Conservation Education: Effective Program Design

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CED Butterfly


February 8-13, 2016
Oglebay Resort
Wheeling, WV


To pay by check or purchase order:
Download the CED COURSE REGISTRATION FORM and return by mail with check or purchase order

To pay by credit card:
You can now register and pay online with a credit card! Just log in to our new website. Non-members can log in too after creating an account. After logging in, choose "Upcoming Events" from the menu on the left. Next, click on the title of the event for which you would like to register. Finally, choose "Event Registration" from the options at the top and complete the registration process. When registering online, there is no need to submit the registration form.

Course Description

Conservation Education: Effective Program Design provides zoo and aquarium educators with a comprehensive overview of how to design, develop, implement and evaluate education programs and exhibit interpretive elements. Course materials include the latest research and trends in informal science education. Class starts promptly each day at 8:00 AM.   

Tuition & Expenses

Early Bird Rates:
$850 for AZA Individual Members
$950 for Non-members
Regular Rates:
$950 for AZA Individual Members
$1050 for Non-members

Early bird registration deadline: 12 weeks prior to course start date
Final Registration deadline: 4 weeks prior to course start date

The AZA registration fee above covers only tuition for the course. Other expenses include hotel, travel, and meals. For more information about costs and logistics for courses hosted by Oglebay Resort in Wheeling, WV, visit our Wheeling Courses Travel Information page. 

Scholarship funding is available through a competitive process. 

Target Audience

This course is designed for any zoo and aquarium staff with education responsibilities, including educators, volunteer/docent coordinators, exhibit designers, children's zoo staff, librarians, marketing, development and public relations staff.


None. Priority will be given to individuals associated with AZA accredited institutions. International applicants and those not affiliated with an AZA accredited institution will be considered on a case-by-case basis; please submit a letter describing your intended benefit from taking this course.

Course Registration

Checks sent for course payment will be cashed immediately upon receipt as per standard business practices. Cashing your check does not indicate that you have been accepted into a course. You will receive an acceptance email or waitlist email once acceptance decisions are made.

Travel & Accommodations

Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) is the closest airport.Airport Limousine Plus and First Class Limo provide a shuttle service between PIT and the hotel.

Course participants stay at Oglebay Resort & Conference Center in Wheeling, West Virginia and classes meet on-site.

Please wait until you are admitted into the course before making your reservations. You will receive an email containing detailed information regarding your accommodations and transportation once you are admitted.

Course Topics & Instructors

The topics in this course are organized into three focal areas that are integrated throughout the week: instructional design methodology, management tools and techniques, and conservation. Activities, lecture, demonstration, whole group discussion and team exercises are incorporated.

Area 1: Instructional Design Methodology

  • Analysis: Identify audiences, recognize their characteristics and different learning styles. Use front-end analysis techniques to determine audience needs. Examine case studies. How do visitors construct meaning from their experiences at zoos and aquariums?
  • Design: Develop goals, objectives and outcomes, analyze available resources, determine age- and audience-appropriate content, outline the steps of instruction. Practice design of formal and non-formal programs. Apply these concepts to the design of exhibits and graphics.
  • Development: Develop the program content using a variety of resources and media. Determine effective uses of distance learning technology including Web-based education. Examine the messages we convey and what we know about the messages zoo and aquarium visitors take away. Explore the benefits and challenges to working with program and contact animals.
  • Implementation: Discuss a variety of program implementation and marketing strategies in the breadth of zoo and aquarium programming including fee-generating programs, school programs, teacher training outreach and youth programs.
  • Evaluation: Learn and practice formative and summative evaluation techniques for education programs, exhibits and graphics.

Area 2: Management Tools and Techniques

  • Topics and activities in this area are designed to help education professionals establish and maintain effective working relationships with staff in other departments, plan for future program expansion, obtain and manage financial resources, explore their role within their organization, and become actively involved in AZA activities. Topics and activities include:

    Grant writing
    Effective Teams
    Education Strategic Planning
    Working with AZA
    Informal lunch discussions with staff from other AZA disciplines

Area 3: Conservation

  • Topics in this area will provide educators with opportunities to examine case studies of institutional, community and collaborative conservation education initiatives at zoos and aquariums. Sessions on in situ conservation education will explore working locally and internationally through SSPs, TAGs and CAPs. We'll discuss how to implement regional conservation education projects. Informal lunch discussions will provide opportunities for exchange of information with field researchers.

Brian Davis, Director of Guest Programs and Education - Georgia Aquarium
Carrie Chen, Director of Education & Conservation - Aquarium of the Bay
Chad Fifer, Education Specialist - Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
Shareen Knowlton, Director of Education - Roger Williams Park Zoo
Danni Logue, Curator of Education/Volunteer Manager – Jenkinson’s Aquarium
Leanne White, Education Curator - Greenville Zoo 

Course Schedule

4:30-6:30 PM - Student registration
5:00-6:30 PM - Dinner buffet open
6:40-7:30 PM - Opening ceremony
7:30-9:00 PM - Courses meet for individual opening session/class

Tuesday through Saturday
Classes meet all day

9:00-4:00 - Classes meet
4:00-5:00 PM - Social and Silent Auction
5:00-5:30 PM - Closing Ceremony


For additional details please contact the AZA Professional Development Department or call (301) 562-0777 ext 251.