Asheboro, NC - The North Carolina Zoo has been named to a short list of major state tourist attractions recognized for outstanding environmental stewardship by the N.C. GreenTravel.

Launched in 2012, the N.C. GreenTravel is a program of the N.C. Division of Environmental Assistance and Customer Service in partnership with the Center for Sustainable Tourism at East Carolina University, the N.C. Division of Tourism, Film & Sports Development and other waste reduction partners. The program seeks to encourage economic growth, good health and environmental stewardship in the tourism industry.

The N.C. Zoo has become only the fifth major tourist attraction to receive the award, joining Grandfather Mountain in Linville, the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, the N.C. Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores and the Appalachian Mountain Brewery in Boone. Some 60 parks, restaurants, and lodging facilities in the state have also been recognized by the program.

Attractions and businesses seeking recognition by the GreenTravel Initiative submit an online application which includes information on recycling, energy management, water conservation and other sustainable actions, along with an associated score. Once points are tallied, applicants can beawarded recognition on a scale of one to three dogwood blossoms based on their level of environmental stewardship and conservation practices. A score of 120 points is required to receive a three-dogwood designation and the zoo was awarded 194 points, the highest score of any facility recognized so far.

Applicants recognized by the program receive a certificate and display decals identifying them as members of the N.C. GreenTravel community. They are also  listed as a sustainable travel business on the N.C. GreenTravel website at

The zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, John E. Skvarla, III, Secretary; Pat McCrory, Governor.