Sustainable Visioning Workshop for the Oregon Zoo

Portland, Oregon

Hatching Western Pond Turtle - part of head start program for wild turtles at the Oregon Zoo.
Hatching Western Pond Turtle – part of head start program for wild turtles at the Oregon Zoo.

PROCESS: In 2009 the Oregon Zoo hosted a Sustainable Visioning Workshop in the Skyline Room of the Zoo’s Cascade Crest Banquet Center. The workshop was conducted as the first step in crafting a comprehensive Sustainability Master Plan, which, when completed, will guide the Zoo’s operational practices, facilities planning, infrastructure investments, purchasing policies, and educational offerings.

The Zoo extended workshop invitations to dozens of area stakeholders, community leaders, local agency personnel, and recognized sustainability experts. The 35 workshop attendees made up a representative cross-section of the region’s best systems thinkers – including architects, engineers, planners, urban designers, organizational specialists, researchers, policy analysts, and educators.

rosetufeet-zooThe workshop utilized Civic Ecology Resource Flow Mapping to facilitate brainstorming on a broad range of sustainability issues – from alternative energy production to the capture and recycling of stormwater and gray water to the implementation of district heating and cooling. There were even lengthy conversations focused on the possibilities for reusing the Zoo’s prodigious amounts of animal waste.

OUTCOMES: The intended outcomes for the workshop were a Sustainable Vision Statement for the Zoo, as well as possible goals, systems, metrics, and evaluation criteria for the Sustainability Master Plan. The master plan has provided the system-level direction for the Zoo’s subsequent master plan investments in building facilities and infrastructure.