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Hot Topics


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

 Aquarium Affairs

  • Coming Soon!

 Business Operations

  • 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?

 Conservation

  • 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
  • Storytelling
  • Membership fundamentals
  • Social media and mobile technology impact on membership and fundraising

 Education

  • 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

&More

  • 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?


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