On-site Initiatives

DTE Energy Foundation Humane Science Lab

One of several interpretive studios in the Ford Education Center, the DTE Energy Foundation Humane Science Lab is the hub of many of the Academy’s programs. The Lab provides an opportunity for students to learn about utilizing humane methods of study, such as virtual dissection models and simulations. Additionally, students, teachers and visitors experience other programs that model gentle ways of teaching and learning science.  Outfitted with eco-friendly décor, the DTE Energy Foundation Humane Science Lab is wrapped in a large-scale humane education mural. It highlights ecological footprints of countries around the world, animals rescued by the DZS and the message of “walking softly and treating the Earth’s creatures gently”.

Pollinator Gardens

Pollinator gardens, such as the garden located in the Detroit Zoo’s African Grasslands, show visitors ways they can create desirable habitats for indigenous animals and plants. This area demonstrates that helping animals begins in your own backyard.


Docents – or volunteer educators – have contact with thousands of Zoo visitors each year, through guided tours and informal learning experiences. They promote a humane ethic when interacting with audiences of all ages and backgrounds. Each docent training class includes a session dedicated to humane education. This includes a presentation that discusses humane education issues and the stories of the many rescued animals at the DZS in order to better share humane education concepts with guests.

Humane Education Film

The DZS has produced a film by Academy Award winner Sue Marx. “From Animal Showboat to Animal Lifeboatillustrates the many ways animals in entertainment are exploited and suggests a different course for the future. This film won an Emmy Award and was co-written and co-produced by DZS CEO and Executive Director Ron Kagan. This film is available to view in its entirety under the “From Animal Showboat to Animal Lifeboat” drop-down below.

Media and Signage

The DZS’s frequent press releases about issues involving animal protection and substantial onsite signage about rescue animals create visibility for the problems associated with keeping exotic animals, animals in entertainment and other welfare topics. They also encourage people to become animal advocates.