Innovate for Impact
Innovate for Impact challenges middle and high school students to engineer and build improvements to the Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary which, due to its federal designation as a “sanctuary” and not a “zoo” lacks the funding and resources necessary to build custom enclosures, enrichment items, food and water dispensaries, and other elements that specifically accommodate their special-needs and rescued animals.
To help, the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) has teamed up with PECG and PREP to bring students from Sacramento-area high schools into the Zoo to design and build the needed upgrades over the course of their school year. Students begin by touring the Zoo, learning about each animal’s enclosure and needs, and identifying their project of choice. Once identified, students utilize engineering design software to build a proposal that they submit to the Zoo for formal approval. Once approved, the students continue working to enhance their designs and build models and other project elements with the ultimate goal of building their upgrades at the Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary around April of each year.
As students work through the design and engineering processes, they are in need of mentoring from real-life engineers, which is where we come in. Students have the opportunity to participate in Mentoring Day each December, just before they submit their initial project proposals. If their projects are approved, students are then provided with the materials and resources necessary to actually build their proposed modifications. Our mentors make themselves available to students for ongoing questions, concerns, or in-class help as needed, as well as for onsite guidance during the building process.