Don’t forget to register for the annual conference of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). This year, the Oregon Zoo is hosting in Portland, Oregon, nicely situated between the mountains and the coast.This year’s conference for zoo and aquarium professionals promises some great programming and networking.
One panel that we are helping to organize will feature our main research consultant who will share the latest findings from the most extensive, ongoing public attitude and awareness survey about environmental topics ever conducted in the United States. We will have fresh data to present from the first of at least four semi-annual tracking surveys. This research, commissioned by The Ocean Project, has important implications for how aquariums and zoos can have greater impact and be more effective in communicating with the public about topics ranging from ocean conservation to climate change. Senior staff members of three major U.S. aquariums will share examples of how these results have influenced or supported the conservation work of their institutions.
The Ocean Project will also host a professionally-facilitated session for invited Partners to discuss the research findings, how they are being interpreted, successes in integrating the findings and any barriers in doing so, and more.
Our proposed panel on youth as drivers of environmental engagement was unfortunately not fully accepted this year although we will have one of the panelists from this session integrated into another session, and we will aim to bring this important information to AZA members at upcoming conferences.
In addition, we will be sharing a poster on the watershed-to-ocean initiative that we are developing for Partners to help do more in your local watersheds. Our prototypes demonstrate concepts our Partners will be able to use anywhere on the planet, allowing your visitors to visualize how they connect through their watershed to the ocean, learn about ecosystems and ecosystem-related issues in the community, get involved, and develop a better sense of their “eco-address.”
By the way, Portland is an amazingly walkable, bikeable, and public transportable city with lots of great things to do and places eat, shop and play during the conference. The Zoo ‘host committee’ has developed a fun online resource, including how conference goers can be green. Check it out to make the most of your time there!