PGAV Destinations

PGAV Destinations to Present at Zoo Design Conference in Poland


Global Leaders in Exhibit Design Share Trends in Enrichment Design and Guest Experience

Stacey Ludlum

PGAV Destinations’ Director of Zoo & Aquarium Planning and Design Stacey Ludlum and Project Manager Mariusz Bleszynski will be presenting at this year’s Zoo Design Conference, held April 5 – 7 at the University of Wrocław in Poland.

Mariusz Bleszynski

Bringing together hundreds of experts and thought leaders from around the world, the three-day Zoo Design Conference will cover the latest trends and developments in zoo innovation and design. Organized by ZOO Wroclaw, ZooLex, and MCC Consulting LTD, the conference will incorporate numerous topics including animal enrichment, animal welfare, conservation promotion and design, the influence of culture and belief systems on zoos, project management, and energy and waste management. Case studies will explore success stories at Zoo Wroclaw, the Dublin Zoo, Reid Park Zoo, Highland Wildlife Park, Zoo Heidelberg, Erfurt Zoo, Prague Zoo, Chester Zoo, Zoo Zürich, and many more.

On Wednesday, April 5 at 2:10 p.m., Bleszynski will present, “Designing Built-in Animal Enrichments.” His session will review the variety of permanent and rotatable animal enrichment devices used around the world in a variety of zoo scales and settings, and an exploration of new concepts in research and development. Bleszynski will share ideas about how to engage animals’ five senses and their innate curiosity, as well as enrichment items that are either initiated by the keeper or animals within an exhibit habitat. The session will include current durability and maintenance challenges, and focus on the viewing capacity, safety, and functionality of training panels and

On Thursday, April 6 at 10:05 a.m., Ludlum will present, “Trends in Zoo Design: Balancing Wellness and Guest Experience.” Her session will explore zoos’ desire to bring enrichment to the forefront, a catalyst for zoo designers to develop habitats that enrich animals in full view of guests by designing the exhibits differently than traditional “natural” and immersive environments. This shift is occurring to link habitat design and enrichment in a deeper way, with the goal of enhancing guest experience and animal husbandry through creative physical environment design.

Registration for the Zoo Design Conference is open through March 26, 2017 on the conference website.

PGAV Destinations is a global leader in the planning and design of unique destinations. Now entering its sixth decade, the practice has evolved to become the ideal destination-consulting partner, skilled at developing growth-oriented master plans and translating those plans into successful projects.


PGAV Destinations Awards $3,000 Scientific Research Grant


U. of Massachusetts-Amherst Doctoral Candidate Seeks to Protect Pollinators

Luis Aguirre Conducting Field Research on Milkweed Plants

St. Louis-based destination design firm PGAV Destinations is thrilled to award U. of Massachusetts-Amherst Ecology Doctoral Candidate Luis Aguirre the first-ever $3,000 PGAVia Pollinator Research Grant.

“Over the course of the last two decades, we’ve seen habitat loss and other potential causes resulting in bee colony collapse and effects on other pollinator populations and behavior,” said Mike Konzen, chair and principal of PGAV Destinations. “As these birds, insects, and mammals have a foundational effect on world agriculture, medicine, and more, we see this grant as a way to help contribute to the understanding of the problems and potential solutions.”

Mr. Aguirre’s research, entitled “Cascading Effects of Plant Enemies on Pollinator Health,” explores the potential positive benefits to pollinators by triggering chemical defenses in plants. When plants are damaged, they often produce chemicals that can deter further consumption of their plant parts. However, while some concentrations can influence pollinators to stay away, other concentrations can not only attract pollinators, but may potentially be able to ameliorate the effects of pathogens, such as parasites, in the pollinators as well.

“I give Luis my strongest and most enthusiastic support for this proposal,” said Professor Lynn Adler, one of Mr. Aguirre’s mentors at U. Mass. “Luis is a dedicated, incredibly smart, and passionate student who is on a clear path to success. I can think of no one more deserving of this award, or who would take better advantage of the opportunities it affords.”

The global implications of Mr. Aguirre’s research are immense. If his studies can uncover causal links between triggering these chemical responses and a reduction in parasites and pathogens fatal to pollinators, then ecologists, agricultural scientists, and farmers could incorporate these practices to reduce pollinator mortality rates and therefore greatly increase crop health and yield.

“It gives me great pleasure to know that there are others who are as concerned about pollinators as we are in our own lab, and also that those people want to invest in scientific research coming from young researchers,” said Aguirre. “This grant will allow me to initiate an experiment that will further my career and form the foundation of my subsequent PhD work.”

Each year, the volunteer arm of PGAV Destinations – PGAVIA – pursues a central conservation cause to study and support, in addition to ongoing, local environmental efforts. This year’s Conservation Awareness Campaign focuses on pollinators, and the Pollinator Research Grant serves as one of the flagship initiatives of the firm to help forward the global understanding of, and assistance with, pollinator health and habitat restoration. 

PGAV Destinations is a global leader in the planning and design of unique destinations.