When I was a kid, my world revolved around kittens, theme parks and writing oddly dark short stories–until my parents whisked us off on an adventure to Brazil. The trip affected my career more than any other event in my life. Not because of the image burned into my psyche of my mother sambaing in the street with a half-naked transvestite in the Carnival parade, but because of a quiet afternoon at the Rio de Janeiro Zoo.
The third-world zoo was like nothing I’d seen before. Concrete cage, after concrete cage. Barely large enough to hold a tiger, yet holding them two at a time. This experience brought my world into focus. I had to do something about it.
I read everything I could find about zoos, created my own curriculum, forced my way into internships that really weren’t meant for me, interrogated zoo staff and designers, focused every project on zoo design. And after graduation, I was hired by PGAV.
Since then, I’ve been immersed in a wide world of design, from zoos to theme parks to natural wonders. And continuously, I’ve kept observing, analyzing, changing. Zoo design is holistic and vastly complex. It’s about nature, experience, emotion, awareness. It’s ever-evolving; it’s life.
Through it all, I’m still inspired by my job’s challenge, and even though I now get nauseous on roller coasters, I still coo at cute baby animals, look forward to Disney, and search for the next great story to tell.
Stacey M. Ludlum
MASTER OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE WITH HIGH HONORS
- North Carolina State University–Raleigh, NC
- August 2000-May 2003
BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN ZOOLOGY WITH HIGH HONORS
- Michigan State University–East Lansing, MI
- Concentration in Zoo and Aquarium Science
- August 1997-May 2000
Zoo, Aquarium and Wildlife Experience
PECKHAM, GUYTON, ALBERS & VIETS, SAINT LOUIS, MO
Director of Zoo & Aquarium Planning and Design, December 2016-Present
Zoological Planner and Site Designer, May 2003-December 2016
- Design animal habitats, educational big ideas, and experiential storylines for zoos, aquaria, theme parks, museums.
- Create master plans for long term success of animal related institutions.
- Assist with various project management duties including estimates, communication logs, meeting leadership, etc.
- Assist and lead marketing efforts new and existing clients including writing copy, creating responses to RFQ / Ps, interviewing for projects.
- Created and implemented a unique mentorship and professional development program called the ‘Specialty Development Team’.
NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY, RALEIGH, NC
Thesis Project Historic Zoo Architecture: Creating New Meaning, May 2002-May 2003
- Intense evaluation of successful integration of historic zoo structures into modern exhibitry practices and its implications for communication of zoo message and creation of meaning.
- Application of devised theory and principles on design site: National Zoo’s Elephant House
TRIANGLE METRO ZOO, WAKE FOREST, NC
Zoo Design Independent Studio, July 2002-December 2002
- Evaluated and prepared ten year Master Plan for small rural zoo.
- Created base maps, conducted analysis, made recommendations, and prepared document including site design, master plan, design standards, and storyline for planning and marketing purposes.
URSA INTERNATIONAL, ATLANTA, GA
Zoo Design Independent Study, June 2001
- Intensive design workshop between principal and myself for Master Plan and detailed design for specific exhibits within Jamaica’s Hope Zoo.
- Evaluated implemented designs at Zoo Atlanta and proposed designs for Stone Mountain Farm.
CINCINNATI ZOO AND BOTANICAL GARDENS, CINCINNATI, OH
Graphics and Exhibits Intern, June 1999-August 1999
- Developed educational themes for new Arctic and Vanishing Giants exhibits.
- Studied and documented exhibit efficiency based on visitor interest and animal activity.
- Fabricated and maintained graphics, signs, and various exhibit furnishings.
BINDER PARK ZOO, BATTLE CREEK, MI
Exhibit Construction Crew Chief, May 1998-August 1998
- Supervised and constructed new Colobus Monkey exhibit as part of the Wild Africa–a 50 acre expansion of the zoo.
KENYAN NATIONAL PARKS AND RESERVES, KENYA, AFRICA
Study Abroad, May 1998
- Evaluated and developed management practices for the parks system. Observed animal habitats and behaviors.
Memberships, Activities and Awards
- 2016 AZA National Conference Presenter: Big Bear Alpine Zoo
- 2016 Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens National Conference Presenter: Designing for Carnivore Wellness
- 2015 AZA National Conference Presenter: Brand and Experience
- 2015 AZA Exhibit Awards: Top Honors for Heart of Africa at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
- 2015 ICEE Beijing Presenter: Designing for Enrichment: Trends In Zoo Habitat Design
- 2013 & 2014 AZA National Conference Presenter and Session Moderator: Enrichment as Guest Experience
- 2013 AZA National Conference Presenter: On the Boards–Tulsa Zoo “Lost Kingdom: Tiger”
- 2013 AZA Exhibit Awards: Significant Achievement for Sea Lion Sound at St. Louis Zoo
- 2013 Blooloop.com, Contributing Blogger
- 2012 Mote Marine Laboratory Turtle Patroller on Longboat Key, FL
- 2012 AZA Exhibit Awards: Top Honors for Glacier Run at Louisville Zoo
- 2011 ICEE Portland Presenter: PGAV Destinations and Environmental Enrichment: Designing Glacier Run
- 2011 Advancing Bear Care Poster Presenter: Building the Igloo
- 2010 PGAV Specialty Development Team Creator and Zoo Design Team Leader
- 2005 AZA Professional Development Class: Creating Successful Exhibits, Completion and Guest Speaker
- 2003 LABASH Program Design and Speaker Coordination Director
- 2002 ASLA National Student Design Competition: Graduate Team Design Commendation
- 2002 North Carolina ASLA Award for Excellence
- American Zoo and Aquarium Association Membership Committee Member
- American Zoo and Aquarium Association Commercial Member Advisory Panel
- Featured Expert in Various News Media including the Washington Post, Vox.com, InPark Magazine, and local TV
Relevant Project Experience
- Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, GA
- Six Flags Marine World 2005 Expansion, Vallejo, CA
- Six Flags Great Adventure Kingda Ka, Jackson, NJ
- Busch Gardens Sheikra Expansion, Tampa, FL
- Louisville Zoo Glacier Run, Louisville, KY
- Big Bear Zoo Master Plan and Schematic Design, Fawnskin, CA
- Brookfield Zoo Master Plan, Chicago, IL
- St. Louis Zoo Master Plan, St. Louis, MO
- Brookfield Zoo Great Wild North, Chicago, IL
- SeaWorld Aquatica, Orlando, FL
- National Aviary Expansion, Pittsburgh, PA
- Six Flags Discovery Kingdom Rebranding, Vallejo, CA
- SeaWorld Dolphin Show Pool, San Diego, CA
- SeaWorld Dolphin Interaction Pool, San Diego, CA
- Discovery Cove Reef Improvements, Orlando, FL
- Baha Mar Resort Landscape and Animal Exhibits Design, Nassau Bahamas
- Kansas City Zoo Entry Experience, Kansas City, KS
- Zoo New England Master Plan, Boston, MA
- Worlds of Discovery Dubai Planning & Design, Dubai, UAE
- Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Master Plan, Columbus, OH
- Tulsa Zoo and Living Museum Master Plan, Tulsa, OK
- Milwaukee County Zoo Master Plan, Milwaukee, WI
- Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Safari Africa!, Columbus, OH
- Tulsa Zoo and Living Museum Lost Kingdom: Tiger, Tulsa, OK
- Dolphin Research Center Master Plan, Marathon, FL
At home, I am the proud fur-mama of three crazy kitties (Gracie, Pablo, and Spooky-Boo) and one old-lady dog, Moe Moe. I write fiction in my limited free-time, having completed two unpublished novels and winning several awards for my short stories. I recently learned to play guitar and play golf terribly, and am very handy with power tools. I’m a prolific traveler and spend a lot of time just walking around in the woods.