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Workshop FAQs


Our host list for workshops is full through 2022, but sometimes things happen (more funding (yea!), hurricanes at the host site (defintely not yea)), that allow for additions to the schedule. Beginning in 2020, we will only schedule workshops when we have met a person who works for the host facility and who will be included in the coordination of the workshop. If you have questions or comments about these FAQs (or anything else about Hose2Habitat), please email We want to help you and we love learning from you. So bring it on! One request: Be kind. Somehow, we don't think that's going to be a problem for most of you.


Here is a quick list of reasons why you might want to host a Hose2Habitat workshop: 


Workshops are free. 

Keepers can learn new skills.

At the end of the workshop, keepers have new ideas and renewed focus on enrichment.

You can choose the workshop session topics from many options. 

For workshops in the United States, we can usually provide most of the materials (or have them locally donated). For international workshops and some session topics, the host facility will need to provide the materials.

Your keepers can drop in when their schedules allow.

You get to keep the enrichment your staff makes.

Workshops provide an opportunity for your keepers to network with keepers from other facilities.

Workshops increase morale.


Are there restrictions on who may attend a Hose2Habitat workshop?

Yes. All participants must be over the age of 18 and employed by a zoo, animal sanctuary, animal rehabilitation facility, or research or educational facility in relation to animal welfare. We may make exceptions for docents and volunteers, but these participants must be cleared, in writing, by a Hose2Habitat director. All participants must sign the Hose2Habitat particpant agreement, which includes a waiver and release.


How does Hose2Habitat decide where to hold a workshop?

A number of factors go into the decision. The more of the following factors a facility has, the more likely we are to hold a workshop there. Of course, the most important factor is: Does the facility want to host a Hose2Habitat workshop? These are some others:


The facility is within 150 miles of Washington, DC. (So we can drive there, saving on transportation costs.)

The facility has on-site lodging (cabins, etc.) or is located near a friend or relative of Lisa, Tony, or the workshop leader (this saves on lodging costs, because most of our friends and family will lend us a couch).

A keeper who has won a prize in our annual enrichment contest works at the facility.

The facility is centrally located to allow zookeepers from other facilities to easily attend.

The keepers at the facility have been so kind to us that we want an excuse to see them again.

The facility participates in the Owens Corning/Hose2Habitat enrichment donation program.


What does Hose2Habitat charge to host a workshop?

Zero, zilch, zip, nil, nada, nought, nothing. If you have the ability to help with costs, that is much appreciated, but we do not want any facility to be unable to host a workshop because the facility cannot (or will not) provide funds for it.


What does Hose2Habitat charge workshop participants?

You have travel to the workshop and often you'll need to bring or buy your own food during the workshop (though we try to have free anti-hangry snacks available), so we know it will likely cost you something to be there. However, we do not charge for you to attend the workshop and you may take the items you make home for free, if you want them. We do not allow the host facility to charge participants to attend, though if the workshop is in conjunction with a conference, the host may charge a fee to cover expenses directly related to the workshop, such as rent for the room, lunch for participants, and transportation for participants.


What are some of the basics of workshop planning?

  • There should be one primary contact person from the host facility, but at least one other person on the host facility staff should be part of the planning process from the beginning in case the primary contact becomes unavailable. The few times there has been no backup and the primary contact was no longer available, there were significant glitches in communication and planning due to the primary contact leaving the facility and the new primary contact person not having complete information in order to properly follow through. Because of this, if the primary contact is not available to follow through with planning all the way through the process until after the workshop is held, we may need cancel the workshop.

  • The host facility works with us to determine the following:

    • the date(s) for the workshop, including set up and clean up times

    • the start and stop time each day

    • food and beverage options for participants so that we can include that in participant information

    • available indoor (and possibily outdoor) space for the workshop, the topics to be covered in the workshop

    • the number of participants that will be able to sign up (our preference is no higher than a 1:10 instructor:participant ratio)

    • how and by whom materials will be supplied

    • other logistical issues.

  • After the information listed above decided, we create an online registration link for the host facility to approve before it is made public. The host facility can see the registration information in real time.


Are there other direct costs for the workshop?

Maybe. Hose2Habitat can usually source most or all of the materials necessary for the workshop. In cases where we can't, we will discuss this in advance with the host facility. The host facility can provide the materials we cannot source or change the workshop topics to something we can source. In that way, the cost of the workshop is up to the host facility.


What site facilites does the host need to have?

The host facility needs to have, at a minimum:

Lighted indoor or outdoor workspace sufficiently covered to stay dry in precipitation and large enough for the expected size of the workshop. (Some topics, such as making PVC into bamboo, require outdoor space for sufficient ventilation.)

Free drinkable water.

Electrical outlets.

Indoor, permanent toilets.

Free parking.


What do you need to set up for the workshop?

We need access to the workshop space for approximately 3 hours. For workshops that begin in the morning, we prefer to do this the afternoon before the workshop. That way, if something needs to be modified we can usually take care of it before the workshop. If necessary, we can set up the morning of the workshop, but we still need 2 or 3 hours, so that makes for a very early morning for everyone. 


What about food and drinks during the workshop?

Food:  Participants' lunch and snacks may or may not be included - this is the host facility's choice. It is also acceptable to have lunch brought in or available on site for a reasonable charge to the participants.

Water:  The host facility will need to provide a source of free drinking water for the participants. Hose2Habitat leaders are fine with drinking out of a garden hose, but some others may not be, so you'll need to have bottles of water or a water fountain or some other civilized source of free drinking water.  

Coffee: The Hose2Habitat workshop leaders must have coffee...strong coffee. It doesn't have to be free, but it has to be available. It's better for everyone that way. 


How long is a workshop?

How long do you want it to be? We've held workshops that lasted 4 hours and workshops that lasted 3 days. We probably won't do one shorter than 4 hours, but we're up for more than 3 days if the situation warrants.  


What time of day do workshops meet?

Knowing that the keepers at the host facility will be busy taking care of the animals, especially in the morning, we try to have the hands-on and skill-teaching modules of the workshop in the late morning or early afternoon so that the host facility can maximize staff participation. If keepers from other facilities are attending, we arrange with the host facility to allow time for those keepers to explore the host zoo or sanctuary (keepers love to visit other zoos and sanctuaries!) and provide networking opportunities for them with us and each other. 


What is a typical schedule for a workshop day?

A typical full-day workshop schedule looks like this, but it this is only an example. It is very flexible.


8:30a - 9:00a  Registration, safety briefing

9:00a - 12:00p  Morning sessions 

12:00a - 1:00p  Lunch and fire hose stripping demo

1:00p - 1:30p  Registration, safety briefing

1:30p - 4:30p   Afternoon sessions 


If we host a workshop, can staff drop in at different times to help ensure that all who want to attend may?

We understand that with other events, areas are minimally staffed to allow selected keepers to participate all day. This leaves more work for the remaining staff and can lead to hurt feelings and grumpy keepers. We strongly, ardently request that the host facility work with us to design modules and other ways to include everyone who wants to attend in some part of any workshop that lasts an entire day or more. With some workshops, each module builds on information from the previous modules. With these workshops, we work with the host facility to include at least one module that is "stand-alone" for staff who will not be able to attend the entire workshop.


How many participants can attend the workshop?

This is determined by Hose2Habitat and the host institution, by considering the space available at the host facility and the number of workshop leaders. We have conducted workshops with as few as 8 and as many as 150 participants. For hands-on instruction, we prefer to have at least one instructor for every 10-12 participants. 


How do you decide the content of a workshop?

Most of the time, we provide a list of options to the host facility from which they can chose. Then we discuss the feasibility of those options and work together to set the content for the workshop. Sometimes we decide what we want to teach and ask what zoos and sanctuaries would like to host a workshop on that skill.


How are the workshop leaders selected for each workshop?

The content, location, and date of the workshop are all considered when choosing a workshop leader. If a specific leader is requested, we can design the workshop around that leader's specialties and schedule.


Is it the same workshop each day and that is why you do not have to attend all of the days?  

No two workshops days are ever the same. The signup will show what topics are offered for each session and day. However, even if you take the same topic two or more days, the enrichment you make can be varied. For example, if you take a session on hammocks, one day you can make a triangle hammock for a badger and the next a hammock swing for colobus monkeys and the third day a 50’x 50’ square hammock for a troop of chimps.


The reason that we tell people that they do not have to attend both days is so they know that if they can only make it for one day, they are welcome to come!


Some workshops will have skills or components that build on content from the day before. In that case, we will post that. For example it takes (at least) two days to completely build a large firehose ungulate. We post on our workshop that although participants can come for just one day, if they want to learn to build the animal from start to finish, they will need to attend both days.  


How many projects do you estimate might be built in a day?  

That depends on the items being built and the skill of the person making the item. For example, a cube can be made in 15 minutes, a large cargo net can take 5 hours, a large ungulate will take at least two days...or they can take..a lot longer. 

All of the firehose items in the picture at the top of this page were made in one afternoon session for browsers.


What are the approximate sizes of the projects?  Just trying to figure out what car to drive.  

The projects you make are up to you. Some are cubes as small as 1”x1”x1”. Some are cargo nets are as large as 100’ x 100’.  In addition, we usually give away any extra fire hose and materials after the workshop and sometimes we have enrichment materials we’ve brought for donation from Owens Corning or other donors to give away. Participants often leave with a van or pickup truck full of enrichment.


Do you limit the number of participants? 

We always limit the number of participants for workshops where enrichment items are being made by participants. (For presentations we limit the participants to the safe occupancy of the space where the presentation is given.)  Here’s why:


  • We supply the materials and most tools and do not have unlimited means to acquire and bring them to the workshop.  

  • The workshops are “hands-on” learning and the workshop leaders demonstrate skills, answer questions and help with any problems participants have when building their enrichment items, and give individual tips and tricks along the way.  If we have too many participants, we will not be able to give timely, thorough assistance to each participant. 


Is there a date as to when you are no longer taking sign-ups? 

We stop taking signups when the workshop session is full or the day we pack up to go to the workshop (so we are sure to bring enough materials), whichever comes first.


Do you have other questions? Let us know!

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