Visitors enjoying the colorful lights at Binder Park Zoo this holiday season will be enjoying the fruits of a yearlong community partnership.
Nearly a year ago, the zoo approached staff from Kellogg Community College’s Industrial Electricity and Electronics Program to see if KCC had anyone who could help rewire the lighting decorations utilized for Binder Park Zoo’s ZooLights holiday displays.
Industrial Electricity and Electronics professor Kevin Barnes accepted the challenge, and beginning last spring worked with student and staff volunteers from the College’s Bruins Give Back initiative to refresh several of the zoo’s lighting decorations.
The decorations consist of oversized metal frames several feet high and shaped like animals, including giraffes, a peacock and a zebra, each of which is wound with wires including dozens of color-changing holiday lights. Over time the decorations had worn down, and many of the lights needed replacing.
Bruins Give Back volunteers removed old lighting from the decorations last March, and this summer KCC staff worked with employees from Kalamazoo-based Landscape Forms to have the decorations stripped of their old paint and recoated with a new powder finish.
Jim Ackley, director of People Operations at Landscape Forms, said the project was all about helping the community.
“Landscape Forms was excited to have the opportunity to help support a great local project working with the College and the zoo,” Ackley said.
KCC staff and student volunteers again got to work on the decorations in November, attaching brand new, energy-efficient and cost-saving LED lights to the decorations and wrapping up loose ends before the decorations were picked up for use in the ZooLights exhibit, which will run nightly at the zoo from Dec. 16 through 23.
Binder Park Zoo Manager of Marketing and Development Leslie Walsh said the zoo is thrilled to be able to show off the “beautifully renovated and updated light displays” to the public.
“We are very grateful for the talent, hard work and generosity that KCC and Landscape Forms donated to this project,” Walsh said. “It’s a gesture that not only helps support the zoo, but provides something lovely for the entire community to enjoy during the holiday.”
More information about KCC’s Bruins Give Back volunteer initiative is available on KCC’s website at www.kellogg.edu/special-events, and more information about KCC’s Industrial Electricity and Electronics Program is available at www.kellogg.edu/industrial-electricityelectronics.
Pictured above, KCC students and staff work together to attach new energy-efficient LED lights to the Binder Park Zoo ZooLights decorations at KCC’s Regional Manufacturing Technology Center during a Bruins Give Back volunteer event in November. The ZooLights attraction runs nightly Dec. 16-23 at the zoo.