Capacity to Conserve

Jack Alderman, Laura Durgerian

The vision for this research-based conservation education campus stems from a need identified by the Painted Dog Research Trust’s director for greater “capacity.” In developing a systematic approach to capacity-building at the PDRT Zimbabwe Campus, we focused on four factors: resilience, re-use, adaptation and growth. Shaped by site topography and existing campus uses, we identified living, working and hybrid zones to provide an organizational framework for systematic site interventions.

Inspired by cultural history and available materials, we propose the use of gabion as a new construction material and opportunity for the empowerment of Sizinda women. By introducing and passing down gabion knowledge and expertise through the community’s women, the PDRT Zimbabwe campus can simultaneously conserve its resources and grow the capacity of both the site and its people – the campus can set a precedent for conservation while educating and empowering its community, starting with those most vulnerable, to create change on a broad scale.