Digital Conservation for the Calgary Zoo
Through Mount Royal University, I worked in a team project connected with two communications representatives from the Calgary Zoo in Calgary, Alberta. The zoo encouraged our team to come up with a strategy to raise conservation awareness through digital mediums. Our team settled on a monthly photo contest that would highlight the conservation stories told by the Calgary Zoo by focusing on animals and what people can do in their 'own backyards'. Every month, a new species is highlighted and participants take photos of themselves doing a recommended conservation activity to win a prize. I was the visual designer, and had the primary responsibility of producing the interactive prototype for the Calgary Zoo's representatives. The design was meant to be child friendly, have a simple aesthetic, and be informative. I produced two prototypes: one for the Burrowing Owl and one for the Swift Fox, which are two prominent species the Calgary Zoo focuses on.
A notable issue that our team identified from surveys and user testing, was that many Calgarians were unaware of the conservation projects that the Calgary Zoo has been involved with. Most surveyed individuals thought very highly of the zoo, and even more so when they were informed through the prototypes of what the Calgary Zoo's current conservation efforts are. With a photo contest idea, the Calgary Zoo could both inform people of their conservation projects, but also how people can do conservation efforts in their daily routines. Some of these efforts included meal planning to reduce waste, using eco-friendly garden products, and making small natural shelters for birds.
Upon presenting our idea to the Calgary Zoo, our team was told that the Calgary Zoo is actively pursuing a very similar idea for informing volunteers on different conservation efforts. The representatives felt as though our idea would have a place among the future communications strategies at the Calgary Zoo.
As a team, we benefited significantly from planning out the goals, direction, and responsibilities of everyone as soon as we could. This allowed each of us to pursue our individual goals without hesitation, and gave us all a level of freedom to use our program skills towards the project. I led the development phase of the project due to my design capabilities and responsibilities, and made my design choices for the prototype to best reflect the team's research.
Our team had an incredible opportunity to work with the Calgary Zoo, and we provided their communications team with well-researched advice, an effective solution, and an interactive prototype. I was able to freely use my design skills to reflect our research, which I used to produce the mockups we presented. One area I would have wanted to invest more time in would be adding more intractability to the prototypes. However, the Calgary Zoo greatly appreciated our idea, and told us that they would use some of our prototypes design style towards their current internal strategy.