Foundations of Conservation Learning


Hosted by Oglebay Resort
Wheeling, WV
February 13-18, 2023

This course provides zoo and aquarium professionals with a comprehensive overview of how to design, develop, implement and evaluate learning experiences. Course materials include the latest research and trends in conservation education.

This course was formerly titled "Conservation Education: Creating Effective Learning Experiences." Course content has been updated for Spring 2023.
 

Course Outcomes

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

  • Describe and advocate for the role of conservation learning within their institution

  • Explain the basic principles of conservation behavior change

  • Design a project framework that supports conservation learning experiences 

  • Apply evaluative thinking and processes to their work

  • Identify resources, mentors, and networks within AZA to further their project work and careers 

Course Schedule

First Day
 - Student registration
 - Opening evening ceremony
 - Courses meet for individual opening session/class

Mid-Week
- Classes meet all day

Last Day
- Classes meet
- Closing Ceremony

Attendance is required for course participants for the duration of the course until the evening of the last day. As a result, individuals generally depart the following day. Attendees will receive a detailed schedule for their course after their registration is confirmed. 

Instructors

Rachael Bashor, VP of Mission Engagement and Director of Education - Riverbanks Zoo & Garden
Elise Bernardoni
, AZA Instructor and Felid TAG Education Advisor
James Danoff-Burg, Director of Conservation - The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens
Chad FiferChief Operating Officer - Boonshoft Museum of Discovery
Kyle Huetter
, Content Development Manager - Disney's Animals, Science, and Environment
Dave Johnston, Director of Engagement - Wildlife Conservation Society
Kathayoon Khalil
, Associate Vice President of Conservation Learning - New England Aquarium
Shareen Knowlton, Director of Education - Roger Williams Park Zoo
Trevor Mia, Curator of Education - St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park
Becky Nellis, Director of Conservation Education - The Wilds
Jim Wharton, Director of Conservation Engagement and Learning - Seattle Aquarium
Leanne White
, Director of Education - Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

Is This Course Right For You?

This course is for zoo and aquarium staff that has either direct responsibility for learning experiences or projects at their institutions, or for those staff who have an interest in, or connection to, creating experiences that inspire conservation action. Educators, volunteer managers, exhibit design staff, animal care staff, librarians, marketing, development, and public relations staff will benefit from participation in this course.

Prerequisites
None. Priority will be given to AZA members. 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 azatraining@aza.org for consideration.

Policies

As a science-based organization, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums encourages all registrants, instructors, speakers, sponsors, exhibitors and staff attending AZA meetings, courses and events to be up-to-date with vaccinations of all kinds, including COVID-19 and flu vaccinations.

Registrants are required to agree to the Attendee Liability Waiver and Assumption of Risk Policy (below) upon registering, agreeing to comply with any state or local mask mandates in place for indoor events until further notice. If no mask mandate is in place, attendees are encouraged to wear masks if they wish, but not required.

ATTENDEE LIABILITY WAIVER AND ASSUMPTION OF RISK POLICY 

Attendee assumes all risks and accepts sole responsibility for any injury (including, but not limited to, personal injury, disability, and death), illness, damage, loss, claim, liability, or expense, of any kind, that attendee may experience or incur in connection with attending the EVENT. Attendee hereby releases, covenants not to sue, discharges, and holds harmless ASSOCIATION, its employees, agents, and representatives, of and from any such claims, including all liabilities, claims, actions, damages, costs, or expenses of any kind arising out of or relating thereto.

Specifically relating to the global COVID-19 pandemic, attendee acknowledges the highly contagious nature of COVID-19 and voluntarily assumes the risk of exposure or infection by attending the EVENT, and that such exposure or infection may result in personal injury, illness, disability, and/or death to attendee. Attendee understands that the risk of becoming exposed to or infected by COVID-19 at the EVENT may result from the actions, omissions, or negligence of others who may attend the event or their families, colleagues, or others with whom they may have contact. Accordingly, attendee understands and agrees that this release includes any claims based on the actions, omissions, or negligence of ASSOCIATION, its employees, agents, and representatives, whether a COVID-19 infection occurs before, during, or after participation in the EVENT.

In addition to all other rules and regulations relating to the attendee’s attendance at the EVENT, attendee agrees to comply with all COVID-related procedures that may be implemented by ASSOCIATION and EVENT VENUE, including, but not limited to, mask-wearing and social distancing requirements and restrictions on certain activities that carry higher COVID-related risk, in order to protect as much as possible, the health and safety of all EVENT attendees.

Travel & Accommodations

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

Lodging
Lodging information coming soon.

Course participants stay at Oglebay Resort & Conference Center in Wheeling, West Virginia and classes meet on-site. All lodging reservations are priced per person at a package rate. Your accommodations will include breakfast, lunches, dinners, and snacks throughout the entirety of your stay. 

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 Registration

AZA Accredited / Certified Institutions*
Early Bird Rate:
 Deadline 9 weeks** prior to course start date
$1125 with Individual AZA Membership 
$1325 without Individual AZA Membership

Regular RateDeadline 4 weeks prior to course start date
$1325 with Individual AZA Membership 
$1525 without Individual AZA Membership

Individual Membership must be Professional Affiliate or Professional Fellow to qualify.


Non-AZA Institutions
Early Bird Rate:
 Deadline 9 weeks** prior to course start date
$1325 with Professional Associate Membership

Regular RateDeadline 4 weeks prior to course start date
$1525 with Professional Associate Membership

For information regarding our registration and refund policies, please visit our Professional Development Course Policies page. Accepted forms of payment for registration are by credit card, check, or purchase order.

To register with a credit card
You may now register and pay online with a credit card! Non-members can log in too, after creating a free account. After logging in, choose "Professional Development" 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. You will receive an acceptance email or waitlist email once acceptance decisions are made. 

To register with a check or purchase order
Please email your request to register, specifying the course and the name of whom you would like to register, to the Professional Development Coordinator.
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 a waitlist email once acceptance decisions are made. If you are not admitted into the course from the waitlist, a full refund will be promptly issued.

*Prices are subject to change
** The early bird timeline has been modified due to the delay in opening registration

For information regarding our code of conduct, registration, and refund policies, please visit our Professional Development Course Policies page.

Questions? For additional details please contact the AZA Professional Development Department.

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