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Workshop Descriptions


Ungulate TAGs Meetings and Workshops
Sunday, March 26, 7:00 am - 5:00 pm
Monday, March 27, 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tuesday, March 28, 8:00 am - 5:00 pm


Sunday, March 26

7:00 am - 8:00 am
Meet the TAG Chairs

8:00 am - 10:00 am
General Ungulate TAG Midyear Meeting Information

  • Welcome
  • Housekeeping and logistics
  • Introductions
  • Icebreaker

AZA Ungulate TAG Chair Briefings

  • Tim Thier, Equid TAG
  • Tim Thier (for David Powell), Caprinae TAG
  • Martha Fischer, Antelope and Giraffe TAG
  • Michelle Hatwood, Cervid TAG
  • Michele Stancer, Tapir TAG
  • Lisa Smith, Wild Cattle and Camelid TAG
  • Martin Ramirez, Wild Pig, Peccary and Hippo TAG

10:15 am - 12:00 pm
Small group discussion topics

1:00 pm - 2:45 pm
Reports from the Field

  • Adam Eyres - Moderator
  • John Lukas - Okapi Conservation Project
  • James Burton - Tamaraw project
  • SCF - Chad Scimitar-horned oryx project
  • Chris Jordan - Baird’s tapir project

3:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Marketing Team Update

  • RoxAnna Breitigan
  • Brent Huffman
  • Michelle Hatwood

3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Ungulate Scientific Management

  • Linda Penfold - Moderator

6:00 pm - ???
Waterhole Event

Monday March 27

8:00 am - 8:05 am
Welcome: Housekeeping/conference updates

8:05 am - 10:15 am
Ungulate Husbandry, Handling/Restraint, Enrichment & Training Session

  • Martin Ramirez - Moderator
  • Lissa McCaffree – Handrearing Ungulates at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park
  • Liza Dadone & Eric Klaphake – Causes of Mortality in Zoo Giraffe and Okapi
  • JT Svoke – Formation of Giraffe Bachelor Herd

10:30 am - 11:30 am
Action Indonesia Update

  • James Burton and Steve Metzler

11:30 am - 12:00 pm
Animal Care Manual Update and Discussion

  • Dan Beetem

1:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Ungulate Mixed Species Survey

  • Andrew Alba

1:30 pm - 3:00 pm
Small Group Discussions

3:15 pm - 5:00 pm
Giraffe SMSS

  • Liza Dadone
  • Kristen Lukas

Tuesday March 28

8:00 am - 8:05 am
Welcome: Housekeeping/conference updates

8:05 am - 8:30 am
Giraffe SSP Update and Giraffe Welfare Initiative

  • Sheri Horiszny

8:30 am - 9:00 am
Marketing Team Future Initiatives

  • RoxAnna Breitigan
  • Brent Huffman
  • Michelle Hatwood

9:00 am - 10:00 am
Small group discussion wrap up and assignments

10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Wild Pig, Peccary and Hippo TAG Planning Session

1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Ungulate Shipment Workshop


Diversity Summit
Sunday, March 26, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm


AZA zoos and aquariums provide our communities with unique and valuable learning and recreation experiences not available anywhere else - it is essential that we are fully accessible to those communities. The Diversity Summit provides information and tools for understanding and advancing diversity and inclusion programs and practices to help ensure that our zoos and aquariums are representative of and accessible to the communities we serve.  Who should attend? Zoo and aquarium leaders, HR directors, hiring managers, volunteer managers, and those interested in shaping the future of zoos and aquariums. It is highly recommended that two colleagues from the same institution attend together.

As a result of participating in the AZA Diversity Summit you will:

  • Learn how to talk more effectively about diversity and inclusion within your organization
  • Increase your knowledge of leading practices in diversity and inclusion
  • Determine next steps to advance diversity and inclusion efforts at your zoo or aquarium
  • Leave with a Diversity Tool Kit to help you progress through next steps

The summit will include a series of external speakers to discuss unconscious bias, inclusion, accessibility, ADA, and best practices. Throughout the day, participants will break out into small groups to reflect on where their organization is on the pathway to diversity and inclusion facilitated by both the speakers and members of the AZA Diversity Committee. Speakers, just to name a few, include:

  • Keynote Speaker, Dr. Stephen Jones, CEO, Jones and Associates
  • Esther Hernandez, Chief Diversity Officer of Sandia Labs       
  • Gabriel Campos, City Of ABQ - Director, Albuquerque Office of Diversity and Human Rights            
  • Kyle Smith, member of the Navajo Nation and Coordinator for the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center Museum Tours
  • Stephanie Crise and Hans Gienapp, San Diego Zoo Global Human Resources
  • Jo-Elle Mogerman/Heather Doggett AZA Diversity Committee
The Diversity Summit is included in your Mid-Year Meeting registration, but an RSVP is required.

Green Summit
Monday, March 27, 8:00 am - 5:30 pm
Tuesday, March 28, 8:00 am - 5:30 pm


Monday, March 27
8:00 am - 8:30 am
Green Summit Opening Remarks, including a word of welcome from our hosts at ABQ BioPark

9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Measure What You Manage: The Power of Metrics
Moderator: Liz Larsen, Director of Conservation, Utah’s Hogle Zoo
When thinking about a sustainability program, how does one even get started? Where do we begin? This session will dive deep into the power of metrics - you can’t manage what you don’t measure. Learn how to get intimate with your numbers - energy usage, water consumption, tons of waste, and understand how much it all costs. Gain tips and strategies for conducting your own internal audits and recognize why data and metrics are an integral part of a successful sustainability program. We’ll explore different data tracking systems, how to utilize partners in your community, and how to analyze data so it works for you.

“Just Getting Started”
Delving into the world of sustainability can seem intimidating, especially for a small facility. How can you make improvements without a dedicated budget line or assigned staff members? As they pass their first year since the founding of the Abilene Zoo’s conservation and sustainability committee, learn from staff about their experience, through both their pitfalls and their successes.

  • Paige Rudasics, Educator & Conservation Chair, Abilene Zoo

“A Story of Audits, Meters, and Software Programming: Saint Louis Zoo’s Journey to Utility Trending in Real-time”
In 2006, the Saint Louis Zoo conducted its first campus-wide energy and water use audit. Since that time, they have implemented infrastructure upgrades to better track utility consumption at point-of-use. This story spans a decade of infrastructure improvements across the campus, with zoo staff and outside contractors, and adoption of new technologies. You will learn the benefits, lessons learned, and tips to avoid (at least some) headaches.

  • Wanda Evans, Sustainability Coordinator & Project Manager, Saint Louis Zoo

“Drive Down Energy Costs by Using Data in Real Time”
Learn how to utilize historical data to reduce energy usage in real time by setting energy targets to drive down demand. How do you engage with building operators and initiate training so they know how to react to changing demand needs? Also gain insight into how Shedd Aquarium manages their Peak Load Capacity Contribution (PLC) and demands charges using this method.

  • Bob Wengel, Vice President of Facilities, Shedd Aquarium

“Data! Data! Data! I can’t make bricks without clay”
Denver Zoo will share insight into the strategies they have taken to measure the impact of their operations - including staff engagement, community partners, peer to peer networking, utility providers, and online sleuthing. Sharing their experience as to why data and metrics are an integral part of a successful sustainability program, and the creative tools and strategies that can help convey metrics to various audiences.

  • Jennifer Hale, Director of Safety & Sustainability, Denver Zoo

1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Power of People: Engaging Everyone in Sustainability
Moderator: Karin Stratton, Seafood Watch Partnership Program Manager, Monterey Bay Aquarium
Engaging your staff and community in sustainability practices, programs, and implementation is key in achieving success. Having constant, open, honest, and transparent conversations with staff, especially front line staff, will keep everyone on the same page and ensure everyone’s voice is heard. Celebrate successes, give opportunity for everyone to have a part in sustainability efforts, not just Facilities Departments or Administration. This session will highlight institutions that have engaged their staff and their guests in creative ways, allowing participation across the board with green initiatives.

“Getting your guests to act on conservation through keeper talks!”
Discover how the Palm Beach Zoo uses a simple strategy of “Connect/Understand/Act” (CUA) to share the message of conservation with guests in a way they can take home and use to make a difference!

  • Dave Ruhl, Facilities Director, Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society

“Our Green Journey - Fostering a Culture of Greener Behavior”
The Sacramento Zoo’s Green Team started as a grassroots, bottom-up groundswell of self-imposed responsibility and has inspired widespread green behavior and a culture shift. Not only encouraging on-grounds sustainability but lifestyle change, empowerment and follow through.

  • Jaime Wilson, Digital Media Manager, Sacramento Zoo

“How to Use a Portfolio Approach to Embed Sustainability”
Presenting research from the Canadian Network for Business Sustainability, this presentation will explore how a wide variety of formal and informal practices can be used to embed sustainability within an organization, and ultimately use the power of its people to drive change. Real world examples will be provided from the Vancouver Aquarium and Marine Science Centre and the Toronto Zoo.

  • Alexis Esseltine-Scoon, Sustainability Manager, Vancouver Aquarium

“Telling Sustainable Stories Through Connection Making”
Learn how the California Academy of Sciences builds foundational sustainability knowledge for staff and volunteers and how that knowledge is translated into storytelling and action steps with our guests.

  • Elizabeth Bagley, Sustainability Education and Engagement Manager, California Academy of Sciences

Tuesday, March 28
8:00 am - 8:30 am
Brief check in with participants

8:30 am - 12:00 pm
Money Talks
Moderator: Chris Norman, Director of Capital Projects and Sustainability, Akron Zoo
You have an engaged staff. You have the metrics and data. You have the amazing ideas that will green your operations. All you need now is the funding to do it. Where does the money come from to pull off sustainability projects? Reinvestment? Grants? Sponsorships? How to engage your members, board of trustees, development department, and more to ensure more of these projects can come to fruition. Creative financing, collaboration and partnerships, and building trust to pull off these projects is all part of the dance.

“People, Planet, & Profit”
Learn how a small zoo invests in operational sustainability to further its conservation mission by using a strategic initiative plan, ROI, and a passionate and determined Green Team. By placing a strong emphasis on the balance between people, planet, and profit, the Akron Zoo is able to thrive while being a positive influence in their community and for conservation.

  • Doug Piekarz, President & CEO, Akron Zoo

“Community Solar: Lessons Learned at Seattle Aquarium”
In 2013, the Seattle Aquarium collaborated with Seattle City Light and area solar experts to design and build a 49kW “community solar” array for City customers to tap into alternative electricity. This presentation reviews the delicate dance required among funders, engineers, educators and marketers to eventually build a successful project.

  • Mark Plunkett, Conservation Manager, Seattle Aquarium

“Funding a Clean Energy Plan towards a Zero Waste Goal”
Spurred by multiple departments and staff, the Milwaukee County Zoo and the County’s Sustainability Director worked with HGA Architects & Engineers to create a roadmap that would reduce energy use 20% and water use 30% by 2020, supporting the Zoo’s conservation efforts. But how to get there? Discover how in this presentation that discusses the Zoo’s 5-year roadmap and Clean Energy Plan, which paved the way for reinvestment from energy savings that then supported larger projects, saving the Zoo over $4 million in operating costs over 8 years.

  • Peter Dahl, HGA Architects & Engineers

“The Green Loan Fund”
We all know that funding sustainability initiatives can be a challenge. Discover how Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium overcame that challenge by establishing a revolving financing system called “the Green Loan Fund”. This fund has enabled the zoo to complete over 20 projects on grounds, contributing to significant financial savings that has benefited the entire institution.

  • Stephanie Huettner, Assistant General Curator and Curator of Birds, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium

1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Bringing It All Together
Moderator: Wanda Evans, Sustainability Coordinator, Saint Louis Zoo
There isn’t a specific formula or blueprint to follow when it comes to sustainability projects. It is different for every institution; you just have to find what works best for you. Hear from a few institutions around the country who have successfully achieved greening up their institutions, surely hitting many obstacles along the way but not taking no for an answer.

“Making Detroit Zoo’s Anaerobic Digester a Reality”
Learn how the Detroit Zoo was able to successfully navigate the planning and implementation process of their anaerobic digester. Get an inside look on how the system works, and how it is getting the Zoo closer to their Zero Waste Goals while producing renewable energy on site.

  • Rachel Handbury, Manager of Sustainability, Detroit Zoo

“From Parking Lot to Africa: Bringing Our Biggest Exhibit to Life”
Discover how the Cincinnati Zoo transformed an ordinary parking lot into an extraordinary Africa habitat, replacing minivans with lions and asphalt with plants. With a relentless pursuit to continuously improve operations and lessen their impact on the planet, this exhibit reflects the Zoo’s dedication to natural resource conservation, including a Living Building Challenge project and the greenest hippo exhibit in the country. Creative funding, smart decision making, staff engagement, and community partnerships all helped bring this exhibit to life.

  • Mark Fisher, Vice President of Facilities, Planning, & Sustainability, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

“Disney Environmentality”
Sharing a practical approach and change model for creating an environmental culture and driving value to the business. Learn how this strategy has supported Walt Disney Parks & Resorts worldwide in their sustainability initiatives, staff engagement, and natural resource conservation.

  • Angie Renner, Environmental Integration Director, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts

“Grassroots Greening”
In this presentation, the Smithsonian's National Zoo will share their experiences and best practices for managing their sustainability efforts across various departments, and without a designated sustainability department or manager. From goal setting, to event planning, to data collection, staff education, and annual green achievements reporting, the National Zoo will highlight how they are bringing it all together, despite their complex organizational and funding structures.

  • Denny Charlton, Animal Keeper, Smithsonian National Zoo

Wednesday, March 29
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Zoo Day - Cottonwood Cafe
Join us for a Green Summit Reception hosted by the ABQ BioPark’s Conservation Department during Zoo Day, and learn more about their sustainability programs and initiatives. After the reception, a shuttle will be available for tours of the Aquatic Conservation Facility, Heritage Farm, and Coral Propagation. Tours of the Zoo facility will take place all afternoon as well for those interested.


Animal Training Workshop - Honing a Sharper Edge on Training: Clarified Principles, Refined Procedures, and Ethical Criteria
Monday, March 27, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Presented by: Steve Martin, President, Natural Encounters, Inc.
Additional $50 registration fee. Proceeds will be donated to AZA's Conservation Grant Funds.

The goal of this workshop is to clarify and refine participants’ understanding and application of training knowledge and skills. Topics include: What science does better than conventional wisdom; the problem of effectiveness as a sole criterion for procedural choice; changing behavior by changing conditions; effective and humane approaches to creating and increasing motivation; changing training interactions with animals from monologues to dialogues. Throughout the workshop attendees learn a holistic approach to training that includes husbandry, medical, and management procedures leading to enhanced animal welfare.


Collection Planning Workshop
Tuesday, March 28, 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm

The AZA Wildlife Conservation and Management Committee, working in association with the AZA Accreditation Commission, offers a workshop for those who develop Institutional Collection Plans (ICPs).  Topics covered will include the philosophy and importance of ICPs, the necessary (and unnecessary) components of ICPs, and the tools and resources available to AZA members.  The workshop will include advice and testimonials from ICP users from various zoological fields and an exercise to develop an ICP for a hypothetical institution.  Workshop attendees will gain new understanding of the intended function and value of ICPs, as well as the skills to produce them.

The SMART Approach to TAG Strategic Planning
Wednesday, March 29, 11:00 am - 12:30 pm

This WCMC led workshop will discuss a new initiative to address SSP population sustainability: TAG level strategic planning. WCMC members will discuss strategies for species selection, and the purpose, value and importance of developing SMART goals for AZA Animal Programs. This will be followed by participants engaging in and discussing mock scenarios. The workshop will be especially geared toward TAG Chairs, Vice Chairs, and AZA Program Leaders.  We hope that the workshop will encourage participants to engage with their fellow TAG members in making strategic, transparent decisions regarding Animal Programs to advance population sustainability. 

Strategies and Resources for Staff to be Successful Working with Volunteers
Wednesday, March 29, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm

Description: Zoos and aquariums consistently face barriers to delivering high level community engagement and increasing their conservation impact. These hurdles can be overcome through innovative engagement of volunteers and interns.  Organizations are often resistant to new service initiatives because of the high potential for increased staffing and financial support. This session will teach participants to better advocate for their programs by leveraging tactical conversations and strategic measures. Through the use of versatile tools such as cost benefit analysis and models for assessing return on investment, staff can provide organizational leadership with a full understanding of the value of service initiatives to the organization’s bottom line.

Outcomes: In this session, facilitators will present a variety of models for service programs, their resourcing, and impact analysis. Participants will then work together to assess their current engagement models to identify areas of strength and opportunities for growth.  

Who Should Attend: Zoo and aquarium volunteer managers, staff that work with or manage volunteers as part of their daily work, and any staff looking to better advocate for their programs through strategic outcomes analysis.

Animal Program Conservation Workshop: Enhancement and Communications

Thursday, March 30, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Animal Program Conservation and “Enhancement” Requirements - 9:00 am - 10:00 am
“Enhancement” of a species’ propagation or survival in its native range is a requirement for obtaining US Fish and Wildlife transport permits for listed species. This requirement is only likely to become more stringent as an increasing number of lawsuits are filed against the issuance of these permits and for international species subject to CITES listings. Learn more about this requirement and how Animal Program-led, strategic, outcome-oriented conservation projects can help the AZA community meet both the letter of the law of the requirement, and build conservation credibility internationally and at home.

10:00-10:30 am Break

Developing a High-Impact Communications Plan - 10:30 am - 12:00 pm
Communication is a tool that can either pave the way to program success or become an overwhelming obstacle for Animal Programs engaged in conservation. With expectations of developing and disseminating content via social media, websites, annual reporting, communications to donors and field personnel, and more, early development of a comprehensive communication plans can lead to significant time-savings down the road, fend off donor fatigue, engage new donors, and build lasting support for a conservation program. Learn more about developing a high impact communication plan that capitalizes on tested messages and the latest tips and trends in digital media.


Creative Ways to Maximize Your Mission's Impact with Volunteers
Thursday, March 30, 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm


Description: In order to deliver the highest level of mission impact, zoos and aquariums must constantly reassess their strategies to keep relevant with current community trends. Too often organizations focus solely on paid positions to meet these needs. By shifting focus to volunteer engagement, zoos and aquariums can be seen as progressive and relevant while still strengthening their mission’s impact.  This session will focus on best practices for recruiting a diverse and impactful volunteer workforce. Specifically, we will highlight methods for engaging Millennials and Generation Z and for increasing diversity and inclusion.

Outcomes: In this session, participants will rethink their strategies for meeting current trends with an eye toward volunteer engagement. Participants will learn steps on how to integrate new strategies into their current volunteer structure and better understand the organizational benefit. Participants will gather tools and resources; including mentors among the Volunteer Management Committee, to assist with developing strategy and tactics.

Who Should Attend: Zoo and aquarium volunteer administrators, executive leadership, and any staff that work with or manage volunteers as part of their daily tasks.


Safety Summit
Thursday, March 30, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Friday, March 31, 8:00 am - 12:00 pm


Thursday, March 30

10:00 am - 11:30 am
The Department of Homeland Security’s Critical Infrastructure Risk Assessment Program
In this session, Mr. Terry Lincoln of The Dakota Zoo will discuss their participation in a risk assessment program, and the positive outcomes from that effort.  Mr. Jeffrey Murray will introduce the audience to the current Department of Homeland Security program designed to provide strategies for increasing facility resilience. 

  • Mr. Terry Lincoln, Director, Dakota Zoo
  • Mr. Jeffrey Murray, Protective Security Advisor, Department of Homeland Security

11:30 am - 12:00 pm
Hurricane Matthew:  Information, Coordination and Lessons Learned
In this session, updates will be provided on preparedness and response measures in Florida institutions for Hurricane Matthew.

  • Rick Holzworth, Safety and Security Manager, Jacksonville Zoo
  • Kelly Murphy, Keeper II, North Carolina Zoological Park

1:15 pm - 1:45 pm
AZA Safety Committee Drill Month/Survey Outcomes
In September and October 2016, over 80 AZA institutions participated in the drills inspired the National Preparedness month.  A survey of participants was conducted to gather valuable data on type of drills conducted, participation, and reporting.  Highlights of the survey will be shared.

  • Rick Holzworth, Safety and Security Manager, Jacksonville Zoo
  • Rene Martin, Security Manager, Fresno Chaffee Zoo
  • Ruel Murphy, Program Manager, Disney's Animal Kingdom

1:45 pm - 2:15 pm
So What’s the Big Deal with ICS?
The Incident Command System (ICS) is a method for organizing a response that is used by the first responder community, and by a number of AZA institutions to organize the response to incidents or for use in pre-planned events. In this session, AZA Safety Committee members will share their experiences in using ICS, and present findings from a Safety Committee Survey that should be of interest to every institution.  The audience will be provided a basic introduction to ICS structure so all participants will have basic knowledge of the system, which will be helpful for the afternoon sessions.

  • Rene Martin, Safety Manager, Fresno Chaffee Zoo

2:15 pm - 2:45 pm
Jacksonville Zoo’s Participation in an Oil Spill Response Drill
AZA institutions are more involved than ever in working with stakeholders all over the country.  Jacksonville Zoo will share how they were invited to participate in a large scale oil spill response drill, by virtue of the integration they have done with their local Emergency Management agency.  

  • Rick Holzworth, Safety and Security Manager, Jacksonville Zoo
  • Mike Taylor, Curator of Herps, Birds and Others, Jacksonville Zoo

3:00 pm - 3:45 pm
Conducting Complex Animal Escape Drills and Pre-planning Events
In this session, Zoo New England will share the process for planning a complex animal escape drill, and the lessons learned from that exercise.  They will also share how they use the Incident Command System to help them organize their “Free Fun Friday” events.

  • Anne Knapp, Director Animal Resources, Zoo New England
  • Andrea Lewicki, Administrative Assistant, Zoo New England

3:45 pm - 4:15 pm
All Hazards Drill Planning and Reporting
It’s challenging to find the time to train and exercise, but it is SO important.  In this session, participants will be given tips on planning drills in your facility, some proven ways to ‘report out’ the outcomes, and some strategies for USING what you learned in the drills to improve your planning and training

  • Rob Dahl,  Occupational Health & Safety Manager, Oregon Zoo

4:15 pm - 5:15 pm
Panel Discussion, Forms, Tools and Resources
This discussion will bring a number of Safety Committee professionals into an informal Q & A session where they will share some of the resources they have used to develop robust plans, and training programs.  Bring your questions to our Safety Committee experts!

Friday March 31

8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.
Updates from the ZAHP Fusion Center
The Zoo and Aquarium All Hazards Preparedness, Response and Recovery (ZAHP) Fusion Center will discuss new training tools available for the exotic animal industry.  

  • Yvonne Nadler, Program Manager, ZAHP Fusion Center
  • Ashley Zielinski, AZA Program Coordinator, ZAHP Fusion Center

8:30 am - 9:30 am
Making a Safe Zoo Safer: The “New Normal” after a Tragedy
Most of us at one point in our career have seen a report on a tragedy at another zoo and thought, “that could never happen here”.  We talk about it, we have training and drills about it, but we don’t actually think it will happen.  But it can, and it did for the Palm Beach Zoo.  In this session the Palm Beach Zoo will share what they learned about managing staff and the zoo in the days, weeks, and months after their tragedy, as well some new safety strategies that have been implemented in the dangerous animal areas to try to ensure that an accident like this never happens again.

  • David Ruhl, Facilities Director, Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation Society

9:45 am - 10:45 am
Reputation Management Through Effective Crisis Communications
When a crisis situation occurs, time is of the essence and the need to communicate is immediate. That’s why organizations must have a crisis communication plan in place before a potentially damaging situation arises. But what does that mean? What communications elements should be included in your crisis plan? While there’s no such thing as a cookie cutter plan, this session will help identify the components your zoo or aquarium should consider to be prepared to respond promptly, accurately and confidently during an emergency and the hours and days that follow. Because “by the time you hear the thunder, it’s too late to build the ark.”

  • Patty Peters, Vice President Community Relations, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

10:45 am - 11:45 am
Just Culture: A Different Approach to Safety and Accountability
Working with dangerous animals requires a constant focus on safety. Regardless of our innovations in technology, exhibit design and staff training, accidents do happen. Because of the serious consequences of mistakes (potential or real), the traditional approach to accountability has been a progressive discipline system, accompanied by additional training or perhaps changes to procedures. However, we also know that increased reporting of incidents will help improve safety. How do we encourage people to report something when they know they could be fired for it? If the punishment is removed, how do hold people accountable? Just Culture is a system of workplace accountability that addresses these questions. With its origins in aviation and health care, it has proven success in other high stakes industries. After the concept was introduced at the Felid TAG Husbandry Course last year, Denver Zoo committed to embrace Just Culture across our institution and we believe this is a system that could make zoos and aquariums safer for our animals, staff and guests.

  • Hollie Colahan, Vice President for Animal Care, Denver Zoo




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