Carol McCallum, Tiffany Varga Mayo, Christy M-o at the PBI booth at the 2016 AAZK conference in Memphis.

© Polar Bears International

1/9/2017 1:19:30 AM

Wednesday Shout Out {AACs Shine at Conferences}

AZA Conference

A big shout out to all the Polar Bears International Arctic Ambassador Centers (AAC) teams that participated in the 2016 Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) Annual Conference in San Diego in September. The conference was hosted by the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and SeaWorld San Diego.

“We say PBI's AACs deliver a powerful message: ‘Together we can save polar bears and the Arctic,’ and they proved that again at the conference,” said Marissa Krouse, PBI’s programs manager.

The AACs educate the public about climate change and how we each can help. They also provide leadership for carbon emission reductions in their communities. They exhibited both of these actions at the conference.

At the AZA conference, members of the AAC teams carved out time during a busy week to stop by the PBI roundtable for Arctic Ambassador Center reviews. PBI valued the time they put in to connect in person and let PBI know how their team is doing and how PBI can better support their efforts.

Many of PBI’s AAC network friends also attended a panel session highlighting important collaborations in the polar bear community over the past decade: Animal Husbandry Training Can Facilitate Conservation Research and Improve Welfare: Polar Bears as a Case Study. AAC teams attended our annual Gathering for Ambassadors and Alumni, and made time for breakout meetings in preparation for PBI’s fall programming season.

At the Gathering, Frontiers North Adventures and PBI thanked the AACs for their contributions to collaborative research projects on polar bears and climate change. See the slide show above for all the individuals who came out to accept thanks for their organizations.

The Akron Zoo was recognized by the AZA as a Top Honors award winner for the zoo’s green practices. This is the highest honor the AZA awards in the area of green practices.

AAZK Conference

The American Association of Zookeepers (AAZK) conference at the Memphis Zoo took place right afterwards. One of PBI’s Ambassadors from the North Carolina Zoo, Nicole Pepo Gebhardt, won second place for her poster titled “Finding the Bear Necessities: Management of Stereotypic Behaviors in Polar Bears.” The poster describes how the North Carolina Zoo reduced stress in their polar bear.

AAC volunteers also showed up in a big way at the AAZK conference. They demonstrated leadership on polar bear and climate issues by volunteering at the PBI booth.

CAZA Conference

Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) also hosted a conference in September and recognized three of PBI’s AACs for conservation and education efforts.

Aquarium du Québec, Edmonton Valley Zoo, and Toronto Zoo were recognized “for outstanding accomplishments in six distinct areas of core concern to CAZA and its members: animal husbandry, education, conservation, contributions to long-term survival of at-risk populations, and contributions of both zoo professionals and volunteers.” 

Bear hugs and a huge shout out to all our AAC family and thanks for their work for polar bears!

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