In 1995,Gerry Craig, the
Curator of the Detroit Zoo's new Wildlife
Interpretive Gallery, called and told me that the zoo was planning
to hand out a gallery guide. Since more than a million people are expected
to visit the gallery each year, recovering a percentage of the brochures
would represent significant long-term savings. She wanted a receptacle
that would respond with a sound as brochures were deposited in it. The
sculpture was fabricated of fiberglass epoxy on a welded steel frame. It
is durable enough to withstand the rugged conditions created by the free
ranging human primates who visit the Hummingbird Butterfly Garden . Visitors
marvel at the profusion of flowers and five species of free-flying butterflies.
They search the colorful blooms and sculptural fountain for a glimpse of
one of a half dozen hummingbirds. Finally, the visitors notice the strange,
low whooping sound coming from the direction
of the exit. As they approach the exit, they see that the sounds are triggered
by others depositing their brochures into the mouth of the officious-looking
Visitors are thus encouraged to relinquish their own
The sculpture has now been in place for several years. So many brochures have been reused that printing more than the preliminary quarter million has not been necessary. By the second year, the sculpture paid for itself in reduced printing costs!
With the opening of the National Amphibian Conservation Center, the zoo is applying the idea of the Brochuri Putinhereicus to raising funds.