The Ducks go green

By Nicole Sganga
The Greene Gazette

The Ducks’ stadium has been growing greener, and not just its ball field.

The community-oriented Suffolk County Sports Park has taken environmental initiative, installing renewable solar panels on the roof of the facility and lining the stadium with “Ricky Recycling Bins.”

Rob Lyon, the stadium’s promotions and sponsorship manager, says, “The Ducks organization has been spreading the word about how to turn green for several years now.” At every game, a promotional “Go Green” message, sponsored by Esurance, is displayed on the stadium’s JumboTron. The message often depicts a person recycling or using an ecologically friendly source of transportation, such as a bicycle.

For example, on April 23, in celebration of Earth Day, the Ducks held a “Go Green Day,” equipped with green baseball bases and free reusable bag giveaways to fans. “The event is all about building awareness on how to make the world a better place,” said Group Sales Manager John Wolff.

Green Ducks

Recycling cans reduce waste at the stadium. Photo by Nicole Sganga.

The festive occasion takes place on the second game of the season each year. Hybrid vans are displayed outside of the stadium for the viewing pleasure of fans.

Even the concession stands are promoting environmental sustainability. “We reuse boxes in the back, and we never waste cups,” said one cashier.  A snack station volunteer added, “We count and recycle all of the caps and drink cans on a weekly basis.”

How do the dedicated Ducks fans feel about all of this eco-friendly change? “It’s great,” said veteran Ducks zealot Cheryl, “At home, we always recycle. It’s great knowing that so does our team. That’s why we come here!”

Mark, a retired employee of the stadium who has attended opening day since day one, notes the increase in environmental consciousness. “When I used to be a bartender in years past, fans just threw out all of the bottles.”

Now, easy-to-access recycling stations are placed aside each trash receptacle within the facility. Soft drinks such as lemonade are served in Greenware cups manufactured from plants. “It’s a local team,” beams fan Frank. “I love that they set a good example for everyone here on Long Island.”

The stadium isn’t entirely sustainable, however. Many fans and staff members were unaware of the organization’s eco-friendly initiatives. One soda vendor admitted to throwing out collected bottle tops when selling drinks. Security guards in the parking lot said facility operation vehicles were not hybrids.

“When people come out to the ball park,” smiled Lyons, “it’s all about the fans.”