Course Content and Outcome Guide for BMZA 107

Course Number:
BMZA 107
Course Title:
Horticulture for Zoo Keepers
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Introduces the principles and importance of horticulture in the design, culture and maintenance of zoological enclosures. Covers basic plant anatomy and physiology, plant ecology in a controlled environment, plant identification and use of plant material to supplement diets of captive populations. Includes hands-on horticultural techniques for maintenance. Prerequisite: BMZA 110. Department permission required. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon successful completion, students should be able to:

  • Apply an understanding of zoological horticulture to captive animal populations to assist in the design of functional and aesthetic zoo enclosures.
  • Effectively communicate within a team of zoo professionals regarding issues involving plant anatomy and physiology utilizing proper terminology.
  • Apply the principles of plant ecology to solve the challenges of zoological horticulture.
  • Assist in the cultivation and maintenance of plants in a zoo enclosure setting using basic horticulture techniques.
  • Use an understanding of the major plant groups to select appropriate plant species to be used as supplemental food sources and to identify those which are potential threats for captive populations.

Course Activities and Design

The format for this course is traditional lecture presentations plus demonstration and laboratory experience in zoological horticulture. Lecture will be presented utilizing a variety of multimedia and interactive presentations. Laboratory experiences will be largely hands-on, team based, collaborative experiences involving instruction primarily at the Rock Creek campus and possible projects at field sites.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

  • Participate in and contribute to all class and team discussions and activities.
  • Complete homework and project assignments
  • Write all scheduled lecture and laboratory practical examinations, weekly quizzes and case studies.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)


  • The interrelatedness of structure and function of plants.
  • Environmental factors impacting plant growth and propagation
  • Scientific method


  • Correctly apply appropriate terminology to anatomical structures and physiological processes in plants including roots, stems, leaves and
    reproductive structures.
  • Integrate the study of tissues and cells to the structure and functions of the plant organs and systems they comprise.
  • Classification schemes to demonstrate the interrelatedness of plant species
  • Environmental factors impacting plant growth and development including light, water, temperature and nutrients
  • Photosynthesis
  • Plant growth and development including seeds and germination, plant growth factors, flowering and dormancy and hardening
  • Determining which plant species that might provide supplemental food
  • €œBrowse€ for zoo animals and which are harmful.
  • Integrated pest control


  • Conflicting and limitations of data
  • Differences between science and pseudo-science
  • Attitudes and practices are evolving
  • Organic v. synthetic nutrients
  • Pest control
  • Determining which plant species might be appropriate for zoo enclosures


  • Horticultural techniques
  • Collecting plants