Workshop Descriptions




Measuring Impact: Evaluating for Learning Outcomes at Zoos and Aquariums

Monday, March 24, 8:00 am-12:00 pm
$35 additional fee required

This workshop will introduce some fundamentals of evaluating learning, including common pitfalls to avoid and instruments to model. A discussion of common learning goals for zoos and aquariums including learning associated with environmental literacy and other conservation education oriented outcomes will be emphasized including instruments to best assess for these changes. Participants will practice generating critical questions that lead to evaluation, methods and rationale for triangulating data sources, good survey design, developing observation rubrics, and the use of authentic assessment techniques that lend themselves to supporting qualitative analysis.

Trends in Exhibit Design for Zoos and Aquariums

Monday, March 24, 1:00 pm-4:00 pm

Successful zoo and aquarium design is a balance between providing the best possible facilities for the well-being of the animals and the most powerful, inspiring, learning experience for zoo and aquarium visitors.

For many years, advances in zoo/aquarium design were centered in North America with the refinement of landscape immersion, the integration of cultural resonance and the inclusion of integrated training and enrichment into exhibit design.  At Aquariums, design has been focused on the development of large tanks and iconic architecture. Interpretation has advanced based on a greater focus on understanding our audiences and their knowledge base. More targeted development of messaging, graphics and interactives have resulted in deeper impact of content, tested through various types of evaluation.

This workshop will explore current trends and how those trends may inspire how we design exhibits in the future:

  • What are some global exhibit design trends and how do they impact the future of exhibit design?
  • What are the macro trends that potentially influence how we communicate our collective mission of conservation to our audiences?
  • How do we better integrate conservation action into our exhibit experiences?
  • How do we extend the exhibit experience beyond the zoo/aquarium?
  • What are technological trends that can change our approach to exhibit design in our facilities and beyond?
  • How can technology reshape/facilitate the exhibit experience while keeping the focus on animals?
  • How will advancements in animal behavior and cognition science and understanding change our approach to exhibit design?
  • Cultural norms drive how we design exhibits to address our audiences. What role can design play in helping to shape/evolve those norms?
  • How does funding play a role in shaping design and what if those constraints didn’t exist?

Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention of Infertility Workshop

Wednesday, March 26, 9:00 am-5:30 pm
Thursday, March 27, 8:00 am-12:00 pm
$50 additional fee required

Sponsored by the AZA Wildlife Contraception Center. Many zoo-based animal populations are unsustainable.  The logistics of bringing recommended pairs together may be one reason, but another not yet fully explored possibility is infertility. Thus, improving reproductive success and consequently, population sustainability, depends on identifying, treating and preferably preventing infertility.

This 1.5-day workshop will bring together specialists in animal infertility to review currently available information, highlighting taxonomic differences in the causes of infertility and approaches to treatment and prevention.

Day 1 will start with presentations by invited speakers to provide background information, followed by working groups, organized by taxon, for discussion of possible types of infertility in their managed species.  (9AM-5PM, lunch provided)

Invited Specialists:

  • Dr. Tim Safranski, University of Missouri, Division of Animal Science, Extension, State Swine Breeding Specialist, focuses on genetics and reproductive management for swine producers, veterinarians, and extension agents.
  • Dr. Richard Linhart, Pfizer Animal Health, Beef Veterinary Operations, specializes in improving beef reproductive efficiency and previously served as consulting veterinarian to the Louisville Zoo
  • Dr. Bruce Christensen, University of California-Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine, Population Health and Reproduction, specializes in reproduction of horses and dog and is an advisor to the AZA Wildlife Contraception Center.
  • Dr. Dalen Agnew, Michigan State University Veterinary School, Reproductive Health Surveillance Program, is the reproductive pathology advisor to the AZA Wildlife Contraception Center.
  • Dr. Anneke Moresco, Denver Zoo, Reproductive Health Surveillance Program, is an advisor to the AZA Wildlife Contraception Center on reproductive pathology.

On Day 2 working groups will develop approaches tailored to each taxon, with the objective of formulating practical action plans, focusing particularly on methods for diagnosis and potential treatment of infertility. (8AM-Noon)

A CD will be produced that will include PDFs of the presentations, summaries of the discussions, and outlines of the action plans, as well an extensive list of relevant publications.

Win the Internet with Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Integration

Thursday, March 27, 10:00 am-12:00 pm

If you've ever asked "How can we make our website more visible to reach our target audience?", this topic is for you. Attendees will leave with tools and an understanding of how to determine exactly how their customers search, so that they can provide them with a good experience and capture their attention online. Throughout the presentation, you will learn new strategies for how to improve the conversion rate on your site, integrate social media, and how to stay educated in the evolving space of search engine optimization. Whether you’ve been working on optimizing your website for years, or been putting it off for years, this topic will familiarize you with the best practices of search marketing today. Bring your questions and enthusiasm for innovation!

Presented by: Kimberly Ercius, Sercius