Story Musgrave’s presentation In Touch, and in Love with the Cosmos—the Heavens, the Earth, and all the Other Creatures on the Journey provided a unique perspective of Earth as seen from space, the air and the ground and the ecological design, engineering and creation of sustainable and green landscapes how NASA Earth Science Missions and technology spinoffs help scientists and farmers better care for the planet.
- Marie Zanowick Bourgeois, an environmental engineer and biomimicry specialist from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, shared new ways of living that benefit life on Earth now and for future generations.
- Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy, the director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and John Dodson, a farmer from Halls, Tennessee, explained how NASA developed technology to benefit today’s farming.
Delaware North’s entire team wore Earth Day t-shirts in honor of their Earth Day celebration!
The Visitor Complex is implementing and planning to further green their operation by expanding and improving their recycling program to investing in alternative fueled vehicles. Therrin Protze, President of Kennedy stated that, “We actually purchased a compressed natural gas bus and we’re doing a prototype which is going to be assessed and we’re looking at hydrogen and some other possible fuels as well,” The intent is to replace the entire fleet within 18 to 24 months.
Niagara Falls State Park is located in Niagara Falls, New York. Delaware North provides visitor services, including food and retail. Earth Day will be celebrated in partnership with New York State Parks on May 7. Area sixth-grade students from Klafas Magnet School will be provided with an overview of Earth Day and actions they can take to help the environment. Students will enjoy interpretive tours of the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center and Cave of the Winds. Students will learn about alternative energy sources such as the solar panels used at the Discovery Center, eco-friendly vehicles from the New York Power Authority, and actions they can take to help the environment. Following a Delaware North-provided lunch, students will take a trolley to Goat Island, where they will plant native tree species in the park.
Peaks of Otter Lodge is located in Virginia along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The lodge hosted their second annual event in partnership with the National Park Service, the local community of Bedford, and various partners:
- The National Park Service provided interpretive information about area flora and fauna as well as a touch table of animal furs and bones.
- Produce Source gave out apples for free.
- Bedford Solid Waste focused on landfills and the importance to reduce the amount of waste sent to them by source reduction, reuse, and recycling.
- A local artist showed guests how to dye silk scarves with eco-friendly dyes.
- Wine Tasting with Trinity Oaks wine was present and they plant a tree every time a bottle of wine is sold.
Delaware North provided hands-on activities for children to make their very own homemade birder feeders from pine cones, recycled milk jugs, and cardboard from toilet paper rolls. The Environmental Manager at Peaks of Otter shared information about GreenPath and company initiatives to support Earth Day every day. The Chef also created an Earth Day menu making an extra effort to use local ingredients; a highlight was a very special desert, dirt cake – with a gummy worm inside!
Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park are located in California. A combined Earth Day Fair was celebrated April 18 at Grant Grove in Kings Canyon. Park partners and vendors presented interactive educational and interpretive opportunities:
- Sugar woods crafts demonstrated their process to make products from sustainable tree trimmings.
- Central Valley Snacks gave away samples of their delicious earth friendly dried fruit and veggies.
- Mid Valley Disposal’s display provided information and prizes about recycling and composting.
- Jonsteen gave away baby samplings and germination kits for various tree species and discussed planting in appropriate areas.
- California Sun promoted sustainable products such as Certified Organic and Fair Trade products.
- PG&E shared energy conservation tips and gave away prizes
- Community Services Employment Training (CSET) brought their recycling mascot, recycling wheel, and spirit to educated guests about waste and recycling initiatives.
Shenandoah National Park encompasses part of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. Delaware North operates lodging in the park, including Skyland Resort, Big Meadows Lodge and Lewis Mountain Cabins. It also operates Spottswood and Pollock Dining Rooms, concessions and several gift shops. On Earth Day, employees participated in a litter pick at Skyland and the Chef prepared a special menu for guests focused on local and sustainable food.
Yellowstone National Park is located primarily in Wyoming. Delaware North operates 12 Yellowstone General Stores, provides visitors with retail and food and beverage services while they visit the world’s first national park. The Yellowstone General Stores celebrated Earth Day by eliminating single serve plastic water bottles for the day and offering a free reusable water bottle to guests to support waste reduction and reuse.
Holiday Inn Yellowstone, Yellowstone Park Hotel, Gray Wolf Inn & Suites and the Explorer Cabins at Yellowstone are hotels owned and operated by Delaware North and all are located in West Yellowstone, Montana. Earth Day in West Yellowstone was celebrated by offering a reusable water bottle to all guests checking into the hotels on April 22. The following message accompanied these reusable bottles, “Happy Earth Day. In an effort to reduce environmental impacts Delaware North is offering a free, Made in the USA, BPA Free, reusable water bottle to every guest checking into our hotels. Remember to REDUCE, REUSE and REFILL.” Guests were advised to refill their water bottles using the local water filling station.
An early Pre-Earth Day activity, occurred on April 15, the Yellowstone staff joined together to complete a full LED lighting retrofit to the Explorer Cabins property, successfully changing out 1,200 light bulbs. Managers and staff from Delaware North operated Yellowstone General Stores, Holiday Inn, Gray Wolf Inn, Yellowstone Park Hotel and the Explorer Cabins assisted with the retrofit to complete this project prior to the full opening of the property scheduled for April 17th. “This is a fantastic energy savings project that will also allow us to directly track data and the analyze results and efficiency of the latest technologies in lighting,” says Justin Cook, Environmental Director at Yellowstone. “The Cabins provide a great case study for LED’s that we can then hope to use at other Delaware North locations.” It is estimated that this retrofit will save up to 30% on electricity usage resulting in reduced utility bills.
Yosemite National Park is located in California. Delaware North operates retail, grocery, lodging, and recreational services at Yosemite. This year’s Earth Day event occurred April 17-18. Not only did Yosemite kick off National Park Week, but they also celebrated Earth Day with festivities in Yosemite Valley AND partnered with the National Park Service to host Yosemite National Park’s first Instameet.
National Parks Week celebrates America’s national parks starting with fee-free entrance on the first weekend – this year on April 18 & 19 – and continued with programs and events at all national parks. This year’s Earth Day Celebration in Yosemite started with the annual Earth Day Bike Ride and Earth Day Family Night on April 17. The guided bike ride with Delaware North interpretive guides and associate volunteers took participants to information stations located around Yosemite Valley staffed by park partners such as National Park Service and Yosemite Conservancy. Topics included environmental awareness and the natural history of Yosemite. Earth Day Family Night takes place at Yosemite Lodge at the Falls with activities for all family members. The Earth Day Celebration mall event took place in front of the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center, and this year on April 18, included
information booths staffed by park partners, a children’s stage with live music and activities, and complimentary cupcakes from Delaware North at Yosemite.
The weekend fun continued with Yosemite National Park’s first Instameet on April 19. A social media event, an Instameet brought together users of Instagram to a specific location with a specific meeting time to share photos and stories and meet one another. Sponsored by the National Park Service, Instameets were planned at many national parks across the country on this day as part of the Find Your Park campaign for the NPS Centennial in 2016. Using the hashtags #FindYourPark #FindYourParkInstameet and #YosemiteInstameet, participants shared their Yosemite experience and anyone can follow along by searching those hashtags on Instagram. Associates from Delaware North at Yosemite and Tenaya Lodge supported NPS staff at the Instameet.
Thank you to each of the properties who support GreenPath and support Earth Day everyday!
Published April 30, 2015