The North Carolina Museum of Life and Science has earned Green Plus Certification, becoming the first museum in the country to earn the distinction.
The Museum is located on 84 acres of land in Durham, North Carolina that includes an interactive science park, a butterfly conservatory, enclosed sanctuaries for the Museum’s resident black bears and red wolves, as well as other outdoor learning exhibits. Sustainability is woven into each of these exhibits through
- Natural landscaping
- Native plantings
- A partial green roof
- Solar hot-water heaters
- Rainwater collector cisterns
- Extensive composting
- Minimal materials used in exhibit displays
- And an energy monitoring system that allows Museum staff to automatically manage the energy use in any exhibit from one central location.
The Museum Green Team – a passionate group of Museum staff members – is responsible for creating and implementing these sustainable initiatives.
“The Green Team is really an enthusiastic group of people who are very committed to making a good infrastructure at the Museum,” comments Janet Hoshour, Director of Membership and a member of the Green Team. “For most of the people who showed up on the Green Team, [sustainability] was already part of their personal life and personal commitment.”
The Museum had more than 446,000 visitors in 2011, creating the potential to educate a huge number of people about the importance of sustainability. As a publicly owned institution, being open and transparent about presenting its sustainability efforts is very important to the Museum, and now that it is Green Plus Certified, educating the public on sustainability is one tactic the Museum is excited about pursuing. Green Plus is proud to have the North Carolina Museum of Life and Science join its ranks of Certified organizations, and hopes that other museums around the country will be inspired to pursue greater sustainability in their organizations, as well.