Zoo & Aquarium Division Update

August 31, 2023 • Cait Witherspoon • GLMV News, Zoos + Aquariums

Clifford partnering with Reverse the Red; Stowell joining the TESSERE Zoos & Aquariums Team

WICHITA, KS ­– TESSERE Architecture’s Zoos and Aquariums Division, a nationally recognized leader in zoological conservation initiatives within zoos and aquariums, and always on the lookout for new and exciting opportunities to expand on these efforts, announces a new partnership with their very own, Mike Clifford, in support of his new role with the international conservation consortium Reverse the Red. At the same time, we are equally excited to announce Stephanie Stowell, former director with the Albuquerque BioPark and longtime executive leader within AZA, to TESSERE Zoos as Director of Innovation and Planning. These changes will allow TESSERE to enhance its already groundbreaking immersive designs and be better partners for conservation.

As Strategy Director for Reverse the Red, Mike will be facilitating strategic efforts to amplify and accelerate conservation action to reverse the decline of species with organizations like Zoos, Aquariums, Botanical Gardens, IUCN, NGOs, and National Governments. This partnership will also allow Mike to be a global advocate for innovation and conservation impact for TESSERE projects. His profound expertise and passion for zoos and aquariums has been instrumental in the growth and success of the Division, and his thought leadership in ECHO has driven innovation across the zoo and aquarium community. We are excited to witness the positive impact he will continue to make in his new role.

“Zoos and aquariums play an essential role in a coordinated global effort to reverse species decline. I’m deeply honored and very excited to be in a position to foster impact-driven strategic action for all types of organizations, Clifford said. “My time with TESSERE Zoos has been amazing, and I’m so thankful that I’ll be able to continue supporting the Division as we support our zoological partners in the amazing work they do to ensure a thriving world for all living things!” 

Stephanie has worked with several AZA facilities in multiple capacities, from director and executive team to leading learning, audience research, conservation, and engagement efforts. Stephanie knows first-hand the impact that the built environment can have on animal well-being and in engaging the public in support of conservation efforts and will add that knowledge to the Zoos and Aquariums Division’s program development and strategic planning tool chest. Stephanie will create innovative engagement opportunities and ensure high-quality care and habitats for animal ambassadors through the development of strategic, master, and long-range plans; program designs; and implementation projects.

“What drew me to TESSERE was their holistic approach to zoo and aquarium design,” Stowell said. “In addition to the depth of expertise in architecture and planning, many members of the team come to this work from an animal care, education, and guest engagement perspective, which makes for more innovative designs. I’m excited to expand on the integrated planning services of the team to produce the most robust and comprehensive designs and experiences that align with our client’s evolving priorities for animal well-being, guest engagement, and conservation impacts.”

Since its founding in 2011 by Vice President and Division Lead Craig Rhodes, our Zoos and Aquariums Division has witnessed remarkable growth, transforming into a global leader in zoological design. Our tenacious team of talented designers, architects, landscape architects, project managers, and zoological professionals are deeply committed to advancing the collective mission of zoos and aquariums – conserving animals worldwide. As our team continues to grow, our passion and expertise will drive innovation and transform the face of zoos and aquariums for the better. Together with Reverse the Red and all our partners, we are unwavering in our commitment to excellence and a positive impact on the health and resilience of our planet.