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PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCES AND MEETINGS

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

    • August 09, 2021
    • (EDT)
    • August 13, 2021
    • (EDT)
    • Front Royal, VA

    Practical Zoo Nutrition Management Course (9-13 August 2021)

    https://smconservation.gmu.edu/programs/graduate-and-professional/practical-zoo-nutrition-management/

    Last year at this time we were sending out a similar note to this one - to formally announce the 5th offering of the Practical Zoo Nutrition Management course through the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation (SMSC) in Front Royal, VA.  And then things changed.  Fast forward a year and then some, and we are pleased to announce that we are going to offer the course this year in person between 9-13 August 2021 and enrollment is currently open.

    We understand there is a lot of uncertainty about the future, yet one of the things that has remained constant throughout all of this (and will into the future) is the need to care for our animals and provide the best diets and nutritional husbandry that we can. We are steadfast in our dedication to do just that, while sharing knowledge, and ensuring that we all stay safe and healthy as we do so.  It is to that end that we decided it was time to make a go of this.

    This course is designed to provide knowledge and hands-on experience within one of the oldest zoo nutrition programs in the US. Because of the complexities and extensive experiential learning involved in the profession, this course is not designed to create a zoo nutritionist in 5 days.  But participants will become familiar with a wide variety of topics in the field of zoo and wildlife nutrition, as well as some of the nuances of managing a commissary (food procurement and preparation) operation to support a zoo.  For more information regarding the course and registration, please use the link: https://smconservation.gmu.edu/programs/graduate-and-professional/practical-zoo-nutrition-management/

    The course curriculum includes, but isn't limited to, topics such as: taxa-and foraging strategy-based nutrition principles, life stage nutrition management, commissary operations principles (sustainable and cost-effective feed sourcing, practical finance management of feeding exotics, etc), practical diet formulation principles and practices (how to create a "balanced" diet and what that means), practical commercial feed manufacturing details (how our feeds are made and what we need to know about the process), food service sanitation and HACCP, hay/browse/bamboo management, and many more!  The course is open to zoo professionals (of any and all backgrounds), vets, commissary managers, existing nutritionists, feed company representatives, students, etc, etc.  We seek as much diversity of backgrounds and experience as possible in each cohort.

    • August 12, 2021
    • (EDT)
    • August 14, 2021
    • (EDT)
    • Bloomington, MN
    • August 16, 2021
    • 7:45 PM - 9:00 PM (EDT)
    • virtual

    ZAA Professional Development Webinar

    Improving Carnivore Diets One Part at a Time – A Discussion about Carcass Feeding

    Advanced registration required: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_-lwRwlhvR3GZ06F5ZGoEZg 

    We learn new things about our animals, their care and management, and ourselves daily. It is easy to think back to 5 or 10 years ago and recognize how far we’ve come. It is equally as easy to leave some of the ideas (good AND bad) in the past, for that is sometimes where they belong. However, it is equally important to review some of those “old” ideas with the lens of increased knowledge and perspective gained over time (lest we let a good idea go prematurely). One of our zoo colleagues often used the phrase, “if you want a new idea, read an old book.” Carcass feeding in zoos very much fits into this category. From the beginning of time, it was THE way carnivores were fed. Over time, however, challenges arose in how we manage carnivores and we got away from using carcass as much. Now, as we squarely focus on animal welfare, nutritional physiology, natural history, gut microbiome management, and fiscal responsibility, it may be that carcass feeding is coming back “into style.” We’ll discuss some of the challenges with the practice, along with the potential benefits of including or increasing it as part of your feeding program.

    Presenter: Mike Maslanka

    Mike is the senior nutritionist and head of the Department of Nutrition Science for the Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. He oversees clinical nutrition, commissary operations, agriculture operations, lab- and field-based research, and nutrition-focused education and outreach for both facilities (DC and VA). He’s been at the Zoo for the last 15 years, previously working for and consulting for a variety of zoos around the country. He is the lead instructor for an immersive professional training course titled, “Practical Zoo Nutrition Management,” that is offered annually through the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation (this year August 9-13, spots still available). The only thing he likes talking about more than transfaunation is carcass feeding, so this should be fun.

    Happy Hour begins at 7:45pm.  Presentation begins at 8:00pm.

    • August 22, 2021
    • (EDT)
    • August 29, 2021
    • (EDT)
    • San Juan, Puerto Rico
    • August 27, 2021
    • (EDT)
    • September 02, 2021
    • (EDT)
    • Nashville, TN

    Association of Avian Veterinarians (AAV)
    Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians (AEMV)
    Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians (ARAV)

    http://www.exoticscon.org/


    • August 27, 2021
    • (EDT)
    • September 02, 2021
    • (EDT)
    • Nashville, TN

    https://www.aav.org

    • August 29, 2021
    • (EDT)
    • September 02, 2021
    • (EDT)
    • Los Angeles, CA
    • August 30, 2021
    • (EDT)
    • September 04, 2021
    • (EDT)
    • Louisville, Kentucky

    https://www.azadvconferences.org/2020-louisville-ky

    • September 19, 2021
    • (EDT)
    • September 23, 2021
    • (EDT)
    • Baltimore, MD
    • September 21, 2021
    • (EDT)
    • September 25, 2021
    • (EDT)
    • Helsinki, Finland
    • October 02, 2021
    • (EDT)
    • October 05, 2021
    • (EDT)
    • Norfolk, VA
    • October 03, 2021
    • (EDT)
    • October 09, 2021
    • (EDT)
    • virtual
    • October 06, 2021
    • 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM (EDT)
    • virtual

    ZAA Professional Development Webinar

    Touch the Heart to Teach the Mind 1.0 - Training for Guest Experience

    Advanced registration required: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_QTi-959VRqK1ZD-XlDlXOA

    In the past year, everyone was forced indoors and glued to their screens. Now that life is regaining some normalcy, a new wave of patrons are eager to experience the animals alongside our loyal guests who are itching to return to the zoo. As we welcome these visitors through our gates, one of our primary goals is to create unique experiences that they will cherish as a memory or even share on their devices. While experiences like Lemur Island at Tanganyika Wildlife Park or the train ride through the safari park at Wildlife World Zoo are great ways to engage guests, we cannot discount the value of smaller-scale interactions like a skunk meet and greet or a feeding opportunity. This presentation will explore various opportunities to creatively facilitate a connection between your guests and animals; all while keeping animal training, guest experience, and animal welfare in mind.

    Presenter: Woulter Stellaard

    Wouter Stellaard has been in the animal field for over 26 years. His passion and career began in the Netherlands while working in a wildlife rehabilitation center. He started an animal ambulance with one of his friends before he moved to the United States and attend the Exotic Animal Training and Management Program at Moorpark College. After graduating he started working for Natural Encounters Inc. As the Director of Behavioral Programs, he consulted both nationally and internationally creating zoo wide animal training programs and guest experiences. Currently Wouter is the Animal Programs Training Director at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium where he is responsible for training staff and animals in a wide variety of taxa, as well as creating unique guest experiences.

    • October 11, 2021
    • (EDT)
    • October 15, 2021
    • (EDT)
    • virtual

    Elephant Managers Association Virtual Conference 2021

    https://www.elephantmanagers.org/Conference


    • October 16, 2021
    • 9:00 AM (EDT)
    • virtual

    Feline Conservation Foundation - Beginner Husbandry

    https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_FAtXp5v0RZuNpQzGw8obuw

    Course Objectives​
    -Provide a brief overview of captive feline management in today's world​
    -Prepare students to create a plan of care that includes health, nutrition, training, enrichment, and proper housing ​
    -Understand the importance of safety, regulation, and record keeping ​


    • October 16, 2021
    • 2:00 PM (EDT)
    • virtual

    Feline Conservation Foundation - Advanced Husbandry

    https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_hijrigq5QxK2bJbJ8tRAhg

    Course Objectives​
    -Understand the mental, physical, and psychological needs of the animals in our care ​
    -Investigate common health issues in felines and ways to mitigate future problems ​
    -Provide resources to master public safety and perception when working with wild felines​


    • October 18, 2021
    • 7:45 PM - 9:00 PM (EDT)
    • virtual

    ZAA Professional Development Webinar

    Touch the Heart to Teach the Mind 2.0 - Training for Guest Experience

    Advanced registration required: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_oLBeF6xZQySv6ReP7zN7YQ

    My boss just saw your presentation, “Touch the heart to teach the mind 1.0” about guest experience and he now wants me to train and come up with some new experiences for our guests- Now what!? No need to panic, we will explore opportunities that can be achieved on a low budget as well as larger encounters which can be planned into your next exhibit design. When we think about creating new experiences, we usually think about new buildings and taking animals out of their habitats. Often times, there is untapped potential within the existing habitat, whether that be a tree that has not been climbed or rocks that have not been jumped on. In this presentation, we will cover a few examples of what can be done in these instances and illustrate ways that training can facilitate engaging guest experiences. “Touch the heart to teach the mind 2.0” will encourage you to explore opportunities to enhance guest experience with training and good animal welfare in mind, all while thinking inside the habitat.

    Presenter: Woulter Stellaard

    Happy Hour begins at 7:45pm.  Presentation begins at 8:00pm.

    Wouter Stellaard has been in the animal field for over 26 years. His passion and career began in the Netherlands while working in a wildlife rehabilitation center. He started an animal ambulance with one of his friends before he moved to the United States and attend the Exotic Animal Training and Management Program at Moorpark College. After graduating he started working for Natural Encounters Inc. As the Director of Behavioral Programs, he consulted both nationally and internationally creating zoo wide animal training programs and guest experiences. Currently Wouter is the Animal Programs Training Director at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium where he is responsible for training staff and animals in a wide variety of taxa, as well as creating unique guest experiences.

    • October 23, 2021
    • (EDT)
    • October 29, 2021
    • (EDT)
    • Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    • November 08, 2021
    • (EST)
    • November 11, 2021
    • (EST)
    • virtual

    SEAZA 29th Annual and 2nd Virtual Conference
    Zoos Moving Forward with Nature: Nurturing the Wild, Saving Our Future

    Registration: https://www.seaza.asia/conferences/2021-29th-seaza-conference/

    • November 10, 2021
    • (EST)
    • November 13, 2021
    • (EST)
    • Pigeon Forge, TN
    • November 17, 2021
    • (EST)
    • November 19, 2021
    • (EST)
    • Arizona

    Turtle and Tortoise Preservation Group Conference 2021

    Registration:  https://form.jotform.com/200886421350147

    • November 29, 2021
    • (EST)
    • December 02, 2021
    • (EST)
    • Fort Worth, Texas
    Register


    • November 29, 2021
    • 6:00 PM (CST)
    • December 02, 2021
    • 10:00 PM (CST)
    • Hilton Fort Worth, Fort Worth, Texas
    Register

    ZAA Annual Conference 2021
    Hilton Hotel, Fort Worth, Texas

    See full package details at zaa.org/vendorinfo

    Sign into your membership account to receive the commercial members discount.

    Vendor Schedule

    Monday, November 29, 2021
    Vendor set-up
    Ice Breaker


    Tuesday, November 30, 2021
    Vendor Hall open (all day)
    Vendor Blender (evening)


    Wednesday, December 1, 2021
    Vendor Hall open (all day)

    Break down in afternoon, optional

    Thursday, December 2, 2021
    Break down in morning, optional
    Zoo Day & Banquet at Fort Worth Zoo

    *Tentative schedule. Subject to change.

    Contact Elizabeth Hunt Curcuru at conference@zaa.org or (248) 515-1662 for exhibitor and sponsorship information.

    • December 03, 2021
    • (EST)
    • Fort Worth, Texas
    Register


    • September 17, 2022
    • (EDT)
    • September 23, 2022
    • (EDT)
    • Houston, TX
    • October 12, 2022
    • (EDT)
    • October 17, 2022
    • (EDT)
    • Toledo, Ohio
    • October 13, 2022
    • (EDT)
    • October 17, 2022
    • (EDT)
    • Toronto, Ontario, Canada

ZOO CAREER DEVELOPMENT

The Zoological Association of America has compiled the information presented here for the benefit of persons interested in educational opportunities and careers in animal care and management. It has been gathered from many sources, including third parties. Correspondingly, the ZAA cannot endorse programs or institutions beyond its own process to accredit ZAA facilities.  Also, the ZAA cannot verify current courses of study at any institution, represent that the above is a complete list of academic programs, or endorse any particular path to careers in the industry. 

There are many ways that people enter the field of working with wild and exotic animals professionally. Through volunteerism, internships, certifications, degree plans or some combination of those are all instrumental in pursuit of a career working with wild and exotic animals. Many degrees are widely accepted in the field including Biology, Ecology, Environmental Sciences, Wildlife Ecology, Wildlife Management, Zoology, Zoo Science and more.

Professional Development

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High School Programs

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Teaching Zoos

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Two Year Associates Degree Zoo Programs

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Bachelors, Masters, and Ph.D. Degree Programs

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Vet Tech Programs

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Websites with General Advice

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Preserving the Past for Future Generations

The Zoo & Aquarium Video Archive includes video interviews with the some of the most prominent industry-leaders of the past 

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