Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

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

Course Description

Explores the practical importance of plants in a zoo environment. Covers plant identification and selection for landscape and exhibit design, hands-on skills in gardening and water management, identification of browseable and toxic plants, plant conservation, and integrated pest management. Department permission required. Prerequisites: BMZA 110. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon successful completion, students should be able to:

  • Identify appropriate plants to assist in the design of functional, safe, and aesthetic zoo enclosures.
  • Assist in the cultivation and maintenance of plants in a zoo enclosure setting using basic horticulture techniques, including management of irrigation systems and integrated pest management.
  • Identify appropriate plant species to be used as supplemental food sources and those which are potential threats for captive animals in the local area, as well as resources for more information.
  • Promote public awareness of the importance of plants in our environment and regional plant conservation projects.

Course Activities and Design

The format for this course is traditional lecture presentations plus demonstration and laboratory experience in horticulture relevant to zoos. 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 occasional required field days.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

  • Lec/Lab attendance and participation
  • Quizzes and final exam
  • Short assignments
  • Plant care log
  • Field day reports
  • Exhibit planning project

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Themes, Issues, & Concepts

  • Propagation
  • Plant Identification
  • Irrigation
  • Conservation
  • Toxic plants
  • Browse plants
  • Pruning
  • Soils, nutrients, fertilizers
  • Plant disease
  • Diagnosing Plant Problems
  • Integrated pest management (IPM)
  • Landscape & exhibit design


  • Hands-on experience in several methods of propagation
  • Identify a plant using a plant key
  • Know botanical and common names for certain browse and toxic plants in the local area
  • Basic pruning skills for plant care and gathering browse
  • Be able to do a simple soil test
  • Understand how to identify plant problems
  • Assist in performing zoo maintenance using a variety of horticulture tools
  • Select appropriate plants for use in and around a zoo enclosure
  • Understand the basics of irrigation design
  • Assist in the installation or repair of a simple irrigation zone