The Birmingham Zoo uses several conservation practices called ‘Low Impact Design.’ This includes a rainwater harvesting system of four tanks around the Junior League Splash Pad area, and an array of 280 solar panels atop the pergola near the splash pad. In addition to generating energy from the sun, the solar panels create a shaded area near the Zudzu Cafe. Alabama Power installed an educational kiosk on the side of the Cafe, where visitors can view how much energy the system is producing.
The Birmingham Zoo recently established the EcoGarden in conjunction with the Trails of Africa Exhibit. The EcoGarden provides nutrition and enrichment to the zoo’s animal population. The EcoGarden’s 22 acres at the back of the zoo are used to teach Birmingham City Schools’ 7th Graders participating in a weekly Zoo School about the science of organic gardening and other on-site conservation practices. The outdoor gardenclassroom teaches children about nutrient cycling through composting of elephant dung, planting vegetables in the garden with the compost, then harvesting and preparing the vegetables to feed to the elephants.