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What does a business trip look like for us?

What does a business trip look like for us?

Mackenzie B.
March 21, 2024

Hi, I'm Mackenzie, Senior Keeper at Ambassador Animals, and I'm here to tell you a little about professional development in the animal world. You may be wondering: “What's the business journey like for someone who takes care of animals for a living?” Well, there are quite a few different options for us, and some of them may not look very different from what a business trip looks like for other professionals.

One of the opportunities we might have, which might be a little bit unique in this area, is what we call a zoo shadow or a goalie swap. In this case, a keeper from Zoo Atlanta will go to a different AZA facility to shadow their keepers, and in some situations, we may trade places with a keeper from that institution for a period of time. Along the way, we watch different routines, drills, and presentations at the other facility in hopes of learning new things to improve the welfare of the animals at Zoo Atlanta. It is also a great time to meet and fellowship with other professionals in the field.

Sometimes we also get the opportunity to host or attend different workshops. Zoo Atlanta is hosting some workshops, inviting others to come and learn training and breeding techniques from some of our team members. Other organizations also host workshops on different topics related to the field we are invited to attend. The final form of business travel that animal care professionals often undertake is attending conferences. Now, these conferences often have confusing abbreviations as names (IMATA, ABMA, AZA, AAZK), but they all provide opportunities for professionals to attend and learn from others in the field. I recently had the opportunity to attend the 2024 International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators (IAATE) Conference hosted by the Cascades Raptor Center in Eugene, Oregon. Here, I was able to listen to presentations by some of the best bird trainers in the world, once again hoping to bring information back to benefit what we do at Zoo Atlanta. I was also honored to have the opportunity to present some of the training we did at Zoo Atlanta. Of course, the trip wouldn't be complete without a conference field trip to see the amazing work being done at the Cascades Raptor Center, plus a banquet to cap it all off (we love any excuse to eat!). So, you see, even people who take care of animals for a living take business trips. They focus only on what is most important to us… keeping our animals as happy and healthy as possible!

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Mackenzie B.
The third ranger, the animal ambassador

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