In early December, State Senator Jason Lewis and State Representative Michael Day successfully secured a $3 million appropriation for Zoo New England, as a part of the COVID pandemic recovery bill recently passed by the state legislature and signed into law by Governor Baker.
The funds will be used by ZNE, the nonprofit that operates the Franklin Park and Stone Zoos on behalf of the Commonwealth, to install a new solar power array at the Stone Zoo in Stoneham. This exciting renewable energy project will provide nearly all of the power required by the zoo, reducing carbon emissions and lowering operating costs.
“I’m thrilled that Rep. Day and I were able to secure this funding for such a orthy project at the beloved Stone Zoo,” said Senator Jason Lewis. “A new solar array at the zoo is a great way to tackle climate change, help the zoo save money, and provide a wonderful educational opportunity for the many families and young children that visit the zoo each year.”
“The Stone Zoo has positively impacted the lives of children and families in our community for years,” said Representative Michael Day. “Making critical investments in green infrastructure like this solar array not only cuts down on utility costs and carbon emissions but reinforces the Stone Zoo’s mission of practicing responsible stewardship over our natural resources.”
“We are extremely grateful and excited about the clean energy solar project from both a mission and conservation perspective. The solar array will provide almost 100% of Stone Zoo’s electrical needs. This switch to solar is the equivalent of planting 800 acres of trees or avoiding 700,000 pounds of coal each year,” said John Linehan, President and CEO of Zoo New England. “Nature has great healing capacity and, if given the chance, can be very effective in combating the negative impacts of climate change. We are at a critical point in ensuring that we have a healthy planet for generations to come, and we need to take action now to strategically preserve and protect the incredible biodiversity and resources. This clean energy project and others like it can be part of the climate solution. “
The bill, known as An Act relative to immediate COVID-19 recovery needs, uses federal monies received from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) as well as the state’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget surplus.