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2016 AZA Annual Conference

Discussion in 'United States' started by Drew, 6 Sep 2016.

  1. Drew

    Drew Well-Known Member

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    How many Zoochatters are attending the AZA Annual Conference in San Diego in the coming week? It might be fun to meet up at some point as it is always fun to meet fellow zoo nerds!
     
  2. DavidBrown

    DavidBrown Moderator Staff Member

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    What exhibits are nominated for design awards this year?
     
  3. Drew

    Drew Well-Known Member

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    I don't know, maybe someone else on here knows?
     
  4. DDcorvus

    DDcorvus Well-Known Member

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    Interesting to hear that that Zoochatters can attend the AZA conference. In Europe the EAZA conference is quite closed and I would be surprised if any of us would participate in it.
     
  5. Kudu21

    Kudu21 Well-Known Member

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    I personally am not attending, but two of my professor and two of my fellow classmates are attending. My professors frequent the conferences to promote the degree program at my university, and I do believe that several older students/recent graduates from the program will be doing presentations at the conference this year. I had hoped to attend, myself, but I am putting my money towards a class and subsequent internship in South Africa instead!
     
  6. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Moderator Staff Member

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    I do not expect many ZooChatters at AZA either. Drew (who posted it) works for a zoo exhibit architecture firm and there is another member (Zooplantman) who works in zoo horticulture and will likely attend. However, most of us (almost all of us) are just fans and since we do not work at zoos we would have no reason to attend.
     
  7. Drew

    Drew Well-Known Member

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    The price tag to attend the whole conference can be limiting for those who are paying their own way as well. I have known several people (zoochatters included!) that have chosen to attend but are not associated with a zoological institution or professional consulting firm.
     
  8. Ituri

    Ituri Well-Known Member

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    It's a professional conference, so the only ones attending generally are working in the industry or hoping to work in the industry.

    Sorry to miss it this year, would have been nice to catch up, Drew.
     
  9. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    The annual AZA conference is strictly for professionals and thus it must be very rare for an individual not in the zoo industry (or hoping to join the zoo industry) to attend the event. Some of the sessions are by invite only, other sessions are extremely specific (North American River Otter SSP Planning Meeting is an example) and various SSP and TAG groups meet up each year. Would many zoo nerds that don't work in zoos really want to pay huge dollars to sit in on this year's "Fennec Fox SSP Masterplanning", "Prosimian TAG", "Sea Turtle Working Group" or "ZIMS for Studbook Management Preview"? Those are 4 examples of actual groups at the upcoming San Diego conference.

    The admission fee for non-members is rather extraordinary, as it is $850 U.S. for the entire conference, which is almost $1,100 Canadian. That rather eye-watering total does not include travel expenses or the cost of a hotel. I also spent some time reviewing the Exhibit Hall, which I thought would be interesting, but the bulk of the booths feature companies selling items that would be appropriate for zoos. This year's booths include things like wire mesh, price tags, skull specimens, disposable dinnerware and aquarium pumps. Just as in the case of the multiple teacher conferences that I attend every school year, for someone outside of the industry they would be a bore. Heck, they are usually rather boring for me as well! :)

    There will undoubtedly be a number of ZooChatters in San Diego for this year's conference, but those individuals keep relatively quiet on this forum due to confidentiality requirements. What I would like to know, if anyone cares to answer, is whether it is possible for a non-member to join up with members at the "Zoo Day" event. For instance, this year on Sunday, September 11th, there is a conference day from 12-9 at the San Diego Zoo. What would happen if someone happened to be at the zoo that day and they wanted to meet up with some friends who were part of the conference? It seems as if that would be easy to do once inside the zoo. If that is correct then when Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo co-hosts the 2018 AZA Annual Conference I should drive down from Canada and show up at the zoo in order to meet up with a few acquaintances. They work in the zoo industry and will be touring the facility for that conference's "Zoo Day" and I could have a stroll and have lunch with a few of them.
     
  10. Drew

    Drew Well-Known Member

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    While you are right (there are a lot of miscellaneous TAG and SSP meetings) there are a fair number of fascinating sessions on exhibit design, enrichment, ect. There is even a session focused on horticulture by our very own zoo-chatter Zooplantman. I am not pretending I expected many non-professionals to attend but for those professionals that do it would be fun to meet up. As to your question about meeting up on zoo day, that is certainly allowed as I don't think they would close the zoo just for us conference goers. I look forward to possibly seeing you again SL at Woodland Park!
     
  11. Zooplantman

    Zooplantman Well-Known Member

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    Since AZA relaunched their website that info is missing. I suppose it makes for some excitement but more likely it was a design oversight.

    I'll be there. Anyone can come and a typical zoo nerd would be blown away by it for several reasons. The fees, of course. The thousands of attendees (and their diversity of professions is what zoos ARE!): there are more marketing and development (fund raising) people than keepers, at least as many educators as keepers; curators and directors milling about in little herds, all the zoo design firms in North America, etc. Easiest way to start a conversation, as with any conference, is at the bar.
    Some paper sessions are fascinating and some mind numbing, depending on what interests you. The session I am leading (thanks Drew for the plug) should fall in between mind numbing and fascinating! (It is a bit wonky: . http://annual.aza.org/profile.cfm?p...A206-2B64-72AABF88AA0D&xtemplate&userLGNKEY=0)
    Zoo Day is simply 2200 zoo people go to the zoo and walk around and chat. The zoo is always open to the public too. Certain special back-of-house tours, lunch, etc. are for attendees only but the zoo is open .
    Sorry to miss you, Ituri, this year. David Brown? No? I hope to see Otter Lord. And Drew, of course.
     
    Last edited: 7 Sep 2016