Principles of Program Animal Management

« Back to Professional Training Courses


PPAM Panda

No, you can't pet the pandas!

November 16-21, 2015
Crowne Plaza Clayon
St. Louis, MO


Please note, payment is now due at the time of registration. Please do not submit a registration form without payment, as it will not be processed.

To pay by check or purchase order:
Download the PPAM 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.

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

Course Description

Principles of Program Animal Management exposes students to the range of opportunities for program animal use and provides students with the knowledge to effectively develop and manage formalized programs utilizing animal ambassadors. By focusing on a range of methods, rather than teaching a single "recommended" approach, students will be better prepared to develop an approach that fits their institution's mission and philosophy.  Group exercises and discussions will engage the participants as they share ideas and brainstorm new methods of management practices.  Each day's instruction will lead to a final project in which teams will present their original program animal collection, animal handling policy, management practices, animal handling training.

Tuition & Expenses (subject to change)

Early Bird Rates:
$1000 for AZA Individual Members
1100 for Non-members
Regular Rates:
$1100 for AZA Individual Members 
$1200 for Non-members   

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

Please note, these rates are higher than past offerings of this course because they include course registration, as well as breakfasts, lunches, break service, and two dinners during the course. For courses hosted at Oglebay Resort in Wheeling, this cost is included in the lodging fee instead. The hotel rate in St. Louis will be $110plus taxes per room per night, with no surcharge for double occupancy. The overall resulting cost to participants will be similar compared to past offerings.

Scholarship funding is available through a competitive process.

Target Audience

This course is designed for program animal managers and coordinators; education staff who utilize program animals; program animal and interpretive keepers; and museum professionals who handle live animals.


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 and Accommodations

Lambert Saint Louis International Airport (STL) is the closest airport. The hotel provides free airport shuttle service and is also accessible via MetroLink.

Course participants stay at Crowne Plaza Clayton in St. Louis, Missouri 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

Participants will come away with a battery of information on all aspects of managing a program animal collection including:  

  • Creating a program animal policy for your institution
  • Training staff and volunteers to handle animals
  • Creating a Program Animal Collection Plan
  • Creating and utilize Training Plans
  • Creating and utilize Training Logs
  • Creating and utilize Animal Training Progress Forms
  • Creating a Program Animal Enrichment Program
  • Creating and utilize enrichment forms
  • Recording and tracking program animal enrichment
  • Interfacing between departments
  • Tracking program animal use hours and how to manage
  • Managing and developing staff
  • Interpretation
  • Volunteer management
  • Principles of operant conditioning
  • Program animal health management
  • Guidelines for handling all the STUFF we deal with !

Emily Insalaco, Curator of Behavioral Programs  - Denver Zoo 
Luis Padilla, Veterinarian - Saint Louis Zoo
Alice Seyfried, Curator for Children's Zoo - St. Louis Zoo
Brenda Walkenhorst, Director of Education/Volunteers - Audubon Zoo


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