Delaware North associates around the world pitched in to make the world a greener, cleaner place on Wednesday, celebrating Earth Day.
At Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex – which Delaware North operates for NASA – more than 50 exhibits and displays made this year’s Earth Day celebration the famous destination’s largest to date.
Aside from several keynote speakers and live exhibits, the visitor complex’s famous Rocket Garden is now home to a butterfly garden, which was planted by employees from the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and guests. NASA also gave guests a chance to see its alternative-fuel vehicles, and the visitor complex itself plans on reducing its carbon footprint by converting its tour buses to a more Earth-friendly alternative.
“We actually purchased a compressed natural gas bus and we’re doing a prototype that is going to be assessed. We’re looking at hydrogen and some other possible fuels as well,” Therrin Protze, Delaware North’s chief operating officer at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, said during the Earth Day celebration.
Meanwhile, in Yosemite National Park – where Delaware North operates food, beverage, retail, lodging and recreational services – Earth Day became part of a jam-packed week of celebration.
“Last weekend was a busy one in Yosemite. Not only did we kick off National Park Week, but we also celebrated Earth Day with festivities in Yosemite Valley and partnered with the National Park Service to host Yosemite National Park's first ‘Instameet,’” said Michelle Hansen, a communications coordinator for Delaware North in Yosemite National Park.
The Earth Day celebration in Yosemite started with the annual Earth Day Bike Ride and Earth Day Family Night on April 17. The guided bike ride with Delaware North interpretive guides and associate volunteers takes guests to information stations located around Yosemite Valley – staffed by park partners such as the National Park Service and Yosemite Conservancy. Topics include environmental awareness and the natural history of the park.
Earth Day Family Night takes place at Yosemite Lodge at the Falls, with activities for all family members. The Earth Day celebration “mall event” takes place each year in front of the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center and this year included information booths staffed by park partners, a children’s stage with live music and activities, and complimentary cupcakes from Delaware North’s onsite culinary team.
Earth Day celebrations were hardly limited to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and Yosemite National Park, however. Several Delaware North locations – including the company-owned-and-operated Southland Park Gaming & Racing in West Memphis, Ark., and the company-operated Hamburg Gaming near Buffalo, N.Y. – collected unwanted electronic and paper waste and then recycled the materials, with proceeds benefiting local charities.
Other locations took the opportunity as a time to reflect on their every-day Earth-friendly efforts – including the Delaware North Sportservice team at Target Field, which, along with the Minnesota Twins, has helped to divert more than 5 tons of food waste from landfills since 2011.