Brevard Zoo has been awarded the Gold Level certification by the Florida Society for Ethical Ecotourism (SEE) and is the only Zoo in the state to achieve this certification and the largest attraction in the state to hold a Gold Level status.
Florida SEE is a non-profit educational organization that is recognized as the leading authority on authentic ecotourism in Florida. Ecotourism refers to tourism to places having unspoiled natural resources, with minimal impact on the environment being a primary concern. The certification is a culmination of a year-long process of evaluation by SEE, which includes a lengthy written application and multiple onsite inspections by SEE staff. In order to be considered for this certification the entire Zoo had to be evaluated, such as on and offsite programs, educational offerings, staff training, recycling, energy usage, wildlife conservation, even down to how often and where Zoo vehicles are washed. In all, the Zoo was judged on 249 separate criteria. Currently, the only other certified provider in Brevard is Wildside Tours based in Cocoa Beach. St. Johns River Cruises in Orange City is the next closest certified provider in Central Florida.
"While ecotourism is a fairly new concept to most Americans, many Europeans place a strong importance on ecotourism as a factor in their vacation planning", said Andrew Batten, director of attractions. As awareness of ecotourism grows, more Americans are expected to seek out environmentally conscious vacation opportunities. Brevard Zoo aspires to be a regional leader in ecologically sound, sustainable and conservation-minded programming. Being awarded this certification shows the Zoo's commitment to education, conservation and the use of best practices in all programming.
Gold Level status is the second highest level that can be achieved in this four-tiered program and means providers meet all core criteria plus 75% to 89% of bonus criteria. In addition to the core criteria, Brevard Zoo was awarded bonus points for a wide range of programs, including renewable energy use, commitment to wildlife conservation and restoration and employee safety training. For more information about Florida SEE, visit www.floridasee.org and for more information about the Zoos SEE certification, please call (321) 254-9453.