Zoo Design Education
For the past 12 years, zoo design has been my profession and passion. In 2012 I founded Zoo Design, Inc. a collaboration of designers and animal welfare specialists. I am also an instructor at the Seattle Art Institute. Every week I move back and forth between zoos and classrooms. The Art Institute of Seattle offers practical, skills-based higher education. It is a higher education, kind of like university, and students graduate with an accredited bachelor degree. Instructors are, for the most part, esteemed practicing professionals in the field they teach. Each class is a studio with four hours per meeting to get some real work done. At the end of semester, after 80 hours of face time and 120 hours work outside of class, the students finish with a portfolio-worthy project.
A couple years ago, I began to think: How could I give these students real work experience and also bring their fresh energy and creativity to benefit zoos? I was able to persuade the Art Institute to let students collaborate on projects for Calgary Zoo and Brandywine Zoo,