On Saturday, May 5, more than 60 female high schoolers from Chicago Public Schools learned about sustainable initiatives and explored STEM careers with leading female veterinarians, zookeepers and researchers from the Chicago Zoological Society (CZS) at the Brookfield Zoo. Powered by Exelon’s recent $3 million investment in STEM education for girls and young women, teens learned how to care for endangered species, preserve threatened ecosystems and sustainably source feed for over 2,000 zoo animals.
As a Brookfield Zoo sponsor, ComEd, an Exelon operating company, trims approximately 9,000 miles of trees each year, and delivers the leaves, twigs, and branches – also known as browse – to the zoo animals twice a week. This sustainable feeding practice benefits the animals’ health and supports reliable energy delivery across Illinois. The Browse Program is one of several sustainable initiatives the girls experienced throughout the Brookfield Zoo.
This STEM Saturday is one of several free female-focused STEM opportunities powered by Exelon’s partnership with the United Nations Women’s HeforShe campaign. Just 30 percent of scientists and engineers are women, and this partnership is an effort to create a talent pipeline of young females who are prepared to embrace STEM careers. The STEM Saturday programs will be followed by an immersive week-long STEM Academy that will include site visits to nuclear stations, access to Exelon STEM mentors and energy competitions that will result in scholarship opportunities.
Both Exelon and the CZS are committed to environmental sustainability, and in 2017, Exelon donated over $3.4 million to environmental-causes that saved 24,275 habitats, preserved 1,155 acres of land and beautified 2.3 million square feet of land.
In addition, a major philanthropic focus for Exelon is funding STEM education initiatives that invest in a workforce with 21st century job skills. In 2017, Exelon contributed $10,281,097 to education-related causes and in terms of overall giving, broke its all-time record last year by donating more than $52 million and 210,000 volunteer hours to communities where it operates and serves.