Albany Technical College drafting technology student Jennifer Bays-Murphy presents her design for a new cat exhibit to Chehaw Park officials Thursday. Bays-Murphy was among a group of 11 ATC students who showed designs for a possible North American expansion plan for the Park.
ALBANY, Ga. -- Drafting Technology students from Albany Technical College on Thursday presented officials from Chehaw Park with designs for a North American animal exhibit expansion plan.
Chehaw Zoo Director Kevin Hills has been working with Albany Tech drafting instructor Chinelo Ochie and her students to create an expansion for the park.
Chehaw's ultimate goal is to bring animals from different continents to the zoo.
In order to accomplish its goal, Chehaw officials want to expand the zoo by building different habitats to house the different animals. The North American Expansion is the first of such designs to reach that goal.
The task assigned the students was to use an outline of the United States, which is the central part of North America, as the layout and foundation for the design. Different areas of the map are designed to house different animals.
Students working on the project were split into seven groups and include: Group 1 -- Garrin Harvey and Jason Tucker, layout and design foundation; Group 2 -- Jeanetta Miles and Kailey Culberson, eagles and birds; Group 3 -- Jason Fisher, Jonathan Perry and Brandon Bass, bear, bison and elk; Group 4 -- Jennifer Bays-Murphy, cats; Group 5 -- Michael Oliver, skunks; Group 6 -- Julie Clark, tower; and Group 7 -- Taurus Batten, prairie dogs.
Last year, ATC drafting students completed renderings for a new flamingo habitat for the park. Park Executive Director Doug Porter said that work on the new habitat is currently under way.
"We are working on it (the new flamingo exhibit) right now, but funding is an issue," Porter said. "We encourage the students' participation because we'll take new ideas anywhere we can find them."
"We are in the process of re-accreditation with the AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) and a question they always ask is 'what part of your future plans involve the community?' So that helps us in this regard," Hills said. "Another cool thing about this program is that we are handing the kids a subject of which they have no knowledge. They have to do research to make it work, and we have had a lot of back-and-forth with them over the course of the project."
Foster said one of the neatest parts of the project is thinking like the animals.
"Animals can't talk, so we have to come up with designs we think they'd like," Foster said. "It's really been a lot of fun, and we've all learned a lot."