Principles of Ambassador Animal Management


Hosted by San Diego Zoo
San Diego, CA
December 5-10, 2022

This course is designed for ambassador animal coordinators and managers; education staff who utilize animal ambassadors within their programs; ambassador animal and interpretive keepers; and museum professionals who handle live animals.

Course Objectives

Participants will come away with a wide variety of information on all aspects of managing ambassador animal collection including:  

  • Preparing for accreditation application and inspections, creating an Ambassador Animal Policy, and sharing Ambassador Animal Collection Planning

  • Discuss welfare and assessments of ambassador animals

  • Creating and utilizing Training Plans, Training Logs, Animal Training Progress Forms and Enrichment Forms

  • Recording and tracking ambassador animal enrichment and experiences 

  • Tracking and managing ambassador animal use hours  

  • Interfacing between departments and department structures

  • Interpretation and presentation styles 

  • Managing and developing staff 

  • Principles of operant conditioning

  • Training staff and volunteers to handle animals 

  • Volunteer management

  • Ambassador animal health management 

  • Animal transportation best practices 

  • Discuss USDA standards

  • Current topics in the industry as applicable to ambassadors and class feedback

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

Nicki Boyd, Associate Curator of Behavioral Husbandry - San Diego Zoo
Christina Dembiec
, Director of Education - Memphis Zoo
Jimmy Johnson
, Head Veterinarian - Denver Zoo
Jacqueline Menish, Curator of Behavioral Husbandry - Nashville Zoo, Inc.

Is This Course Right For You?

This course is designed for ambassador animal coordinators and managers; education staff who utilize animal ambassadors within their programs; ambassador animal and interpretive keepers; and museum professionals who handle live animals.

Prerequisites
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.

Travel & Accommodations

Air Travel
San Diego International Airport (SAN) is about 20 minutes from the Hotel. Course participants stay at the designated hotel and classes meet on-site.

Hotel
Hotel information will be available soon.

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.

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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