Elk NetworkReflective Elk to Raise Awareness, Warn Drivers

General | May 23, 2018

The concept was simple but it took some thinking, creativity and ultimately hands-on skill. Zach, Wientjis, a high school student in Jackson, Wyoming, teamed up with artist Bland Hoke to create two life-sized bull elk designed to raise awareness about the animals that inspired the nearby National Elk Refuge while alerting drivers at the same time.

“I didn’t want to simply scare people with what they think is a real animal about to step onto the road,” said Zach Wientjis, Jackson High School student. “I wanted it to be a little more intriguing and unique.”

So Wientjis (wearing the black hoody in the photos) used what he calls the “Fab Lab” at his high school to design, cut and mill the elk silhouettes. From there, he covered them with reflective sheeting that glimmer in a vehicle’s headlights. Their first location is next to Highway 26/89/191 north of Jackson but they are designed to be mobile so they can be moved from place to place.

“This is their home for now, but we hope to move them from time to time over the summer. This will be like the ‘Where’s Waldo’ of the highway,” he added. “It’ll keep things fresh and hopefully make people a little more vigilant,” added Wientjis.

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(Photo source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)