This week, nearly a dozen staff from Blank Park Zoo are on the road to Kansas City, MO to attend the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Annual Conference. AZA is a network of 222 zoos with more than 6,000 committed zoo and aquarium professionals, organizations and suppliers worldwide.
The premier event for zoo and aquarium professionals, AZA's Annual Conference brings together leaders in our community for six full days of:
· Networking with peers
· Exploration of new ideas and best practices
· Sharing of successful programs
· Learning about new technology, products, and services
Discussions focus on a variety of topics that deal with the operation and management of a zoo such as animal welfare issues, new strategies and technologies to continually improve animal care, business operations, education topics, conservation initiatives, fundraising and much more. In addition to being global conservation leaders, AZA-accredited zoos work for the protection of endangered species, are experts in animal care and welfare and are leaders in life science education and family recreation.
Several Blank Park Zoo staff attend the AZA conference each year, bringing ideas and research back to Des Moines to implement here at our Zoo – improving our animal care, conservation initiatives, fundraising efforts and of course, your experience as a Zoo visitor.
As a kickoff to this annual event, this past Sunday, Sept. 8 Blank Park Zoo hosted nearly 40 colleagues in the field from across the nation as a pre-conference trip. This trip not only provided an opportunity for zoo professionals to network prior to the conference, but it also was a proud moment for Blank Park Zoo staff to open our doors and share our animal collection with our colleagues.
We were honored to host this pre-conference trip and humbled by the compliments from attendees about our Zoo and our staff. A representative from Disney applauded the Zoo’s customer service, and she thought everyone from each department – guest services, animal care, education, and volunteers – was exceptional.
We couldn’t be a strong Zoo and provide the quality care of our animals without you – our members, donors and visitors. By your contributions and visiting the Zoo, you are the reason we keep our doors open and grow in our annual attendance each year. Thank you.