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- The team works together to design and build structures for the birds at the Dallas Zoo at just a fraction of the cost contractors quoted.
- They saved the zoo money and the students learned a lot by doing this real-life project and they’re breaking stereotypes to boot.
The mission of a group of all-girl construction students is to help build homes for the birds at the Dallas Zoo -- and to break down gender stereotypes.
Tami Gamble-Gurnell, known as Mrs. G, teaches construction and building trades at Duncanville High School and leads the school's bird structure building team.
She and the students all worked together to design and build structures for the birds at the Dallas Zoo at just a fraction of the cost contractors quoted.
Some of those "bedrooms" as the zoo like to call them, are up and running at the Dallas Zoo and more are on the way. They saved the zoo money and the students learned a lot by doing this real-life project and they’re breaking stereotypes to boot.
"I’m still a little scared of the drill [tool]. That was a very new experience," said Cheyenne Parker, who transferred to the class from architecture.
Other students came from agriculture studies.
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"We want them to enjoy what they’re doing and see working with their hands can be just as fun working on a computer. A lot of times this generation, doesn’t have a lot of time to work with their hands, everything’s just the touch of a key and we’re trying to break away from that, a bit," Gamble-Gurnell said.
Mrs. G. remembers when she first started at Duncanville and she felt lucky to see a female student in the construction classes. She says the numbers are clearly growing. Student Saleen Donohoe got handy thanks to her dad’s home flipping business.
If you can break a few stereotypes, help the community and some bird homes in the process it’s a win all the way around. And the birds are the stars of the show at the Dallas Zoo, including dozens of exotic birds and majestic animals, like Aurora the bald eagle.
"Its really exciting that something we designed on computer, and printed out is now being made and drilled and put together and put to use," Parker said.
Zookeepers wanted to help to improve their living space and create a place all the birds could enjoy at night but bids to build these bedrooms were costly, until the zookeepers stumbled upon Tami Gamble-Gurnell.
Gamble-Gurnell has inspired many other young ladies to take up construction.
"I was my dad’s sidekick growing up, my dad would buy rental properties and he would fix them up, after school we were over there fixing up the rental properties," Gamble-Gurnell said.