Conservation Education: Effective Program Design

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CED Butterfly

Hosted by 
Oglebay Resort
Wheeling, WV 
February 8-13, 2016 

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.

Course Objectives

After completing this course, participants will be better able to:

  •  Apply the ADDIE model of instructional design to assess needs, design and develop education programs, and evaluate programs and exhibits. 
  • Utilize zoo and aquarium industry trends and audience research in program development. 
  • Employ new strategies and activities to convey conservation messages. 
  • Collaborate more effectively with other zoo and aquarium departments. 
  • Enhance management skills of budgeting, team building, strategic planning, and establish partnerships. 
  • Develop the tools needed to participate in local, regional, and international conservation/education projects. 
  • Assess the issues related to the use of educational technology to determine its potential for their own institutions.  
  • Work with their institution’s staff to develop an institutional policy in the use of animals in education programs. 
  • Exchange information and ideas on marketing and implementing programs for children, families, and adults. 
  • Work with a team of colleagues to develop a program idea and formulate a presentation to the instructors. 
  • Network with other educators and build relationships for future collaboration and information sharing. 
  • Obtain references and resources. 

Is This Course Right For You?

This course is designed for zoo and aquarium staff that has either direct responsibility for education programs at their institutions, or for those staff who have an interest in, or connection to, education. Zoo and aquarium educators, volunteer/docent managers, exhibit design staff, children’s zoo staff, librarians, marketing, development and public relations staff will benefit from participation in this course.


Elise Bernardoni, Sr Manager of Education Programs - Smithsonian's National Zoo
Carrie Chen, Director of Education and Conservation - Aquarium of the Bay
Chad Fifer, Director of Education - Nashville Zoo at Grassmere
Shareen Knowlton, Director of Education - Roger Williams Park Zoo
Leanne White, Curator of Education - Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
Brian Davis, President & CEO - The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk


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 to for consideration.  

Course Registration & Travel

Tuition & Expenses 

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. 

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

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.      

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