Foundations of Ambassador Animal Management

October 19 - November 9, 2021
Tuesdays 1-3 pm ET

Virtual Course Overview

This course will give foundations of best practices for managing ambassador animals.  This shorter, virtual course is being offered in place of the week long in-person course "Principle of Ambassador Animal Management" typically offered each fall, due to Covid-19 restrictions and impacts. The primary instructors chose the most relevant topics in managing ambassadors at an AZA facility to include in this virtual offering. Topics that will be covered include but are not limited to accreditation, collection planning, welfare, sustainability, training, presentations, messaging, and transportation.

This course will meet weekly for four sessions, October 19 through November 9, for 2-hour live course sessions via Zoom. Discussion, homework and other resources between courses will be hosted on Google Classroom.

Course Objectives

After completing this course, students will better understand:

  • Collection planning for ambassadors 

  • Best practices for managing both ambassador animals and staff that work with them

  • Zoonotic disease potential 

  • Identifying, manging, and preventing stressors for ambassador animals

They will also gain knowledge from a larger network that will serve them well throughout their careers.


Nicki Boyd, Associate Curator of Behavioral Husbandry - San Diego Zoo

Jimmy Johnson, DVM, Veterinarian - Saint Louis Zoo

Jac Menish, Curator of Behavioral Husbandry - Nashville Zoo

Debra Swank, Training and Trends Coordinator - Akron Zoo

Is This Course Right For You?

This course is designed for people managing ambassador animal programs, but would benefit all staff who work with ambassador animals.

Course Registration

Staff at AZA Accredited/Certified Facilities*
Early Bird Rate:
 up to 4 weeks prior to course start date
$175 with Individual AZA Membership 
$225 without Qualifying Individual Membership

Regular Rateup to 2 weeks prior to course start date
$225 with Individual AZA Membership 
$275 without Qualifying Individual Membership

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

Individuals Not Employed at an AZA-accredited/Certified Facility**
Early Bird Rate:
 up to 4 weeks prior to course start date
$225 with Professional Associate Membership

Regular Rateup to 2 weeks prior to course start date
$275 with Professional Associate Membership

*Prices are subject to change.
**Individual Membership Requirement: Staff from non-AZA accredited facility must have an individual AZA membership to apply and register for an AZA course. 

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.

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