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Collaboration Between College of Design and the CVM to Benefit Wildlife

wood door with text

NC State University’s emphasis on experiential education is displayed at the College of Veterinary Medicine where a structure nicknamed the “Wolf Prowl” will help DVM students ensure the health and well-being of wild patients as well as practice good animal handling techniques.

The Wolf Prowl, and other potential enhancements to what is an emerging Zoological Teaching Animal Unit (ZTAU), is the result of an innovative learning project involving veterinary students and students from the landscape architecture program at NC State’s College of Design.

Led by Fernando Magallanes, associate professor of landscape architecture, and Michael Stoskopf, professor of wildlife and aquatic health, groups of graduate design students and DVM students worked together for nearly two years to develop a blueprint for expanding academic teaching facilities focused on wildlife. Then, with the addition of College of Design Professors in Practice Randy Lanou, Erik Mehlman, and Ellen Cassilly, a mixed veterinary medicine and design team of 30 NC State students designed and built the Wolf Prowl structure.

Students stand around building
Graduate design and DVM students celebrate the “ZTAU” project completion.

The collaboration involved detailed discussions of the science of animal behavior, management, and veterinary education as well as details of the supportive habitat in which the animals are housed. The team also assessed the flexibility of the CVM campus, the appropriate landscapes suitable for use by different wildlife, and developed a series of design options appropriate for various wildlife.

While the Wolf Prowl structure is the initial benefit of this partnership, the two colleges plan to continue to collaborate to further refine specific details and strategize how elements of the potential ZTAU could be implemented.

As envisioned, the Zoological Teaching Animal Unit would benefit students with instruction in the handling, study, feed, clinical workups, preventative healthcare, and maintenance of animals not commonly seen in the traditional veterinary hospital clinic. The ZTAU approach would engage the veterinary student in the importance of an animal’s environment to their overall well-being and health.

“Though the entire idea behind a ZTAU is new, it is founded on CVM’s pioneering introduction of the concept of a teaching animal unit,” says Dr. Stoskopf. “If we succeed in creating this at NC State, it would transform the way zoological medicine is taught.”