Friday, March 6, 2009

ZooDoo Cancelled Due to Pesticide

Those of you not from Seattle may not be familiar with what Seattlites affectionately call ZooDoo. This twice-yearly event is a chance for local gardeners to get some of the best organic fertilizer available. Yes, that's right, it's the poop from the elephants, hippos, giraffes, and other animals.

So what happened this year? The good news is the Woodland Park Zoo tests the ZooDoo before they sell it. The bad news is they found unacceptably high levels of a pesticide called clopyralid, which is a weed killer used on some of the hay the animals consumed. While zoo officials say it wasn't harmful to the animals (I would argue that the long-term effects aren't exactly known), it is known to kill plants like tomatoes and sunflowers.

The interesting thing is that the Woodland Park Zoo is one of the greenest organizations I know. They have since switched to an organic source of feed to avoid the problem in the future. By recycling their "doo" they save $60,000 per year and make money while finding an excellent use for a million pounds of waste. Their list of green activities is endless and includes geothermal heating of the new penguin display, solar energy production, organic horticulture programs, hybrid or battery powered vechicles, and a comprehensive plan for recycling and composting at concerts and events. Perhaps most impressive, a whopping 38% of their employees get to work through some means other than a single-occupancy vehicle.

Kudos to the zoo for all their green efforts. It does show how hard it truly can be - even when you're trying to do everything right.

For those of you still needing ZooDoo, some of last year's supply is still available in small quantities in the gift shop. Maybe I'll pick up a 2 gallon container for the garden I'm hoping to start this spring. More to come on that later...

1 comment:

  1. What a great example of a local business creatively solving a rather stinky problem! I've always thought we had an awesome zoo but this just shows another layer of excellence. Looking forward to photos of your new vegetable garden!
    Cheryl A.