Upcoming Webinars

Ambassador Animal Handling Training with Staff and Volunteers
Training staff and volunteers to properly handle ambassador animals is a task that comes with great responsibility. This meeting, which covers a topic directly from the Principles of Ambassador Animal Management AZA course, will focus on approaches to the handling training process and evaluation of that process, how handling training may differ between staff and volunteers, methods for annual recertification of handlers, considerations for who is qualified to be a handling trainer, and different ways that relationship building with animals and honing of trained handling skills are encouraged/facilitated after certification has taken place.

This session is designed for speakers and participants to engage in discussion, so please come willing to share and ask questions!

Debra Swank, Training and Trends Coordinator - Akron Zoo
Cherlyn Vatalaro, Director of Conservation Education - Lehigh Valley Zoo
Rebecca Young, MSc, CIG, Associate Curator, Ambassador Animals - Zoo Atlanta

Date/Time: Wednesday, March 31, 2-3:30 PM EST 

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Past Webinars

Ambassador Animal Welfare and Best Practices
This webinar will focus on strategies for improving animal ambassador welfare with a focus on habitats, training and presentations. The Principles of Animal Ambassador Management (PAAM) in conjunction with the Animal Ambassador Scientific Advisory Group (AASAG) continue to work with animal ambassador managers and wildlife care specialists to raise the bar for animal ambassadors in AZA facilities.

Facilitated by Nicki Boyd CIG, CPAT-KA, Associate Curator of Behavioral Husbandry and Ambassadors - San Diego Zoo

Date/Time: Wednesday, February 17, 2-3 PM EST 

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Developing Your DEAI Program
Join members of AZA’s Diversity Committee as we discuss developing and refining your organization's DEAI program. Panelists will provide context, tools, and answer questions to help individuals and organizations on their DEAI journey.

Curtis Bennett (he/him), Director of Equity & Community Engagement - National Aquarium
Jess Niven-Kohring (she/her), Director of Equity Programs - Los Angeles Zoo
Lindsay Mathisen (she/her), Inclusion Coordinator - Brevard Zoo
Mara-Lynne Payne (she/her), Senior Manager of Inclusion, Equity & Diversity - Tennessee Aquarium
Amy Rutherford (she/her), Director, Professional Development & Education - AZA
Dean Watanabe (he/him), Chief Conservation Education Officer - Fresno Chaffee Zoo

Date/Time: Friday, February 5, 12-1:30 PM EST 

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Supporting Schools Through COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has permanently altered the Pre-K-12 school landscape and the ways in which schools engage with zoo and aquariums. Now more than ever, teachers, caregivers, and students are turning towards trusted cultural organizations as sources for engaging and accurate science education curriculum and programming. In this 90-minute webinar, we will hear from four AZA zoos and aquariums who quickly mobilized and reimagined their educational programming to meet the academic and emotional needs of students and teachers across the country.

Moderator: Elise Bernardoni; Assistant Director of Education, Friends of the National Zoo

Alicia Archer, Education Programs Manager - Aquarium of the Pacific
Andrea Stein, Manager of School Programs - Roger Williams Park Zoo
Jasmine Smith-Gillen, School Programs Specialist - Roger Williams Park Zoo
Theresa Wilson, Education Specialist - ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park
Tiffany Evans, Educator - St. Louis Zoo

Date/Time: Tuesday, January 26, 12-1:30 PM EST 

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Live From Our Couches, it's Zoo Education!

2020 is the year that redefined the educator's mantra "meet your audience where they are." From our homes, our yards, behind masks, and 6 feet away, AZA teams have reimagined programs to continue engaging and educating our audiences during a global pandemic. In this 90-minute webinar, we will explore existing programs that underwent a complete transformation or new programs that grew out of the challenges of digital or socially-distanced learning.

Moderator: Elise Bernardoni; Assistant Director of Education, Friends of the National Zoo

Kimberly Coons; Director of Education and Volunteer Services, Rosamond Gifford Zoo
Jessi Parra; Education Programs Specialist/Assistant Camp Director, Friends of the National Zoo
Rosalío Rubio; School Programs Coordinator/Zoo Curator of Education II, Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens
Eric Turner; Volunteer Engagement Supervisor, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

Date/Time: Friday, December 11, 3-4:30 PM EST 

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Audience Focus: Level Up Your Presentation Skills for Maximum Impact

You've created a stellar presentation...but is it truly tailored for the audience you're about to speak to? How much content do they want and what do they need to know to make a decision? How do you straddle the line between delivering a fully scripted presentation and thinking on your feet? What happens when you get that question that you just can't answer?

We'll share best practices learned over the years on how to speak to audiences ranging from the Board and senior leaders to volunteers and conservation partners. And, in the era of COVID-19, speaking skills (both virtual and in person) are even more important as people, budgets, and time are all stretched thin. Presentations need to be succinct, on point, and purposeful. Your ideas, influence, and impact depend on it!

Please bring a presentation (notes, outline, PowerPoint, etc) that you are working on or have delivered recently so you can apply ideas in real time

Craft Your Presentation with the Audience in Focus - Julie Henry, President, Finish Line Leadership
Audience Focus: Team Members and Volunteers - Debbi Stone, Vice President of Learning, The Florida Aquarium
Audience Focus: Executive Team and Senior Leaders - Jim Wharton, Director of Conservation Engagement and Learning, Seattle Aquarium
Audience Focus: Conservation Partners and Scientists - David Bader, Vaquita SAFE Coordinator
Audience Focus: Board of Directors and Donors - Bill Street, Senior Vice President, Indianapolis Zoological Society

Date/Time: Thursday, September 3, 1:30-3 PM EDT 

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Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity for Membership Programs

Find out how to incorporate diversity, inclusion, and equity into your membership program. You will learn that by focusing on knowledge, empathy, and action you can create a community that is inclusive for people of different races, cultures, and backgrounds. This webinar will go into detail about how to 1) build your knowledge about anti-racism as a way to better inform your DEI plans, 2) launch an accessible membership level with DEI in mind, and 3) connect with local communities and launch DEI initiatives to attract a more diverse audience to your organization.

Emily Pinckney, Youth Volunteer Coordinator - Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
Alix Gasser, Director of Membership, Business Development & FUN! - Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
Alyssa Pacaut, Senior Manager of Membership - Aquarium of the Pacific

Date/Time: Thursday, August 20, 2-3:30 PM EDT 

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Impact of COVID-19 on Attitudes toward Animals: Framing Effective Messages

How has our collective human experience with COVID-19 affected people’s attitudes toward animals and nature? As we begin to reunite with our guests in-person (and continue to connect with global audiences through our online programming), zoo and aquarium educators need to re-frame messages around the basics: the interdependence of people and wildlife, importance of connection to nature, and the value of science. 
Join us for this first in a series of webinars in partnership with AZA's Conservation Education Committee designed to build a community of practice as we discuss the opportunities and challenges of interpreting conservation during this tumultuous time. We will explore framing effective messages both internally for volunteers, staff and Board members and for our guests, social media audiences, our donors and our community.
Julie Henry, President, Finish Line Leadership
Terry O’Connor, Principal Consultant, Terry O’Connor Consulting LLC
Nette Pletcher, Founder, Beez Kneez Creative 

Date/Time: Tuesday, August 11, 1-2:30 PM EDT 

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Building Resiliency in Our People

This pandemic and current social climate poses daily opportunities to improve how we guide and support our staff and volunteers as individuals and teams. Join this webinar, led by the AZA Human Resources Committee to hear colleagues discuss their experiences, including challenges and solutions they’ve realized along the way. Join us for insights, lessons learned, and ideas for supporting our people in our ever-changing environment.

Moderator: Laura Martina, Chief People Officer - Fresno Chaffee Zoo
Tammy Burnett, VP Organizational Development - Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden
Melissa Dude, Volunteer Program Manager - The Florida Aquarium
Mara-Lynne Payne, Senior Manager of Diversity & Inclusion - Tennessee Aquarium
Charlisa Shelly, Director of Human Resources - Kansas City Zoo
Jeff Vanek, Director of Human Resources - Utah's Hogle Zoo
Christie Vondrak, Chief Administrative Officer - Riverbanks Zoo & Gardens

Date/Time: Friday, July 10, 2-3:30 PM EDT 

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What Have We Learned Since Re-Opening?

Join this session presented by the AZA Business Operations Committee to learn from peers what facilities have learned during their re-opening including: How to determine capacity & ticketing; Staff & Guest Safety; Sanitation; Social Distancing; In Zoo Communication - Signage & other methods; and Concessions (Retail, Food Service, Animal Encounters, rides).
Moderator: Andrea Froehle, VP of Marketing & Communications - Event Network
Doug Lund, Sr. VP & COO - Utah's Hogle Zoo
Rachel Summers, COO - Blank Park Zoo
Eric Donovan, Director of Operations - Elmwood Park Zoo
Greg Charbeneau, VP/GM - OdySea Aquarium

Date/Time: Wednesday, June 24, 2-3:30 PM EDT 

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Population Management During the COVID-19 Crisis

This webinar, developed by the AZA Animal Population Management (APM) Committee, focuses on the current challenges that our cooperatively managed breeding programs are facing as a result of this public health crisis. The panelists will discuss various management strategies, priorities, and options that our zoos and aquariums may implement during this time. Program Leaders will hear ideas on how to keep managing their animal populations during the current budget, staffing, and transport limitations.
Moderator: Stacey Johnson, Corporate Director of Conservation & Research - San Diego Zoo Global
Presenters & Speakers:
Lori Perkins, Deputy Director - Birmingham Zoo
Joe Barkowski, Vice President of Animal Conservation & Science - Tulsa Zoo
Kristine Schad Eebes, Director - AZA Population Management Center
Drew Foster, Animal Curator - Phoenix Zoo
Barrett Christie, Director of Animal Husbandry - Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk
Mandi Schook, Science Operations Director - Disney's Animal Kingdom
Colleen Lynch, Curator of Birds - Riverbanks Zoo & Garden

Date/Time: Friday, June 12, 12-1:30 PM EDT 

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Preparing for Re-Opening Operations

Join this session presented by the AZA Business Operations Committee to learn from peers how to tackle the big re-opening questions including: How to determine capacity & ticketing; Staff & Guest Safety; Sanitation; Social Distancing; In Zoo Communication - Signage & other methods; and Concessions (Retail, Food Service, Animal Encounters, rides).
Moderator: Sean Greene, COO/Exec. VP of Park Operations - Dallas Zoo
Lochlan Wooten, Chief Operating Officer - Riverbanks Zoo
Douglas Rickenbach, Chief Operating Officer - Naples Zoo
Sally Jacobson, Executive Director - Red River Zoo
Dale Schmidt, EVP/Chief Operating Officer - National Aquarium
Charles Hopper, Business Operations Manager - Seattle Aquarium

Date/Time: Thursday, May 28, 2-3:30 PM EDT 

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Managing Membership Through a Changing Landscape

Join this session presented by the AZA Advancement Committee to learn from peers how they are communicating with and supporting their members through closure and re-opening. Topics will include planning for re-opening; special considerations and benefits for members; membership extensions; and budget impacts and planning.
Moderator: Alyssa Pacaut, Membership Manager - Aquarium of the Pacific 
Gail Brown, Chief Development Officer - Reid Park Zoo
Lucia Clifton, Director, Membership - Saint Louis Zoo
Kate Fridholm, Senior Director of Annual Giving - Lincoln Park Zoo
Liz Grover, Development & Member Services Manager - Roger Williams Park Zoo

Date/Time: Wednesday, May 27, 2-3:30 PM EDT 

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Communicating with Our Local Communities

Join this session presented by the AZA Public Relations Committee to learn more about communications around zoo and aquarium openings with first-hand accounts of what has worked for organizations that have already opened.  It will also include reference information for communications building regarding biosecurity and operational aspects of openings.
Moderator: Ted Molter, Chief Marketing Officer, San Diego Zoo Global
Timothy Ng, Zoological Operations and Education Director - Ocean Park
Andy Wood, Chief Operating Officer - Florida Aquarium
Jennifer Vela Director of Marketing, Sales, and Communications - Texas State Aquarium
Erica Hansen, Community Relations Manager - Hogle Zoo 
Lauren Howard, D.V.M., Associate Director, Veterinary Services - San Diego Zoo Global

Date/Time: Thursday, May 14, 1-2:30 PM EDT 

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