Colchester Zoo Engineering Project 2017/18 Goes Live!

Our 2016/17 winners presenting their design!

Monday October 2nd saw the launch event for this year’s Colchester Zoo and E&I STEM Programme Engineering competition, held at Colchester Zoo.

We were delighted to have student and staff representatives from the following schools joined us on the day: Harwich and Dovercourt, Thurstable, the Gilberd, Clacton County High, Alec Hunter, Philip Morant, Brentwood County High, Woodlands and James Hornsby. While teams from Manningtree and Maltings Academy couldn’t unfortunately join us on the day, they’ll be taking part in the competition too. In addition representatives of Essex-based engineering companies Bertrand and Flaktwoods joined us, intending to support teams this year.

Our winners from the 2016/17 competition – students from the Gilberd School in Colchester – opened the launch event, presenting their winning design for an Elephant feeder to the gathered audience. They did a fantastic job of explaining how they transformed their initial ideas into reality, thanks to the support of Flaktwoods staff (a local engineering company) and the Zoo team, and then demonstrating their exciting design. They’ll be working with technical staff at Colchester Zoo over the course of the next few weeks to get their prototype to a fully-working model, ready to be installed in the enclosure itself later in the year.

Andy Moore from Colchester Zoo’s Education team then delivered the brief for this year’s competition, inviting teams to choose between designing a system to create currents for the Otter enclosure or to design a system to automatically lock Guineafowl in at night. Andy suggested that teams could consider coloured jet systems, with changing strengths and temperatures, or using existing microchip/tagging systems.

Teams were then escorted to the enclosures themselves to have a first look at where their designs could one day be installed, before heading home ready to begin working on the project brief!

If your school would like to take part this year you’re not too late! Email us at e& and we’ll send you the brief, plus advise of milestones over the course of the year for teams to be aware of. If you’re an industry representative that would like to support a local team, email us and we’ll put you in touch.