Photo Credit: PHOTO BY MICHAEL DURHAM, COURTESY OF OREGON ZOO - Oregon Zoo campers get a close-up look at an endangered Western pond turtle, bred at the zoo but ultimately released into the wild. The Oregon Zoo, about to embark on its next major addition, is inviting feedback from the public before designing its long-planned conservation center.

“We’ve determined some of the basic features of the center, but at this early stage we’re exploring a lot of exciting ideas,” says Grant Spickelmier, the zoo’s education curator. “We want the center to reflect the desires of the people who will be using it.”

The zoo invites members of the public to fill in a survey, available at

The conservation center, funded by the voter-approved zoo bond measure in 2008, will serve as a welcoming entry and staging area for 200,000 youths who participate in zoo camps and classes each year. Also in the works are a new insect zoo and interactive conservation-care lab, where visitors can learn how zoo scientists care for endangered animals and view the zoo’s species recovery lab. An auditorium will seating to 150 people for lectures, documentary screenings and other events. Early design concepts will be on display at the zoo next week, Aug. 12 to 16.

Steve Law can be reached at 503-546-5139 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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