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Letter from AZH President

August 20, 2018 12:33 PM | Anonymous



The time has arrived! I am packing my bags, placing meetings and lunches in my calendar, and emailing friends and members to see when and where we can find time to catch up over busy conference week. What a week it looks to be: The program committee has done an excellent job arranging some fabulous sounding presentations; The board is set to get down to business with an item-packed agenda; the committees have all submitted their reports to get ready for annual meetings; our host has put together an amazing, informative and action packed itinerary. I am officially excited to start the conference and cross Assiniboine Park off my bucket list!

Starting off the conference, the 2018 board members will meet together, some for the last time before the new members are on-boarded later in the conference. I would like to thank Nancy Tarver for her 5 years of service to AZH as a board member and officer. I would also like to congratulate and thank Lance Swearengin and Donita Brannon for their continued service as directors-at-large. Finally, please help me congratulate and welcome Dianne Weber as your newly elected director-at-large. I challenge and encourage all members to explore the possibilities of running for office or board assignment in next year’s election. It is an extremely rewarding experience and opportunity to enhance your commitment to the field.

I am also excited to meet our newest members and first time conference attendees. Conference is the forum for us all to learn from each other’s challenges and successes, share our knowledge and experiences that have the power to unify us together when it can feel a bit alone inside of your own organization, and to reinvigorate your passion for what you do.


When it comes to business; whether a zoo, an aquarium, an art or history museum, a Fortune 500 company, or a main street coffee shop, it’s about people. People, our guests, are our target market…our “brain capital”…the only way we change the world together. It’s people that you work to educate, to inspire, to create memories for. Our work and our landscapes have the power to do all of that. How do you tell your stories for conservation in your institutions? If your story does not include your flora with your fauna, then you might consider some editing. It is your passion and voice for plant science that engages a holistic message of conservation for zoos and other living museums. Collectively, through AZH, our voice is strong and loud! Do not forget about the other collectives that support you too; your animal care staff, your leadership, other hort organizations, your PEOPLE!

That about wraps up my rant for the quarter. Hopefully I got you thinking and anxious for some energetic conversations over conference. For those unable to attend this year, feel free to rant back over the Discussion Forum on the website. Also, don’t forget that the program committee works extremely hard to post the proceedings from each conference on the website, so if you miss the opportunity to be there in person, you are still able to have a glimpse on-line.

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