I just got back from my week out at the AZA conference, held this year in Milwaukee, WI. In some ways it was the typical conference with booths, business cards and goody bags. We were the only Architecture firm there, and as a result were approached by a number of interpretive display folks. But I’m constantly amazed at how hard people work in zoo design to treat the animals as a real client and go beyond zoos just being a business. There’s something wonderfully tangible about architecture, nature, and the senses that I feel I’m more aware of every day.
I also extended my trip to visit the East Coast to meet up with my pals at blip, create tapas with Liz, hang with Jen in the village, see my family, and wish my Mom a happy birthday.
My flight back home ended with being placed next to a 70 year old fellow originally from Wisconsin, who’s now living in Washington State. He found it interesting that I worked for a place that does zoo design, and the topic of animals led to a story. He told me that when he was a teenager, he used to hunt mink by a stream on his way to high school. The forest where he hunted is gone, but the excitement he conveyed at remembering his time outdoors when he was younger is something I’ll remember whenever I encounter programs that bring kids into the outdoors. It’s magical; it’s very real.