While AZA encourages submissions in a wide variety of topics, here are some Hot Topics that the membership are interested in hearing about:
Animal Welfare and Management
- Public perception of zoos; Favorability ratings for zoos and aquariums
- Animal welfare considerations in quarantine and during animal transports
- Keeper animal relationship pros and cons– Can you care too much?
- Welfare assessments for birds, reptiles and amphibians
- Sustainability and the dangers of too many species in our RCP: is the Ark too big?
- Animal welfare planning as part of emergency preparedness
- How to balance animal welfare with guest engagement
- Geriatric and end of life care for all taxa with an emphasis on non-charismatic/non mega fauna
- Convincing leadership that population sustainability is important
- Are sustainability and accreditation mutually compatible?
- Solving the unique challenges small and medium sized facilities face in addressing constantly evolving animal welfare standards
- Pricing Your Product
- Using technology to better understand guest behavior, expectations and experiences
- The financial variability of labor and pricing. How do we manage the seasonal peaks and valleys?
- Aligning Business Operations with Mission - Are we successful with Fair Trade, Sustainable Foods, Merchandise Packaging, etc.?
- Creative new revenue sources. Are they backstage experiences, extended operating hours or something even bigger?
- Designing the future of our food experiences, menu changes and location theming. Can we improve the margin and guest experience at the same time?
- What do millennials expect from their compensation package and work experience?
- Turning keepers into leaders - the task of balancing nature and business
- How can we improve energy conservation, renewable energy and composting at the Zoo?
- Wildlife trafficking
- Small institution conservation initiatives/projects - big impact with little money
- Conservation storytelling and branding - what institutions are doing to ensure guests leave with a feeling that they visited a conservation organization and not an entertainment facility
- Conservation via collaborations, including with non-traditional (non-conservationist) businesses/organizations to meet a shared goal/value
- Local - including linking our guests to natural areas, parks, etc.
- Climate Change
- Release programs – reintroductions/repatriations
- AZA SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction
- Evaluating conservation impact and success
- Institutional strategies for conservation fundraising
- Species reclamation
Development & Membership
- Emerging Trends in Philanthropy
- Capital campaigns
- Membership fundamentals
- Social media and mobile technology impact on membership and fundraising
- Best Practices in Conservation Messaging: Having a positive unified voice across departments to build empathy and action within our diverse audiences
- Working Together: Successful Education & Field Conservation Partnerships For Action
- Changing Perceptions of Zoos & Aquariums: How to Remain Relevant
- Relevant research pushing our conservation education community forward: What’s out there, what’s in the works and what’s needed?
- Program Evaluation on Little to No Budget
- Program Animals: Best practices in training, policies, messaging & evaluation
- New Ideas & Innovations in Conservation Education: technology, approaches to new audiences, and how to do it on a dime!
- The changing face of field trips and school programs: How do we meet the needs of this audience while also meeting the mission of our institutions?
- Staff Leadership and Development: The Nuts and Bolts of Creating an Engaged and Effective Team
Public Relations & Marketing
- Facing the Changing Public Perceptions of Zoos & Aquariums
- Crisis Communications
- Special Events
- Building Proprietary Social Media/Media Influencer Programs and Networks
- Conservation Storytelling and Branding – including animal care/welfare messages
- Marketing Best Practices
- Innovative Marketing Tactics
- Measuring Marketing ROI
- Building Sponsorship Support
- How are Zoos and Aquariums Promoting Conservation to the Public?
Volunteer and Docent Management
- Generation Z/Youth Volunteers
- Interpreting conservation issues/climate change
- Conflict resolution
- Institutional partnerships
- Diversity/inclusion or volunteers with special needs
- Advocating for your program
- Citizen science
- Potential opportunities, challenges, and new regulations for zoos and aquariums under the new Administration
- Diversity and Leadership
- Keeping Zoos & Aquariums relevant in today’s world
- Exhibit Design – How do you innovate exhibit design to keep a guest engaged?