It’s interesting to consider how Squam Lakes Natural Science Center’s mission “to advance understanding of ecology by exploring New Hampshire’s natural world” relates to the issues of climate change, energy efficiency, and the wise use of natural resources. By focusing on our mission we help to lay the foundations to an “ecological understanding” that is just as important to the development of an educated public as reading, writing, and arithmetic. Through our programs and exhibits, we encourage our visitors and members to see how humans are a part of the environment and understand how their own actions affect the natural world.
At Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, we understand how our actions affect the world around us. With this in mind there are a number of things we do every day to be kind to our world:
- Hazardous cleaners/disinfectants (hazmats) are being replaced and discarded in an appropriate manner.
- Facilities staff consolidates recyclables/trash and waits for a full truckload before making a trip to the Holderness Transfer Station.
- Trash liners are reused as many times as possible before being discarded.
- Flourescent light bulbs (containing toxic mercury) are taken to Ashland Lumber where they collect and dispose of them safely.
- Cardboard boxes are reused, recycled, or given to program animals for enrichment or as housing.
- Several staff members bring cloth napkins instead of paper napkins to use at lunch.
- Cloth hand towels are used in staff bathrooms and staff kitchens.
- Paper from recycle bins is shredded and used as bedding for program animals.
- Lumber and other materials from old exhibits is reused when salvageable.
- Many staff members bring lunches in reusable containers.
- Lunch/kitchen scraps (coffee, fruit peels, cores, etc.) are composted.
- Chemical use at the Science Center has been cut by 75%.
- Vinyl for signs is reused.
- Paint thinner is reused.
- Leaves and manure from the deer enclosure are composted with the surplus Kirkwood Garden debris.
- Recycled paper is purchased for printers and copiers.
- Toner and ink cartridges are recycled.
- Old computers are recycled.
- New computers have energy efficient flat screens.
- Member/donor communications via emails and website has increased, thus cutting down on paper use.
- Tracks and Trails newsletter is printed on recycled paper with soy ink.
- Science Center vehicles receive regular oil changes and tire inflation checks to improve gas mileage.
- Staff members consolidate trips to pick up supplies.
- The parking lot and evening program lights are set on timers.
- Air-conditioning units are set at 75 degrees and have timers.
- Many staff members only turn on their office lights when the natural light is not sufficient.
- Motion detectors in the Webster bathrooms ensure the lights are off when not in use.
- Decals on light switches remind staff to turn off lights when not in use.
- Energy efficient windows were installed in the Webster Education Building in 2006.
- Cold rooms are closed off in winter, and hot rooms are closed off in summer.
- Most staff members have discontinued the use of screen savers.
You can make small changes that have a big impact, too! Learn more by going to the following sites:
- EarthShare (www.earthshare.org)
- National Gelgraphic Kids (kids.nationalgeographic.com)
- Sierra Club (www.sierraclub.org)
- Efficiency.org (www.efficiency.org)
- The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA - www.aza.org)