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Meeting Minutes: September 2018

NYC AAZK Meeting Minutes

Prospect Park Zoo - September 4, 2018

Prospect Park Zoo Keeper Presentation Night
- Thank you to the Prospect Park Keeper staff, especially
  Sarah Parker who helped spearhead the event!
- Four presentations were given which included topics on
  training zebu, calitrichid management, dingo introductions
  techniques, and an outline of an insect diversity study at PPZ.
- We were also shown the PPZ big headed turtle propagation area
  as well as how the insect studies are conducted.
- 20 keepers attended, included 5 from the Bronx (representing
  the Mammal, Bird and Special Animal Exhibit departments),
  3 keepers from Central Park Zoo, and 2 keepers and a vet
  tech from Queens Zoo.
- This was the first AAZK event at PPZ. This was also the first year
  that NYC AAZK has hosted events at all 5 WCS parks in one year
- We would love to continue to rotate events around between the
  different parks to help WCS keepers network and share knowledge
  with each other. Any ideas for future events would be greatly appreciated!

AAZK ideas:
- Mo from Queens: Howling for Howlers karaoke fundraiser,
  Archery for Andeans (Andean bear fundraiser)
- Mo is also trying to get Dr. Cohen, a vet who specializes in
  compassion fatigue to speak at an AAZK meeting.
- Mo also found a roller rink on Long Island that is giving away
  the chance to host a fundraiser there. We are looking into it
- Mo also has a contact that works with the Turtle Survival Alliance
  that might come talk to our AAZK chapter about opportunities to
  receive grants to do field work.
- John from Central Park would like to look into hosting a Pints for Penguins
  event, and also explore if there is a central meeting area for events
  that are convenient to the different WCS parks.
- As always, NYC AAZK wants to hear your ideas! Want to host an event,
  organize a group clean up or fundraiser, let us know and we can help
  you facilitate the event! We would love to have keepers from around the
  different WCS parks participate and organize events around the city.

Upcoming AAZK Events:

Women's Leadership Meeting
  - Tuesday September 18th, Bronx Zoo
  - The WCS Women's Leadership Group wants to hear from WCS female keeper
    staff about their thoughts & opinions on what its like to work for WCS, and to have
    keeper voices included in the ongoing Women's Leadership discussions.
  - The meeting will be held at the Bronx Zoo. If anyone from the other parks
    would like to participate, let us know and we will figure out a way to get
    you involved in the meeting.

3rd Annual Croctoberfest
 - Date to be announced, Gun Hill Brewery
 - Looking into getting beer glasses & possibly T-shirts this year
 - Supports WCS Crocodilian conservation projects

Alamo Drafthouse Night
  - November date to be announced
  - We will be renting out a 25 seat theater at the Alamo in Yonkers and
    watching a newly released film.

Dr. Conway lecture
  - Date to be announced
  - He will be discussing his long and influential history with WCS

December AAZK Election:
- Interested in getting more involved in shaping NYC AAZK?
  We are always looking for eager, enthusiastic people to join the
  exec team! If you have any questions about any of the positions, please let
  us know. 

Meeting Minutes: August 2018

New York Aquarium: 8/24/2018 

National Zoo Keeper Week:
- Thank you to all who gave keeper chats throughout the week
- Several keepers also wrote Wild View Blogs, and zoo keeper
  related blogs for the WCS blog site
- We made $1300 from our silent auction, which helps to cover
  chapter expenses, and can be utilized for future travel grants 

Queens Bat Walk:
- Special thanks to Colleen McCann, Mike Wrubel and Craig Gibbs
  for taking us around the Queens Zoo for a bat survey
- 12 AAZK members attended the bat walk 
- There was a ton of great bat activity, and a special bat detector app
  allowed us to identity each species, see the sound waves for each
  call, and hear the calls as well

Bowling for Rhinos:
- We made over $3500 and had 85 people were in attendance!
- The variety of events was a big hit, especially laser tag
- Thank you to Lauren Del Grosso organizing the event!
- Next year we will strive to have optional timed events so that there are
  group laser tag, ping pong, bowling sessions, etc
- Any other suggestions on how we can improve the event for next year
  would be greatly appreciated. 

New York Aquarium Night:
- Special thanks to the New York Aquarium staff, especially our tour guide
  Cris Silva for providing us with a behind the scenes tour of Ocean Wonders!
- 15 AAZK members attended the event, including representatives from
  the Bronx, Central Park and Queens Zoos. 

Bee Garden;
- Lauren Del Grosso would like to propose setting up a bee garden near
  the dump at the Bronx Zoo to attract bees, and help them as they
  continue to suffer from continued colony collapses

Upcoming AAZK Events:
Prospect Park Zoo Presentation Night
  - Tuesday September 4, 2018
  - PPZ keepers will be presenting about training, enrichment and will 
    give us the latest updates from PPZ
  - Pizza will be served

Women's Leadership Group Meeting
  - Date TBD in September
  - The WCS Women's Leadership Group is partnering with NYC AAZK
     and would like to hear from WCS female keepers about their views of
     working for WCS

3rd Annual Croctoberfest
  - Date TBD in October
  - Come out to to Gunhill Brewery to support WCS's crocodilian
    conservation efforts!

3rd Annual Alamo Drafthouse Night
 - November, after the switch over to winter hours
 - We will be renting out a private 25 seat theater at the Alamo
   Drafthouse in Yonkers to watch a newly released film

As always, and thoughts, or suggestions for future events would be
greatly appreciated! Want to host a fundraiser, organize a volunteer outing
or simply get more involved in AAZK? We will help facilitate any events
and ideas that are brought forward!

Meeting Minutes: September 2017

NYC AAZK Meeting Minutes: September 22, 2017 – Congo Movie Theatre, Bronx Zoo

In attendance: Gabrielle Rosato, Jessica Chin, Brent Atkinson, Joe Borsellino, Omara Aviles, Joe Nappi
                           Carolyn Rezckalla, Guests: Sol (FOZ) + Guest, Leanne

National Zoo Keeper Week:
- Thank you to all the keepers and staff that helped out to make this event a success!
- New Social Media glasses utilized to present keeper stories, great reception
- Silent Auction in new location in Schiff Hall made approximately $1000 for the chapter

Bowling for Rhinos:
- $2,500 profit for the event
- Our overhead is eating into a lot of our profits. New ideas for next year? New location?
- Extra Special thanks to Amy for stepping in to head Bowling for Rhinos after Taylor left WCS
- Thank you to Sarah, and all the volunteers that helped out the night of the event!

Hurricane Relief Movie Night Fundraiser:
- $300 raised, which will be donated to AZA’s Hurricane Harvey & Irma Employee Relief Fud
- This money will help out zoo staff affected by the hurricanes in Texas and Florida
- Thank you to all who came out to the movie night and helped raise money!

Upcoming Events:
Thursday October 12: Beach Clean-up
    - Orchard Beach. Planning being coordinated by Lauren Del Grosso
Thursday October 19: Croctoberfest
     - Gunhill Brewery. Planning being coordinated by Reptile Department
Monday November 13: Alamo Drafthouse Movie Night (tentative date)
     - Movie selection to be voted on (need to pick a movie already out on DVD to keep the cost down)
     - 26 seat theatre will be rented out exclusively for AAZK
December: AAZK Executive Team Elections
     - We have several positions opening up this year. Think about running! Our team will guide you!
     - We will need a new treasurer and secretary this upcoming year

2017 Donations to Date:
 - $300 to Trees for You and Me reforestation campaign
 - $300 to AZA Hurricane Relief Fund
 - $360 to the Foundation for the Conservation of Salamanders
 - $500 to WCS Pakistan Program
 - $2,565 Bowling for Rhinos Fund

Meeting Minutes: May 2017

NYC AAZK Meeting:  Friday May 5, 2017 Flaherty Learning Center

In attendance: Kenny, Brent, Joe B., Mike, Gabi, Aniko, Amy, Lisa, Carolyn, Joe N, Paid Members: Michelle M., Aniko T., Niya C., Lauren F., Joe N., Brittney M., Elizabeth M., Taylor R.

Member dues:
$15 members of AAZK national $25 for non national members
Benefits: discounts on Bowling for Rhinos, access to applying for the annual Travel Grant, chapter voting
There are currently 10 members

Ice Skating fundraiser:
Yonkers Murray Memorial Skating Rink
$300 raised for Trees for you and me reforestation program
16 people in attendance

Regional Symposium:
130 representing 27 different facilities in attendance!
Dessert Plastics, Bogs Boots and Blunderstone boot door prizes
Special thanks to all of the keepers that gave tours, animal department managers for helping to facilitate the
    event, Randi Winter for designing our custom made map and providing TEX tickets, Joe Padilla from IT for
   all his assistance, Priscilla and the Events team for setting up Schiff Hall, Kimio Honda and the EGAD
   department for our awesome symposium sign design, Pat Thomas for giving the opening remarks, and Jim
   Breheny for his support.
Thank you to our volunteers that came in to help run the event on their day off: Lisa Walker, Amy Golden,
    Aniko Totha, Gabrielle Rosata, Brent Atkinson, Taylor Ritz, Joe Nappi and Mike Masiello
Approximately $1,400 in profit
Behind the Scenes Tours: World of Birds, Aquatic Birds, Hospital, Congo, Madagascar, Reptile House
Keeper demos and talks: Bat training/Bug room, Giraffe training, Tiger demo, Gelada talk

Cinco de Salamander:
Thank you Carolyn for the amazing decorations!
17 people in attendance
$360 made which will be donated to the Foundation for the Conservation of Salamanders Upcoming:

National Zookeeper Week:
looking for committee volunteers
3rd week of July
Social media outreach, education stations and games for the public, keeper chats, AAZK Silent Auction

Travel Grant:
$1000 annual professional development grant
Deadline Aug 1st

Bat Survey:
More info to follow Bat Surveying
Talking to Colleen McCann about AAZK assisting in collecting bat data at the Bronx Zoo over the summer.

Bowling for Rhinos:
Thank you Taylor Ritz for heading up the committee!
Bowlero Alley in Woodside, Queens
Deposit approved by members
Monday August 14th  Need volunteers to help get auction items and help with setup the day of. Ideas for

Future Event Ideas:
Paint night
Obstacle course
Alamo Drafthouse event
Summer Video Games Night
Hose to Habitat Workshop

Meeting Minutes: January 2017

NYC AAZK Meeting – January 30, 2017

In attendance: Carolyn Rezkalla, Leela Samaroo, Michelle Blatz, Brent Atkinson, Leah Simoncek, Joe Borsellino, Tim Mohl, Nyssa Turner, Elizabeth Mills, Alyssa May, Amy Golden, Maryellen Constantino, Heather Tassler, Vanessa Jones, Taylor Ritz, Lauren DelGrosso, Bill Doyle, Lisa Walker, Joe Nappi

2017 NYC AAZK Exec Team:
Joe Nappi – President, Lisa Walker – New Vice President, Avi Shuter – Secretary, Amy Golden – Treasurer

2016 Year in Review:

March Ice Skating Conservation Fundraiser: $777 Trees for You and Me reforestation project
May Cinco de Rhino: $670 (put towards Bowling for Rhinos fund)
May Rented out private theatre at the Alamo Drafthouse
National Zoo Keeper Week Silent Auction: $1,600 (successful keeper chats, social media presence)
August Bronx River Alliance volunteering to clean up river
August Bowling for Rhinos: $7,000, 175 people attended
September Paint Night Fundraiser: $300 Baton Rouge Zoo keeper flood relief
Croctoberfest: $1,300 raised WCS Crocodilian conservation projects. Over 70 people attended

Dues: $15 members of AAZK National, $25 for non-national members
- Benefits: Access to $1000 annual Travel Grant, discounts for AAZK events, voting on AAZK business,
  priority reservations for upcoming Regional Symposium

- We would like to make AAZK as inclusive as possible, and have people participate  to whatever level
 they are most comfortable. Help shape the future of our chapter by joining one of our committees, or
 by organizing your own event.
- Interested in organizing a particular volunteer outing? Want to raise money for a specific conservation
 issue, animal or other cause? Reach out to us and we’ll help you organize your event!

Committees: Inquire at if you are interested in joining a committee!
Travel Grant: Review annual travel grant applications
Conservation Committee: Help steer the chapter’s volunteering and fundraising efforts
World Animal Days: Help organize keeper talks and events revolving around World Animal Days
National Zoo Keeper Week: Join the committee to help put together this signature event.
Bowling for Rhinos – Spearhead organizing AAZK’s largest annual fundraiser

Animal Planet ‘Unofficial Premiere’
  - 50/50 Raffle to benefit NYC AAZK
  - Be sure to RSVP whether you are going or not to allow other zoo departments to be invited should
   space permit.

th Annual Northeast Regional Symposium:
- Wednesday April 26, 2017 at the Bronx Zoo
- Up to 150 keepers will be admitted into the event
- 30 spots to be reserved for WCS keepers, with priority being given to NYC AAZK members
- Free zoo admission and parking for non WCS keepers
- Behind the Scenes tours will be offered during the day
- 15 keeper presentations in the evening, with a one hour pizza dinner break during the session
- March 1
st: Deadline to submit presentation abstracts to for review
- Flaherty Learning Center will be utilized for the presentations
- Possible silent auction/other fundraising options during the event to raise additional money
- Funds from the symposium will go towards hosting a larger national AAZK conference down the road
- Suggestion (Vanessa Jones ) highlighting squeezes/enrichment at Bronx, encouraging keepers from
  other zoos to bring photos of their zoo -equipment, enrichment, etc.
- AAZK exec team will be setting up an interdepartmental meeting to help organize the event
- We are looking for keepers that are off Wednesdays to volunteer to help run the event

Chapter Fundraising Ideas:
Ostrich eggs/Peacock feathers
Enrichment at Home packet
Honey from World Birds

Up and Coming Events (all event dates not yet finalized):
Enrichment Night with Families
Ice Skating
Alamo Drafthouse Night
Cinco de Salamander Fundraiser
March Members Meeting

Meeting Minutes: August 2016

NYC AAZK General Meeting Minutes:
- Tuesday August 2, 2016
  Bronx Zoo – Dancing Crane Outdoor Seating

Present: E. Mowatt, A. Shuter, M. Blatz, J. Elkins, A. Armstrong, M. Medina, L. Simoncek,
K. Jones, H. Tassler, N. Turner, and J. Nappi (phone).

National Zoo Keeper Week
- Overall, the week was very successful and keepers were pleased with signage and help from
  the Education Department.
-Staff was curious about why Takeover posts were altered to use just three posts per keeper
-Idea was proposed for next year: that several WCS keepers be introduced daily throughout
 nzkw, rather than following one keeper per day.
- A meeting will be set up with Randi & Melissa to discuss the successes and areas of
 improvement for next year

Silent Auction:
- Approximately $1,600 made at the auction!
- Next auction will take place during the Holiday Season

Bowling for Rhinos:
- Buy your tickets! Visit the NYC AAZK website for purchase
- Monday August 15th
- Erin recruited a few people to volunteer setting up for the event.

Bronx River Alliance Clean-up:
- Joe met with Joseph Sanchez, outreach coordinator & Michelle Luebke, ecology director
- Monday August 8th Bronx River Clean-up
- There was interest in the field trip though not many solid commitments yet.
- The Alliance is very excited to meet with our chapter, and is planning future projects with us.
- Looking into a fall invasive plant removal project & future river clean-up events

Paint Bar Night:
- September: Location is still TBD.

- Beer drinking for croc fundraising at Gun Hill Brewery – Chinese Alligators

Family Keeper Presentation & Enrichment Night:
- Still looking for a time… likely in November
- Elizabeth Mills is spear heading this event.

- Holiday Silent Auction

Travel Grant Report:
-Michelle Medina – Felid Tag overview (recipient of $1000 AAZK Travel Grant)
-Conference dealt mainly with safety. Relied heavily on the book “Emotional Intelligence 2.0.”
-Michelle stressed that keepers should be alert when unlocking locks (“Your keys are a loaded
 weapon”), and shouldn’t be afraid to ask colleagues for help or support. Just Cause was also
 discussed, i.e. the difference between intentional and unintentional mistakes.

Safety Drills:
-Keepers expressed significant concern about a lack of knowledge of what to do during
emergencies (animal escapes, active shooter situations, etc.), and requested a conversation with Admin about increasing occurrence of drills.

Meeting Minutes: May 2016

May 27, 2016
In attendance:
Members: Joe Nappi, Erin Mowatt, Amy Golden, Heather Tassler, Elizabeth Mills, Joe Borsellino, Michelle Medina, Brent Atkinson, Nyssa Turner (new member!)
Non-members: Amanda Scherer, Juliet Elkins

Food: Thank you Brent Atkinson for the delicious fudge treats at the meeting!

Fundraiser/Event Summaries:

- March Ice Skating Conservation Fundraiser
       . $777 Raised for Trees for You and Me (voted by AAZK members)
         (Reforestation campaign through AAZK & Polar Bears International)
       . 32 people attended

- Cinco de Rhino
       . $670 raised that will be added to our Bowling for Rhinos Fund (BFR)
       . Raffle items and key chains sold. Key chains were a big hit and will continue to be sold at BFR
       . 36 people attended including Jim Breheny, Pat Thomas, Colleen McCann and Craig Piper
       . There will be alcohol next year
       . Cinco de Rhino was organized mostly to be a fun social event, but also help boost our BFR sales due
         to the large overhead costs for the event. We are looking into fundraisers for other taxa as well.

- May AAZK Movie Night (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
       . Rented our own private 24 seat theatre at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Yonkers
       . 19 people attended
       . Social event

Travel Grant Update:
- Congratulations to Michelle Medina who was awarded $1000 to attend the advanced Felid Conference
   in Denver. She will give a trip report at a future meeting

World Animal Day Update: Jen Loveless
       . Cinco de Rhino – event went well and incorporated a variety of departments such as public
         programming, EGAD, social media, the FOZ and media services.
               - Posters from the event that have messages written by zoo guests for rhino protection unit
                 rangers will be sent out into the field. We have an additional poster to be signed by zoo staff
                 that will go over as well.
       . World Giraffe Day – event is organized. Will be held in mid-June. Look for info about Jen’s California
         Pizza Kitchen giraffe fundraiser in the near future.
       . Future World Animal Days – International Tiger Day (hope to focus on palm oil and incorporate bird
         and reptile departments), October – Bat, Rat & Vulture Days.
        . Randi Winter is working to streamline these events so that we can easily host World Animal Day
         keeper chats throughout the year that will have signage and social media coverage.

Bowling for Rhinos Update: Amy Golden
       . Deposit to rent out the bowling alley was put
       . Ticket sales about to go live
       . Michelle Medina will be updating the BFR portion of our website. There will be a donation button
         on the revamped web page with the ability for donors to indicate which bowler they are sponsoring
       . The Event will be held Monday August 15
       . Pushing for personal pledges (Every $25 raised gets you a raffle ticket to submit for a grand prize)
             *If you have any suggestions for grand prizes that would be more suitable for keeper staff, please            
               let us know.
       . Suggestion: Jamberry: Custom nail fundraising (referencing that the keratin that makes up rhino
         horn is the same substance that makes up our fingernails) (suggested by Elizabeth Mills)
       . It should be noted that BFR supports a wide variety of other species beyond just rhinos, including the reptiles, birds, invertebrates,
         mammals, plant life and human communities that live in and around rhino habitat in Africa and Asia. This fundraiser helps to connect the
         various animal departments in WCS with a common cause that benefits many of the taxa we work with on a daily basis.

National Zoo Keeper Week Update: Heather Tassler
       . Zoo Keeper Social Media Take-over (9 to 10 keepers from the different departments/parks)
       . Education (activity center for kids around Dancing Crane. Diet prep station, Pool skimmer
         station, Dress like a keeper station, etc. Adult station to be considered)
       . Formal advertised keeper chats
       . Roving keeper informal keeper chats during a designated hour each day

Calendar Updates:
- AAZK is looking into a variety of fun social activities/fundraisers for the remainder of the year, such as…
        . Summer Games Night (projectors to hook gaming systems up/Board Games in Congo (June)
        . Summer bat walk at the Bronx or Queens Zoo (late summer/early fall)
        . Chopsticks for Salamanders fundraiser
        . Bronx River Volunteer Clean-up (looking into collaborating with Bronx River Alliance)
        . Kingfisher ‘Buy a Feather’ fundraiser in Staff CafĂ©
        . Paint Bar Night Fundraiser (Fall)
        . Croctober Fundraiser for Chinese Alligators in October
        . Enrichment Bonanza with Families
        . Keeper Presentation Night
        . Any suggestions? Send in your suggestions to

Logo Contest Design Unveiling: Voting to be conducted via Facebook Online Voting
- See attached pictures of the submitted logos.
- Members will vote online for their favorite submission. Members will receive an email when voting goes live.
- Thank you to all that submitted! Submissions by Joe Nappi, Joe Borsellino and Danielle Taylor (PPZ)