In my notes, I have dubbed this dream project "The Texas A&M University Wildlife Habitat and Center for Conservation Science," but I should note that I have neither sought nor received any official buy-in.
The broad strokes:
- We are a land-rich campus and have the opportunity to pick up farmland in the area to make natural habitats.
- Augment Elephant Walk tradition by having a (secondary?) mascot elephant(s)…these wouldn’t be carted in for a performance, but would be friends with whom we would develop a relationship
- *Bonus: "Ol' Sarge" the elephant helps build the first on-campus bonfire after we are allowed to have them again.
- Opportunity for cheap labor by utilizing undergrad and grad students in related majors for labor.
- Bonus: Enhances the Vet School’s offerings by allowing specialization in zoo exotics.
- Attract top notch scientists to work on an interdisciplinary endeavor.
- Adds value to the community…provides a source of revenue as a family/tourist attraction.
The potential shareholders (again, these are my thoughts, and this should not be taken to represent buy-in from any entity named below):
- TAMU Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences – Conservation Biology and Biodiversity (CBB)
- TAMU Bioenvironmental Science
- TAMU College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Science
- Dr. Mark Holtzapple, TAMU Chemical Engineering – Biomass Fuel
- Whoever is working on solar power
- Whoever has the land
- Whoever is working on cleaning up river water
- Cities of Bryan & College Station
- American Zoological Association
- International Zoo Educators Association
- Stephanie Boyles (Wildlife Biologist at PETA when I first dreamt this up)
I've noticed that there is roughly 700 acres of land along the Brazos River where TX-60 crosses it heading southwest out of town. The Cameron Park Zoo in Waco (the closest zoo to Bryan/College Station at about 100 miles) is similarly situated on a river. It seems to work well for them!