Log in

AZH Newsletter

  • August 16, 2018 12:37 PM | Anonymous


    AZH promotes the contributions made by horticulture to the success of zoos and the establishment of effective habitat exhibits. To support this mission, AZH established the "AZH Internship Program" to assist zoos in accomplishing projects that enhance the zoo experience and bring attention to the importance of horticulture.   The $1500 stipend is to advance special horticulture related projects and introduce zoo horticulture to a new generation. The funds are not intended to be used for routine garden or grounds maintenance.  More information about the program is found here - https://azh.org/azh-internship-program/

    The 2018 AZH Internship Program Award was awarded to Amy Yarger at the Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster, CO.  This is the second award for Amy and the Butterfly Pavilion from this program.  Details on the program are below.

    Plant Collections Internship 2018


    The purpose of the Plant Collections 2018 internship is to provide an undergraduate horticulture or museum studies student with a thorough training and hands-on practice in the field of planning, designing, and evaluating plant collections in a zoological setting. The Plant Collections intern will work closely with Butterfly Pavilion’s horticulture director to formalize and present the botanical collections plan for Butterfly Pavilion’s new facility, the Center for Invertebrate Research and Conservation (CIRC), which opens in 2021.

    Goal of Project

    The public plant collections at CIRC will offer immersive and engaging natural experiences for our guests and the community at large, while providing ample food and shelter for our captive invertebrates, as well as native invertebrate and vertebrate wildlife. The collections will focus on the flora of tropical, desert and Rocky Mountain environments. The plant collections plan will be updated in 2018 in order to prepare for the design of the new plantings, the acquisition of new species, the transplanting of existing specimens and best management practices. This plan will guide us in assessing risk, identifying sources for plants and evaluating the performance of plants in exhibits and the landscape.

    Objectives for 2018 Plant Collections Internship

    Butterfly Pavilion horticulture internships currently offer undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate students in the plant sciences a semester’s opportunity to gain experience in public garden management, habitat restoration and greenhouse management. This new internship would be a 15-week program (August – December) with involvement in the planning process from the design phase to the acquisition phase.

    • The student will collect and analyze data about performance of the current collections and provide recommendations for transferring current holdings to the new facility.
    • The student will compile information for the propagation or acquisition of new plant specimens for the entire CIRC facility.
    • The student will collaborate with the horticulture director on creating planting layouts for the tropical, desert, Rocky Mountain biome and outdoor gardens and create management plans for each.
    • The intern will complete and present an independent project in the subject of plant collections during that time.


    Action Steps Timeline Staff
    Work with planning team on concept and exhibit  interpretation January 1 – September 30 2018 Horticulture Director, Architects
    Intern onboarding August 20 – September 1, 2018 Volunteer Manager
    Evaluation of current collections: tropical and pollinator gardens August 20 – October 15, 2018 Plant Collections Intern w/ training and support from Horticulture Director
    Concept and design of new exhibits and gardens: desert and Rocky Mountain August 20 – October 15, 2018 Plant Collections Intern w/ training and support from Horticulture Director
    Independent project proposal submitted September 1. 2018 Plant Collections Intern w/ training and support from Horticulture Director
    Compile best practices for transplantation, propagation, acquisition and management October 1 – December 1, 2018 Plant Collections Intern w/ training and support from Horticulture Director
    Intern midterm evaluation October 15, 2018 Horticulture Director
    Independent project presented to staff and volunteers December 10, 2018 Plant Collections Intern
    Final evaluation December 15, 2018 Plant Collections Intern, Horticulture Director
  • August 15, 2018 12:39 PM | Anonymous


    Did you know that AZH has produced online courses available through San Diego Zoo Global Academy?

    Browse & Toxic Plants and Responsible Water Use are available online via this online learning platform.  IPM course is still in construction but we hope to have that up and running soon.  Instructions to access the courses (and many others) is found below.

    The Association of Zoological Horticulture Collaborative Learning Environment® provides an interactive peer-to-peer learning environment to allow you to communicate, spread ideas, share resources, discuss topics and learn in a safe environment.

    Registration Instructions for AZH Courses

    There are multiple ways to access the AZH courses. You may take the course through the AZH private academy (e-learning site), your institutions private academy, or through San Diego Zoo Global Academy (SDZGA). Included below are instructions for each scenario. We diligently worked through each avenue, but complications may arise. You may contact the CollaborNation helpline (CypherWorx) at (888) 685- 4440.

    For AZH members whose organizations have a private academy (elearning site): You can access the course through San Diego Zoo Global Academy. Once you join your private academy, you may need to request access to SDZGA from CypherWorx – (888) 685-4440.

    1. Login to your Once in, click on the drop down tab in the top right corner of your screen titled “Select a Site.” You will see a drop down list – select the San Diego Zoo Global Academy.
    2. On the top menu bar click on Course Catalog.
    3. Scroll down to the “Browse by Category” menu on the right side. Click on the AZH category to pull up the course. You may also enter the course title into the Search Catalog
    4. Click on the “Learn More”
    5. Click on the “Add to Cart”
    6. Enter the AZH member coupon code. AZHMEMBER50%
    7. Continue the checkout process.

    For AZH members who are not members of an academy (private elearning site): You can join the AZH Academy at https://collabornation.net/login/azh or through the link at http://azh.org/azh-course-registration/ (click on Registration Instructions)

    1. Log in to your AZH account.
    2. Register into the CollaborNation AZH eLearning site. There is a $25.00 joining
    3. On the top menu bar click on Course Catalog.
    4. Find the “Browse and Toxic Plants” course in the listing.
    5. Click on the “Learn More”
    6. Click on the “Add to Cart”
    7. Enter the AZH member coupon code. AZHMEMBER50%
    8. Continue the checkout process.
  • August 13, 2018 12:40 PM | Anonymous


    Hello AZH!

    The 4 recipients of the 2018 Wendy Andrew Cultivation Grant have been busy making great progress on their projects that we take great pride in being able to assist with funding. The following institutions have reported reaching positive milestones in their efforts:

    Butterfly Pavilion—Browse Café

    In late May, volunteers planted veggies, fruit, herbs and edible flowers for stick insects, beetles and roaches w/ volunteers (see list in Appendix) in northeast corner of Discovery Garden, which includes in-ground crops, raised beds and container plantings. These plantings are regularly cared for by horticulture staff and volunteers. Right now, we have primarily greens, herbs and flowers available to harvest. Horticulture staff and volunteers collect harvest and provides to animal care staff on a twice-weekly basis. Horticulture staff hand-painted labels for each crop, so that even self-guided visitors to the garden can identify the plants being grown as browse.

    The summer season begins this week with our youth volunteering program orientation. These kids will work with homeschool students and summer campers to plant additional crops, water, weed and care for the food crops. Regular “garden safaris” also allow zoo guests to participate in growing food for our animals. It’s fun for the guests to learn that our animals enjoy many of the same foods that they do, even if they utilize different parts of the plants from humans. Horticulture staff worked closely with our educators to develop the appropriate curricula and buy the props and supplies needed to keep the program going all summer. 

    Rolling Hills Zoo—Bringing Bees Back to the Garden

    The construction for the foundation of the bee hives was built April 12-13th. This construction included a 2 x 6 wooden frame that was leveled from the grade and backfilled. The frame was then filled with crushed limestone followed by a 2 x 4 wood cedar frame that was placed and leveled on top of the limestone.

    RHZ staff installed and prepared the brood boxes for the arrival of the bees on April 16, 2018. Then two of the three Nucs* arrived and were installed in the brood boxes on April 23rd. The third Nuc will be installed at a later date. The Nucs, or nucleus colonies, are small honey bee colonies created from larger colonies. The term refers both to the smaller size box and the colony of honeybees within it. The name is derived from the fact that a nuc hive is centered on a queen, the nucleus of the honey bee colony.

    To-date, the bee colonies are thriving and gathering pollen, thus lessening their reliance on the sugar water which was provided to the colonies when they arrived.

    The equipment that we have purchased so far includes two bee suits plus gloves, three full bee hive box setups, and a bee brush. Other equipment will be purchased as needed.

    At this time we are in the process of developing the wording and graphics for the signage leading up to and at the bee hives. This signage will talk about the decline in honeybee populations in the US, the importance of the bees to our ecosystem and the inter-relational importance of bees in our world,   Signage will also talk about the bees themselves and the complexities of bee keeping.

    Sacramento Zoo—Plant Identification/Signage

    Location of signs (what area of the zoo) has been decided. Quotes have been obtained on the sizes/material of the signs. Preliminary selection of the plants to be labeled has been done, with the final list to be completed by May 31st, 2018. Hope to have the signs ordered by the first week in June and installed by the end of July.

    Zoo New England—Organic Garden

    As of June 2018, we have received 100 sq. feet of lowbush blueberry bushes that will be planted behind the apiary in the organic garden at Franklin Park Zoo. We will be obtaining and planting gooseberry, paw paw, and ostrich ferns shortly.

    Zoo New England Organic Garden

  • August 06, 2018 12:41 PM | Anonymous


    Do you see yourself in a senior role in public horticulture leadership? Are you goal oriented, naturally curious, and someone who produces results?

    Longwood Gardens is now accepting applications for our 2019–2020 Fellows Program – a 13-month residential working and learning experience designed to further develop and refine high-potential individuals' leadership skills. Our tuition-free program offers a monthly stipend, housing, pragmatic and individualized leader development opportunities, and immersion into the business of public horticulture.

    Program content is grounded in the disciplines of leadership, organizational behavior, and nonprofit management and begins with an introspective onboarding process that heightens participants' self-awareness. The program concludes with a two-month field placement assignment and the presentation of a final, collective cohort project that serves the needs of our industry.

    The 2019–2020 Fellows Program begins in June 2019. Cohort applications remain open through October 1, 2018.

    Apply Now
    In-person interviews will be held December 5–7, 2018 (weather dependent). Longwood provides all airfare, lodging, and meals for interview weekend.
  • July 26, 2018 12:50 PM | Anonymous



    Take action for plant conservation

    Next month, Congress is on recess and your elected official will be working in their home district. August is the perfect time to contact your Representative and ask them to support plant conservation legislation. Please take this time to write to, email, phone, or visit your Representative in person and ask them to support the Botany Bill.


    Last week, Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, introduced the Botanical Sciences and Native Plant Materials Research, Restoration, and Promotion Act (S.3240).  The bill encourages federal land management agencies to hire botanists, conduct research on native plant materials, and incorporate native plants in projects on federal lands when feasible. In 2017 this bill, commonly called the Botany Bill, (H.R.1054) was introduced in the House of Representatives. More information on the House bill, including the list of 24 cosponsors to date. Track the progress of the Senate bill and to see if your Senator is a cosponsor. See Center for Plant Conservation position paper on the Botany Bill.

    What to do

    1. Find the contact info for your Representative.
    2. Let your elected official know that plant conservation is important to you and ask them to support the House version of the Botany Bill. Here is a sample letter for you to send to your Representative by email, postal mail, or use the letter as talking points and phone or visit their office. If they have cosponsored the bill, thank them. If they have not, ask them to do so.
    3. Tell your friends and family to contact their elected officials to support the Botany Bill and plant conservation.

    Please help us all Save Plants by supporting this historic and forward-thinking legislation.

  • July 22, 2018 2:00 PM | Anonymous


    The San Diego Zoo Global and Center for Plant Conservation offer a free online training course on plant conservation.

    The goal of this course is to lead the fight against extinction by taking a leadership role and collaborating with others to save species from extinction using science-based techniques and fostering collaboration and cooperation. This free, 2.5 hour, beginner’s course is great for new plant conservation hires or interns, students or anyone who wants to better understand the basics of why plants are important and the methods to conserve them.

    Course Instructor(s): self paced

    Cost: Free!

    Launch the training@:

  • July 18, 2018 2:02 PM | Anonymous


    The Jacksonville Zoo’s African Forest build-out continues to make headway with the addition of support structures, walls and a spread of roots for the central tree.

    It’s the one-of-a-kind central tree that is the crux of the project. Each of the ape exhibits in the African Forest will connect to the 42-foot-tall tree via overhead trails similar to the ones in the Land of the Tiger exhibit. The tree structure features an internal spiral staircase that will allow keepers to interact and provide enrichment for the apes in the mesh-enclosed “exhibit.” It will even have an enrichment station that will allow the apes to interact with a touch-screen app.

    The African Forest, a $9 million, four-acre project, incorporates “wellness-inspired design” and will replace the former Great Apes Loop which opened in 1998. The renovation was largely spurred by the groundbreaking Range of the Jaguar exhibit in 2004 and Land of the Tiger in 2014, both of which  won national awards for innovation and quality design.

    At the end of January, the African Forest project sat funded to $7.3 million out of its $9 million price tag. Now, just $400,000 is left to be raised.

    “When we had the zoo folks [from January’s ZACC conference] here, they were amazed at what we have been able to do with so little money,” said construction project manager Cullen Richart.

    The Land of the Tiger exhibit alone cost $9.5 million, according to previous reporting. Range of the Jaguar cost $14.4 million.

    Jacksonville Zoo Primate Update

    The Jacksonville Business Journal got a behind the scenes update on the Jacksonville Zoo's new primate habitat. The centerpiece of the area will be a man made canopied tree that primates will be able to access and climb. There will even be an iPad for them to use, a practice that other zoos have… more

    The Jacksonville Business Journal got a behind the scenes update on the Jacksonville Zoo's new primate habitat. The centerpiece of the area will be a man made canopied tree that primates will be able to access and climb. There will even be an iPad for them to use, a practice that other zoos have implemented. The area is scheduled to open around Labor Day weekend. Here Rumplestiltskin, a lowland gorilla hangs out in the current exhibit which sits behind the new facility. The older exhibit will remain to house animals not on exhibit or retired animals.

    9 photos

    The new great apes loop will feature a new entry way, bonobo building, gorilla enclosure and lemur exhibit. Every concrete wall is being sculpted to resemble rock; every concrete beam is being sculpted to resemble wood branches stemming from the central tree. The bonobo building will feature a “bio-floor” that has never been implemented in a Florida zoo, and the central trees structure is one of a kind.

    The biggest reason to change the exhibit, Richart said, is to better the environment for the wellness of the animals.

    “With the trails, we can get out as many animal groups as possible, and with the bonobo enclosure having a canopy, they can be out at night,” Richart said, grinning. “They can see the stars. They’ve never been able to see the stars before.”

    The construction of the project sees its own unique challenges, as cleaning systems must be installed and structures built strong enough to contain gorillas.

    Rock climbers from the Edge Rock Gym in Jacksonville have visited the African Forest twice to test if gorillas would be able to scale the walls to escape the enclosure. The climbers have managed to get out both times, which means the rocky walls need to be adjusted so the gorillas can’t find handholds to climb out.

    Some pieces of the exhibit, such as the trail structures and netting, are being constructed in Ohio. As long as those pieces arrive on time, the project should finish on time, said zoo director Tony Vecchio.

    “Some of these key pieces are out of our hands,” Vecchio said, “but we should be open for Labor Day weekend.”


  • July 12, 2018 2:12 PM | Anonymous




    ArbNet created its Arboretum Accreditation Program to establish and share a widely recognized set of industry standards for the purpose of unifying the arboretum community. No other international program of accreditation exists that is specific to arboreta. Any arboretum or public garden with a substantial focus on woody plants may apply. Accreditation is based on self-assessment and documentation of an arboretum’s level of achievement of accreditation standards, including planning, governance, number of species, staff or volunteer support, education and public programming, and tree science research and conservation. The entire program is free of charge.

    Apply for Accreditation

    The ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program

    • Recognizes arboreta at various levels of development, capacity, and professionalism
    • Fosters professionalism of arboreta worldwide
    • Enables collaboration in scientific, collections,
      and conservation activities
    • Advances the planting, study, and consevation of trees.

    Benefits of accreditation

    • Be recognized for achievement of specified levels
      of professional practice.
    • Work toward higher levels of professional
      standards once accredited.
    • Identify other organizations at similar or higher
      levels of accreditation to provide comparative
      benchmarks and models for further achievement.
    • Earn distinction in your community, university,
      college, or government agency.
    • Exert leadership and influence by serving as a
      model to encourage professional development in other organizations.
    • Identify opportunities for collaboration with other arboreta for scientific, collections, or conservation activities.

    Examples of institutions that may be accredited arboreta

    • arboreta and botanic gardens
    • historic properties
    • college campuses
    • cemeteries
    • zoos
    • city tree collections
    • corporate campuses
    • school property
    • golf course
    • nature reserves
    • municipal parks

    For specific information on which level to pursue, please visit the levels of accreditation page.

  • July 11, 2018 2:17 PM | Anonymous


    Everything About Aquatics
    by Longwood Gardens

    Available now through September 30, 2018

    We’re excited to announce the release of our second free, fully online course, Everything About Aquatics. Designed to transport our spectacular Waterlily Display to wherever you and your web-enabled device happen to be, this comprehensive course is perfect for aquatic enthusiasts and experts.

    With our self-paced course videos, discussion forums, fact sheets, and more, you can go behind the scenes and learn how we care for and propagate hundreds of day- and night-flowering waterlilies, iconic Victoria giant water-platters, and other stunning aquatic plants. Explore identification characteristics, cultural needs, and care of these plants, as well as learn basic design principles for creating your own aquatic garden. You can even share your own water gardening experiences with fellow enthusiasts.

    Ready to get started? Broaden your world by learning in ours. Enroll here

  • July 10, 2018 2:19 PM | Anonymous

     2018 Garden Benchmarking

    Simple to Enter Data
    Seriously Powerful Results

    "How to" webinar with Casey Sclar on July 13.

    Report your 2016-17 Data by July 31.

    The American Public Gardens Association Garden Benchmarking platform is now open for data entry for the most recent fiscal year. In order to make the results as useful as possible for you and your fellow garden professionals, we need all of our members to participate.

    "The power of numbers is dramatic. You can talk to someone for two hours when one number can tell the whole story."
    - Jane O. MacLeod, President and CEO, Cheekwood Estate and Gardens

    Download the Data Entry Guide | Start Entering Data


    Intro videos
    Log-In and Enter Data | Compare Your Garden | Generate Reports

    Join Association Executive Director Casey Sclar for a Garden Benchmarking "How To" webinar on Friday, July 13 at 1:30 EDT.

    Learn how to not just enter data but use it to benefit your garden.

    Webinar will cover Garden Benchmarking and Compensation & Benefits.

    Register Here


    "Benchmarking shows not only what we're best at, but also where there's room for improvement to help the bottom line... Without Benchmarking, it's a lot more work for a lot more people."
    - Stephanie Jutila, President and CEO, Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

    Garden Benchmarking
    Your garden's size, location, employees, volunteers and more!
    Use the
    Data Entry Guide to help your staff compile information.

    Compensation and Benefits Benchmarking
    Compare your employees' compensation and benefits packages to your peer gardens
    Please note that due to the sensitive nature of the results, only Garden Leaders (CEOs, Executive Directors, Presidents, etc.) and their designees will have access to this data.

    Your garden's specific data is private and confidential - 
    it is never shared with anyone.

    All shared results are shown as aggregate data and a minimum of five gardens are needed for any aggregate.

    Coming Soon! - Plant Conservation and Biodiversity
    Sustainability Index tools that can help your garden align with the North American Strategy for Plant Conservation and the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation.


    "Click one button and you can have your own slide deck tailored to your garden."
    - Brian Vogt, CEO, Denver Botanic Gardens

    Specialized PDF, Excel, and PowerPoint Reports for your garden.

    Three years of comprehensive information from hundreds of public gardens.

    See where your garden compares to the 25th and 75th percentiles.

    Filter your results by adjusting any of up to ten variables to match comparable gardens or create a specific peer group.

    Your garden must have entered data to have access to benchmarking results.

    Report your 2016-17 Data by July 31
    Download the Data Entry Guide
     | Start Entering Data

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software