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Schedule At A Glance

Schedule is subject to change. View the detailed schedule of Meetings and Concurrent Sessions.

Saturday, September 9
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM Accreditation Hearings (closed)
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM Executive Leadership Development Program (invite only)
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM Pre-Conference Tours
WAIT LIST! The Wilds ($75 per person)
 WAIT LIST! Cincinnati Zoo and Boonshoft Museum OR Newport Aquarium ($75 per person)


Sunday, September 10
7:00 AM - 5:30 PM Registration Open
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM Committee, SAFE, and Animal Program Meetings
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM Accreditation Hearings (closed)


Monday, September 11
7:00 AM - 6:00 PM Registration Open
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM Committee, SAFE, and Animal Program Meetings
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM Accreditation Hearings (closed)
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM Icebreaker at Nationwide Arena


Tuesday, September 12
7:00 AM - 5:30 PM Registration Open
7:30 AM - 8:00 AM Light Continental Breakfast
8:00 AM - 9:30 AM Opening General Session
9:30 AM - 6:30 PM Exhibit Hall Open
Grand Opening - 9:30 am-10:30 am
10:30 AM - 12:00 PM Concurrent Sessions
  • (Re) Defining Conservation Learning: Developing Core Competencies for AZA Education Professionals
  • A Guide to Pride: Cultivating Our Community
  • Animal Transport Post COVID Restrictions: Is Your Shipping Team on the Same Page?
  • Aquarium Institutional Collection Planning - Let?s Talk About It
  • Big Vision, Best Practice, Transformational Gifts, and Unfailing Adaptability: A Deep Dive into the Anatomy of a Resilient Campaign
  • Collaborate, Activate and Empower: Overcoming Barriers to Bringing Advocacy Opportunities to Zoo and Aquarium Guests
  • Guest Technology INSIDE the Zoo: New Ways to Connect with Wildlife
  • It Takes a Village: Getting Started on DEIA Work within Volunteer Programs
  • The Secret Sauce of Successful Leadership: How Emotional Intelligence has Helped Develop Us as Leaders
  • We Still Need to Talk about White Supremacy Culture
  • When Good Friday Turns Bad: Lessons Learned from a Falsely Reported Active Shooter Event
12:00 PM - 2:00 PM Exhibit Hall Lunch
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM Concurrent Sessions
  • Advancing IDEAS (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Sustainability) in Retail and Food Services Offerings & Revenue Implications
  • Be a Resource: Reimagine What Conservation Education Can Be In Your Community
  • Beastly Balls, Galas & More: Creatively Engaging Donors & Maximizing Revenue
  • Best of RAW (Regional Aquatics Workshop)
  • DIY Leadership Development: The Good, The Bad, and The What Were We Thinking!
  • Finding Elegant Solutions to Sticky Conversations and Situations
  • Getting Ahead of a Crisis: Building Confidence With the Public Before (And When) Everything Hits the Fan
  • Highlighting What's Possible: Creative Solutions for Animal Care
  • Honoring Indigenous World Views
  • What Can a Social Scientist Do for You? Integrating Communities and Exploring Collaborations Between Natural and Social Scientists
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM Directors' Meeting
Open to directors of accredited and certified institutions only
3:30 PM - 4:00 PM Refreshment Break in the Exhibit Hall
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM Concurrent Sessions
  • After Dark: Promoting 24/7 Animal Welfare
  • Aquariums and Zoos: Gateway to America the Beautiful
  • Brand Matters to Your Mission
  • Challenges and Solutions to Collaborative Conservation Efforts: An Interdisciplinary Perspective
  • Creating Profitable Sales at the Intersection of Retail Space Allocation, Visual Impact and the Mission of Your Institution
  • Will the Real Leader Please Stand Up? Conquering Imposter Syndrome through Psychological Safety
  • Let's Talk About Failure!
  • Sparking the Conversation: Hot Topics in Education
  • Unlock Your Zoo or Aquarium?s Potential: Exploring Alternative Revenue Generating Sources Beyond Philanthropy and Planned Giving Through Public/Private Partnerships
  • Why Don't We Talk About Bruno? Internal Communication Strategies that Enhance Engagement and Tell Your Animal Well-being Stories
  • Yes but How? Decolonizing Zoos and Aquariums, Disrupting Patterns of Behavior
5:30 PM - 6:30 PM Party-On-The-Floor Exhibit Hall Reception
6:30 PM - 8:30 PM The Evening Buzz
6:30 PM - 8:30 PM Directors' Dinner
By invitation only


Wednesday, September 13
7:00 AM - 5:30 PM Registration Open
7:30 AM - 8:00 AM Light Continental Breakfast
8:00 AM - 9:30 AM General Session
10:00 AM - 11:30 AM Concurrent Sessions
  • Designed With Behavior in Mind: Integrating Behavior Change and Conservation To Achieve Meaningful and Sustained Outcomes for Oceans and Marine Life
  • Embracing Diversity, Equity, Access and Inclusion (DEAI) in Public-Facing Physical Spaces: Best Practices for Aquariums and Zoos
  • Hands Off or Hands On? A Look Into the Changing Practices of Volunteer Animal Handling Programs Since COVID
  • Impacting Legislation. When Marketing and Government Affairs Work Together For Advocacy
  • Ins and Outs of Accreditation
  • Looking to the Future: Living with Avian Influenza
  • Movin’ On Up: Growing Perspective and Communicating the "Why"
  • Seeing the Light: The Dynamics of Acrylic and Its Care and Feeding in Aquarium, Zoo and Exhibit Settings
  • Sharing the Power: Conversations on Authentic Community Engagement
  • The Price is Right! Or is it? Navigating Membership Pricing Structures
  • Value of Guest Feedback
11:45 PM - 1:30 PM Honors & Awards Lunch
1:30 PM - 7:00 PM Exhibit Hall Open
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM Concurrent Sessions
  • Creating The Perfect Partnership Between Businesses and Your Zoo or Aquarium
  • Diving Into Sharks
  • Exploring Empathy for Wildlife and Staff (It's Not Just for Education)
  • Exploring the Role of Intersectionality in Advancing DEAI
  • Herpetofauna Welfare: It's Ribbeting!
  • Inflation Reduction Act (IRA): Resilient Planning, Resources, and Guidance for All AZA Facilities
  • Is Education Really a Priority for AZA Institutions?
  • Monarch Butterflies Open Doors for Community Engagement with a Conservation Impact
  • On The Boards
  • People Power! Mobilizing our Community to Increase our Conservation Impact through SAFE
  • The Power of AI in Zoo PR
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM AZA Board of Directors Meeting
3:30 PM - 4:00 PM Refreshment Break in the Exhibit Hall
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM Concurrent Sessions
  • 60 x 60: 60 Earned Revenue Ideas in 60 Minutes
  • Acknowledgment and Recognition - A Team Effort
  • Feed Sustainable: Increasing Our Impact and Taking Collective Action to Source Sustainable Aquatic Animal Feed
  • From Invitation to Inclusion: Moving Our Aquariums and Zoos Towards Access and Inclusion for Autistic Staff, Interns, Volunteers, and Visitors
  • How Collaborative Conservation Amplifies Impact
  • Innovative Interpretation: Creating a Culture of Interpretation and Engagement
  • Member Travel Programs from Small to Large
  • Topics that Roar: Hot Animal Management Conversations
  • We are ALL Party Animals - Planning and Executing Consumer Events
  • What a Year This Week Has Been: Building a Healthier, More Balanced Approach to Our Work
  • Wildlife Confiscations: Challenges, Solutions, and a Path Forward
5:30 PM - 7:00 PM Poster Reception in Exhibit Hall
Conclusion of the Silent Auction


Thursday, September 14
7:00 AM - 10:30 AM Registration Open
8:00 AM - 9:30 AM Concurrent Sessions
  • Advancing Missions Through Strategic Alignment of Financial Investments
  • Connecting Conservation Education to the Global Biodiversity Framework
  • Drilling for Preparedness - Examples of How To Plan, Execute, and Learn From Successful Drills
  • Elevate Your Programs: Taking Your Volunteer Opportunities to the Next Level
  • In Your Own Backyard: How to Use Flagship Species, Out-of-the-Box Partnerships, Research, and Habitat Restoration to Recover Threatened Species and Preserve Local Biodiversity
  • Keeping Up With the AZA Animal Wellbeing Strategy
  • Planning for Sustainable Success, Fundraising Management in a Changing World
  • Research Initiatives Understanding Barriers and Opportunities for Women and People of Color in Zoos, Aquariums, and Related Fields
  • SAFE and the Seven Principals
  • The Power of Guest Experience Design: Creating Connections and Inspiring Conservation Action
  • Wildlife Storytelling for Kids: Inspiring a New Generation to Care
9:30 AM - 10:00 AM Refreshment Break
10:00 AM - 11:30 AM Concurrent Sessions
  • Best of Marketing - Rapid Fire
  • Celebrate & Elevate: Planning for Cultural & Identity-Based Engagements
  • Co-designing with (not for) Communities: Traditional Approaches and What The Science Tells Us Will Work
  • Diverse Partnerships for Aquatic Species Recovery
  • From Climate Change to Policy Change: Can AZA Institutions Influence Public Support for Climate Policy?
  • It Takes a Village: How Every Department Can Enhance Animal Wellbeing Through Facilitating Greater Animal Agency
  • Operationalizing Your Culture: The Tools and Systems You Need To Create the Organizational Culture You Want
  • Regs, Permits, and Licenses: Federal Agencies and You
  • Road Map to Equitable and Inclusive Internships
  • Using Data to Drive Revenue Streams
  • What’s New In Exhibit Design
12:00 PM - 8:00 PM Zoo Day at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium


Friday, September 15
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM Post-Conference Tours 
WAIT LIST! The Wilds ($75 per person)
WAIT LIST! Akron Zoo ($50 per person)