An Update on the Golden Lion Tamarin Conservation Program / Free-Ranging GLTs at the National Zoo
Jennifer Mickelberg, Bonnie Burgess Smithsonian’s National Zoo
The golden lion tamarin (GLT: Leontopithecus rosalia) is an endangered primate endemic to the Atlantic Coastal Rainforest of Brazil. With less than 8% of their original habitat remaining, these small monkeys face remarkable challenges and an uncertain future. Just over 25 years ago, there were an estimated 200 GLTs remaining in the wild with no protected areas, but since then, programs have been established to protect, restore, and study populations of GLTs and their habitat. Learn about the work from one of the scientists on the team.
Are We Bored Yet? Giving the Effective Animal Chat
Jane Donnelly Central Park Zoo
This presentation addresses the effectiveness of the zoo chat looking at such factors as: getting the visitors’ attention, use of themes, length of chats, and use of props. There will be lots of examples and time for discussion.
Bat Conservation: Protection of Endangered Mega-Bats
Rob Mies – Organization for Bat Conservation
Come meet a Gigantic Flying Fox from Malaysia, an endangered Golden Bat from Rodrigues Island, and a Dog-Faced Bat from Indonesia, and learn how to motivate your visitors to appreciate and want to protect bats and their ecosystems. Rob Mies started working with bats in the early 1990s as a graduate at Eastern Michigan University, and studied the endangered Indiana bat in the swamps of Michigan for three years. His research has also taken him all over the world, and he and his wife, Kim Williams, founded the Organization for Bat Conservation over a decade ago to educate people about the uniqueness and importance of bats.
Conservation Can’t Wait: The Saint Louis Zoo’s WildCare™ Institute
Trish Abbene / Michael Abbene Saint Louis Zoo
The escalating scope of the extinction crisis has led zoos to increase their emphasis on field research. Zoos’ education and research resources and access to the public provides a huge, untapped resource that can be used to address the global extinction crisis. In May 2004 the Saint Louis Zoo created the WildCare™ Institute as an umbrella organization for a number of existing and planned conservation projects. Each of its twelve conservation centers is built around three dimensions: 1) wildlife management and recovery, 2) conservation science, and 3) the human dimension. We hope that the WildCare™ Institute will serve as a significant step forward in making the Saint Louis Zoo and its zoological partners conservation centers in the fullest sense as we believe that the “great” zoos of the future will be an integrated combination of exhibits, animal management, as well as internal and external conservation programs.
Contributing to Symbiosis (PDF)
Ellen K. Kulie (Workshop 2)
Detroit Zoological Institute
AZAD invites members to contribute to the newsletter Symbiosis, which is published four or five times per year for all AZAD members. This session will help those interested in contributing to Symbiosis, and will discuss the type of content published in Symbiosis versus content used on AZAD’s web site. We will explore techniques for generating ideas, ways to start writing, and techniques for editing our own writing. The presenter will encourage each attendee to make a submission to Symbiosis in the coming year. Attendees will leave with a list of resources for writing.
Displaying Nephila madagascarensis at the National Zoo
Michael Bevel Smithsonian’s National Zoo
The National Zoo is one of the only zoos to display the Golden Orb Weaver spider (Nephila madagascarensis) in the open, without any glass or other barrier between the visitor and the animal. This presents some challenges. Quite a few visitors come to the zoo with a healthy fear of arachnids. Encouraging appreciation of a difficult animal such as these spiders can be a very rewarding part of being a volunteer interpreter.
Educational Activities of Friends of the Moonridge Zoo
Sharon Lubert / Christie Helm Moonridge Animal Park
The Friends of the Moonridge Zoo (FOMZ) was established in 1989 as a nonprofit organization. FOMZ is dedicated to supporting Park improvements and providing opportunities to learn about wildlife. In this presentation, we plan to show excerpts consistent with our training and off-site presentations about our zoo.
Evaluate, Assess, Critique-It’s All Good: Evaluation to Improve Docent Programming (download as PDF)
(Workshop 1) Jennifer Wheeler Smithsonian’s National Zoo
It is universally recognized that evaluation is a fundamental and essential tool for ensuring and improving program quality. All of the elements of a docent program should be evaluated including training, supervision and coordination, and decent performance. At the National Zoo, a variety of approaches are in use to evaluate aspects of the volunteer programs managed by Friends of the National Zoo, including staff evaluations of docents, docent evaluations of staff, docent evaluations of other docents, and docent evaluations of themselves. In this presentation, the application and results of evaluations reviewed and discussed.
From Birthwatch to Birthday Parties: A Celebration of Successful African Elephant Breeding at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium
Cathy Gialloreto / Betty Borgman Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium
This paper presents a history of docent involvement in birth watches at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, in particular our work with Giraffes, Bongos, and Elephants. The program will also focus on the logistics of increased docent training to adequately prepare for an impending birth, and docent schedule requirements for adequate coverage of evening and overnight hours.
Giant Panda Behavior Watch
Sheila Franco Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Since the Giant Pandas first arrived at the National Zoological Park (NZP) in 1972, behavioral information has been collected on these endangered animals to better understand the habits and improve husbandry of these rare animals. This presentation will review the behavior study that has been, and continues to be, conducted on Tian Tian and Mei Xiang, covering the basics of animal behavior watch, sampling methods, and continuous data collection and moving on to the specifics of the giant panda watches at the National Zoo.
Gorp and Good Jen/Bad Jen: Ideas for Effective and Fun Interpretive Trainin (download as PDF)
Jennifer Wheeler Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Delivery is as important, and sometimes more important, than content when interpreting animals and exhibits to the public. A strong command of the subject matter is just one element that docents must draw on to reach audiences: an ability to relate to the audiences and the techniques to best reach and engage diem are other essential elements of interpretation. The training courses for the Friends of the National Zoo’s interpretive programs cover each of these elements, drawing on the body of knowledge developed by academic and professional entities dedicated to interpretation. In this presentation, the interpretive training provided by Friends of the National Zoo will be shared. The presentation will include interpretive sections of the training manuals and the exercises and activities used in training.
Increasing Captive Cheetah Reproductive Success:Lessons Learned
Kate Egeleston Smithsonian’s National Zoo
Overview of cheetahs including reproductive studies and recent success at NZP. There are two significant problems facing cheetahs in North American zoos. The first is a declining (captive) population as it is no longer feasible to “import” more animals to fill exhibit space since cheetahs are considered endangered. And the second problem is a lack of reproductive success within the zoo population. The latter issue is the more serious as it directly contributes to the former one. While cheetahs in me wild appear to breed easily, their captive counterparts do not and unfortunately we do not know the reason(s) why this is so. Scientists, zookeepers and volunteers at the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park (NZP) and Conservation and Research Center (CRC) have devoted time and effort to answering this question.
It’s for the Birds: Celebrating Birds and Bird Conservation through International Migratory Bird Day
Jennifer Wheeler Smithsonian’s National Zoo
International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) is an annual day of recognition, celebrated to raise awareness and concern for the birds that share our world. Held in springtime to coincide with the arrival of migrants from lands to the south, IMBD events range from bird walks, lectures and classroom activities, to large public festivals. IMBD was begun in 1993 by the Migratory Bird Center at the Smithsonian National Zoo, and has been observed by over half the membership of AZA during its existence. This presentation will share how zoos and aquaria celebrate IMBD, showcasing the National Zoo event, and provide tools and suggestions to docents on how they can initiate or expand IMBD events at their own facilities.
Kori Bustards: Feathered Balloons of the African Plains
Sara Hallager / Paula Frechen Smithsonian’s National Zoo
As zoos begin to take a more prominent role in the conservation and reestablishment of wildlife populations through captive rearing and breeding, it becomes critical to understand how captivity and the “visitor effect” can affect animal behavior. The National Zoo began a breeding program for kori bustards (Ardeotis kori) in 1997 and nearly 30 chicks have hatched since that time. In 2000, the National Zoo began a behavioral watch on kori bustards in an effort to increase the basic understanding of the species in captivity.
Let’s Bring Out the “Spring Outs” at the San Antonio Zo0 (download as PDF)
Kara Antrim San Antonio Zoo
As winter gives way to refreshing spring days, the San Antonio Zoo is inundated with energetic and enthusiastic school children, parents, and teachers from the local community. As the zoo and our docents strive to meet the educational and recreational needs of these sprightly visitors, we have tried to balance the high quality standards of our traditional educational presentations with the desire to interact with as many of our customers – both young and old – as possible. Last year, our docents broke away from the tried-and-true classroom presentations (K-l) and hour-long tours (2 grade -high school) we typically utilize weekdays August through May. Instead, we’ve opted for customized outdoor presentations – Spring Outs, following the thematic communication and environmental interpretation philosophy espoused by Dr. Sam Ham, Professor of Resource Recreation and Tourism at the University of Idaho.
The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens’ Ape Awareness Day
Juanita Kempe, Dillu Ashby Los Angeles Zoo
The Los Angeles Zoo and decent program is sponsoring an Ape Awareness Day this year to coincide with the International Ape Awareness Month of November. We wish to share what we are doing with other zoos and encourage them to participate.
Return the Call of the Wild: Recycled Cell Phones
Janet Krevenas, Joan Henscbel, Ann Swan, Philadelphia Zoo
This presentation will detail our docent cell phone recycling project at the Philadelphia Zoo designed to fund an outreach conservation program in Vietnam. We plan to show how the $500.00 grant from AZAD has allowed us to extend our project beyond the gates of the Zoo. Particular attention will be given to highlighting the joint effort of docents and zoo staff.
Student Power and Your Programs
Maria A. Knudtson Henry Doorly Zoo
One of the issues facing docents and zoos is keeping current with technology and production of documents necessary for both business and educational needs. At the Henry Doorly Zoo, our education department handles classes, tours, outreach, and campouts, which require many documents and forms. Larger zoos can budget for this; smaller zoos without budgets to cover this work can seek volunteer assistance for design and production. Local college students are a great source of creativity and volunteer assistance.
Volunteers Respond to Economic Times-Turning the Negative into the Positive
Betty Goodman, Bettie Farace, Amy Miller, Minnesota Zoo
What happens to state and public funded zoos in economic downturns and how do volunteers/docents and zoo staff respond? This presentation will describe how the interpretive volunteers at the Minnesota Zoo (MZG) rose to the occasion, created new concepts, worked to develop them, and turned both volunteer and public disappointment into positive and fun opportunities.