The Creative Animal Tour will bring a tiny house on wheels for students to view at the School of Natural Resources on University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s East Campus from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 12.
The tour is part of the Creative Animal Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting education and science through programs designed to advocate for conservation, sustainability, wildlife preservation and protection of the world’s oceans.
Since Jan. 1, foundation co-creators Stephanie Arne, host of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, and wildlife artist Tim Davison have been speaking about sustainability at schools, universities and businesses across the country.
“For us, we know that 99% of Americans have never seen a tiny home in person, let alone been inside of one,” Davison said in an email. “We want to offer that opportunity to get folks to think, and to ask themselves how much they really need to live a full lifestyle and be happy.”
Drawing people in, the house has allowed Arne and Davison to reach a broad audience as they tour the country. For the duo, the house has become a unique educational tool for sustainable living.
“When it comes to the tour and the tiny home, we wanted to show in an actual, practical way how two people were trying to live a more sustainable American lifestyle,” Davison said.
Davison and Arne want to show visitors all aspects of sustainable living, from how they conserve water and electricity to the products they buy.
“The tiny home is a mobile metaphor for the tiny home that we all share,” Davison said.
He said because most college students are open-minded, he and Arne are able to make the largest impact during their time spent on college campuses.
“For the most part, we don’t need to tailor our general message, they get it,” Davison said. “We just fill in the blanks and take them 10 steps past where they are. When we speak to younger students, or the ‘old dogs’ who feel as though they can’t learn new tricks, that’s when we tailor the message.”
So far, Arne and Davison have invited more than 20,000 people across the country to tour their tiny house and have reached many others through their presentations, online interactions and videos.
The duo asks people to simply start with one thing and build upon their success to create a more sustainable lifestyle.
If a million “average Americans” cut their water, electricity and plastic consumption by half, in one year it would amount to 18.25 billion gallons of fresh water conserved, 100 million pounds of plastic unused and over three million tons of CO2 saved from conserving electricity.
The School of Natural Resources communications associate, Shawna Richter-Ryerson, recognizes the importance of the message from the Creative Animal Tour, as it is working on its own sustainability efforts.
“At the School of Natural Resources, we're focused on providing our students opportunities to grow and learn outside of the classroom,” Richter-Ryerson said. “As our faculty and students continue to look at and research whole ecosystems, instead of just examining individual species, it becomes more obvious that sustainability needs to be a part of conservation efforts.”
Along with the tiny house tour, Arne and Davison will also speak in the auditorium of Hardin Hall at 5 p.m on Thursday about sustainability in the United States and the impact on the environment and wildlife. Both the tour and the talk are free and open to the public.
“In a larger sense, we want people [to] ask that question because we then want them to realize that they are an animal, too, and that their actions on a daily basis are making an impact on the ecosystems that make life on this planet possible,” Davison said.