Asheboro, NC – To celebrate Arctic Sea Ice Day on July 11, the North Carolina Zoo’s zookeepers are launching a contest to encourage sustainable business practices. The Piedmont’s Paw of Approval award will name the Piedmont Triad’s most environmentally friendly business.

Thousands of North Carolina Zoo’s visitors have the opportunity to be inspired and educated by Anana, the zoo’s charismatic polar bear. The disappearing Arctic sea ice habitat is critical for the survival of polar bears and other arctic species. In addition to helping the environment and preserving sea ice, being environmentally friendly can also help business owners save money.

To nominate a business for the Piedmont’s Paw of Approval award, please submit a summary to explaining how your nominee operates a sustainable business. The contest begins today and ends June 29. On July 10, zookeepers will surprise the winner with a plaque that has a polar bear paw print.  

Winning the inaugural Paw of Approval award will be a prestigious honor. The North Carolina Zoo is respected throughout the world for being a leader in sustainability and conservation. Last year the zoo became the first state agency to be certified as an "Environmental Steward" by the N.C. Department of Environment & Natural Resources (DENR).  It acknowledges that the zoo's conservation efforts have exceeded state regulatory compliance, particularly in the areas of landfill diversion, energy efficiency and leadership in environmental performance. 

The North Carolina Zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Donald R. van der Vaart, Secretary; Pat McCrory, Governor.