Last Updated:11/11/2020


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2020-21: Request for Proposals

The Little Rock Zoo, in collaboration with the EAST Initiative, is pleased to announce requests for proposals for Project Zoo.  Project Zoo is designed for 3rd through 12th-grade problem-based learning classrooms located in Arkansas. 

Project Zoo partners the Little Rock Zoo with applicants interested in utilizing their classroom’s resources, time, and talent to help solve problem statements. Applicants accepted into the program will receive guidance and advice from Zoo staff throughout the duration of the partnership. The targeted outcome is to develop unique and engaging student projects resulting in products used within Zoo functions.


  • The ability to work with a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums
  • The ability to work with Zoo staff and have access to Zoo resources
  • Exposure to environmental conservation, sustainability and/or other Zoo related efforts while utilizing technology
  • Chance for project to have a lasting impact on Zoo

Applicant Requirements:

  1. Students      are encouraged to participate in the development of the information      included in the application, but the application itself must be filled out      and completed by the facilitator (adult responsible for the project and      student group)
  2. Must      be a 3rd through 12th-grade problem-based learning      classroom located in Arkansas
    1. If       the applicant is an EAST Initiative program, they must be in good       standing with the EAST Initiative
  3. Must have a team with a minimum of two students committed to the project.
  4. An      ability to complete the project within the current school year or by May      of the following school year 
  5. An ability to regularly communicate with Zoo staff and other community partners.
  6. A      demonstration of a student-driven and technically integrative project that promotes student growth and problem-solving skills.
  7. The ability to fund or find funding for any and all supplies needed for the solution/project.
  8. A      demonstration that the solution/project fits one of Project Zoo’s themes of Animal Enrichment, Public Exhibit Design, or Conservation Education while solving a problem. Improvement or expansion is available for programs already partnering with the zoo that would like to expand upon their recently completed project. The Miscellaneous theme is available for ideas created by the Little Rock Zoo that an applicant that does not fit within the other project themes. The Special Request theme is available for applicants that would like to submit their own project idea.

Helpful information:

Problem Solutions/Products

The Little Rock Zoo will consider using the solution to the problem statement, or product of the project, but is not guaranteeing that the solution or product will be utilized in any way.  Applicants to this program agree that their solution or product may not be utilized and understand that the Little Rock Zoo is not required to attempt to use the solution or product.  Applicants agree that if the solution or product is used, the Little Rock Zoo is not committed to any duration of use.

Zoo and Applicant Resources

The Little Rock Zoo will provide access to staff and other resources deemed appropriate by the Zoo during the time that the applicant classroom is organizing and completing the project.  Please note, that not all staff or other resources will be available and some resources may be in limited supply. Classrooms are expected to utilize their own funding, materials, and other resources required to create the solution/product and should not expect any funding or donations from the Little Rock Zoo.

Tips for Applicants

Certain problem statements or projects may attract multiple applicants. In such cases, some applicants may not be selected. While more than one application from the same school is allowed, please note that the selection of multiple projects at the same school is unlikely. Most project teams communicate/collaborate with Zoo staff every two to three months for roughly one class period so that both sides can provide advice and ask questions regarding the current status and future of the project.


Any theme that is crossed out is no longer available. Please note, it is possible that more than one classroom/group may be accepted to work on the same theme.  

Animal Welfare – As Arkansas’s only zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the Little Rock Zoo is responsible for caring for many hundreds of animals. As a part of the Zoo’s AZA membership status, they follow strict guidelines that promote animal welfare. Animal welfare includes feeding the animals, making sure they are healthy, keeping their habitats clean, and much more. In order to promote animal welfare, the Little Rock Zoo seeks assistance in developing solutions that help to improve or enhance the lives of Little Rock Zoo’s animals while being mindful of the animals’ behavior and/or natural environments. 

Available problem statement(s):

  • Enrichment items and puzzle feeders that could be 3D printed or constructed through other means are needed for Zoo animals. There is a list of example items needed for specific animals that can be made available upon request.
  • Animals at the Zoo, such as turtles and snakes, may require special “houses” within their exhibit where they rest. The Zoo needs housing created for these or similar animals.

Public Exhibit Design - The Little Rock Zoo sees hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Not only does the Zoo strive to be a fun and family-friendly destination in Little Rock, but they also educate guests about conservation practices and their animals. The Little Rock Zoo seeks assistance in developing informational and interactive displays for the public, particularly families.

Available problem statement(s):

  • The Zoo wants to share its exhibits with everyone. This includes when someone can’t physically visit the Zoo. Help the Zoo share its animal exhibits virtually.
  • The Zoo is looking for ways to enhance the experience for visitors with visual and/or hearing impairments. Help the Zoo develop methods to accomplish one or both of those goals.

Conservation Education - The Little Rock Zoo is a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, an organization that actively helps organizations around the world protect wildlife. Although human activity is often the cause of threats to wildlife, there are ways we can help protect animals and their habitats. The Little Rock Zoo seeks assistance in developing programs that provide information on conservation efforts to the public.

Available problem statement(s):

  • A cellphone app is needed to teach students about orangutan conservation and the environmental issues with single-use plastics
  • The Zoo would like to have education tools (ex: recycling games) for elementary students on their website. Help the Zoo create tools they can use to teach kids about animals and/or conservation.
  • 3D printed biofacts (skulls, shells, etc.) are needed for interpretive programming at the Zoo. The biofacts will be handled by the public and there is a list of specific items needed.

Improvement or Expansion - This theme may only be selected if the submission will improve or expand upon a project that was successfully completed for Project Zoo by a participating classroom.

Available problem statement(s):

  • No available statements at this time

Miscellaneous – Problem statements listed within this section do not clearly fall under the other listed themes.

Available problem statement(s):

  • The Little Rock Zoo would like lapel pins with the Zoo’s logo.
  • Orangutan related art created with the use of technology that may be sold or auctioned off at a function related to orangutan conservation.
  • The Little Rock Zoo needs an app that can be used to store emergency protocols such as those that detail how to respond to weather, fire, and medical issues.

Special Request - This option may be selected if the submitting classroom has an idea not listed within this packet. Please note, projects listed as miscellaneous may have a more difficult pathway to becoming selected. This is because the problem statements listed within the other themes will be given priority during the selection process. 

For questions related to specific themes/projects, please contact Brian Kutsch (bkutsch@littlerock.gov)

Application Timeline for Current School Year: 

OctoberRequest for proposal   announcement and beginning of application acceptance period
November   20Deadline   for submissions, after which phone interviews will begin
November   29Announcements   for the first round of selected partners will take place after the date   listed
December   6After   the date listed, applicants not selected will be provided with the   opportunity to submit a proposal for a remaining problem statement/project if   any remain
December   18Deadline   for submissions, after which phone interviews will begin
January   6Announcements   for the second round of selected partners will take place on or after the   date listed


Submit all applications in a PDF format to Project Coordinator, Sara Swisher at sara@EASTstaff.org.

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