Questions? Email us at or contact an officer or facility liaison.

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)

Meeting Minutes: March 2016

NYC AAZK Meeting: Friday March 18, 2016
Bronx Zoo Curator’s Room

In Attendance:
Joe Nappi, Erin Mowatt, Amy Golden, Juliet Elkins, Amanda Scherer, Brent Atkinson, Heather Tassler, Bonnie Glover, Mary Gremler, Elizabeth Mills, Kevin Hills, Mike McCue, Erin Minnock, Amanda Hackett, Aniko Totha, Taylor Ritz, Michelle Medina, Jen Loveless, Joe Borsellino, Sara Koplish, Nyssa Turner, Jessica Chin. (We currently have approximately 12 members, 10 present at meeting)

Treasurer’s Report: Amy
- Re-charter successfully submitted
- Dues $15 for members of National AAZK, $25 for people that are not a national member
Bowling for Rhinos: Amy Golden
- Monday August 15th tentatively scheduled
- Same bowling alley as last year in Queens
- Second bar tender requested
Grant Committee:
- Members present at the meeting  voted for the April 1st deadline to remain for 2016 and for the
  deadline to be moved to August 1st starting in 2017 to coincide with the awarding of AEP grants.
- Grant applications available at
Cinco de Rhino:
- Looking into catering Mexican food in Flaherty and have attendees pay a nominal fee for entrance to
  the event
- This will help jump start our Bowling for Rhinos fundraising campaign
Logo Contest:
- Criteria: NYC themed, animals representing our various parks/depts, must say New York City AAZK
- Joe Borsellino’s dad is a graphic artist. Can transfer and enhance sketches to the computer.
- Deadline May 1st
Ice Skating Fundraiser:
- Sunday March 20th, 5:20-7:20 pm
- Murray Memorial Skating Rink, Yonkers
- $20, paid at the door. Each guest will receive a ticket that they will redeem at the skate rental desk
- We are getting a group discount. Half of your admission price will go to conservation
- Pitches made for what conservation group we want to support
       . Cheetah Conservation Fund – Jessica Chin
       . Jane Goodall’s Roots & Chutes – Juliet Elkins
       . Polar Bear International – Jen Loveless
       . Trees for You and Me (collaboration between AAZK & Polar Bear International) – Joe Nappi
- Members voted for Trees for You and Me to be the recipient of our Ice Skating money. There is a
  competition amongst all AAZK chapters to raise the most money for Trees for You and Me
National Zoo Keeper Week:
- Saturday July 16th through Sunday July 24th
- Keeper Gift: What should it be? Should we do one? Heather brought a catalog to the meeting
   - Gift ideas: beer glasses, tote bag w/ Nalgene, gift that supports a conservation group, etc.
   - Traditionally have spent $600-800 per year on past gifts
   - Should we have a special gifts for members of AAZK?
   - We will vote at a future meeting if we want to put up funds for buying gifts

Social Media:
 -Wild View Blogs: try to get keepers from the different parks. Posts for every day of National Zoo Keeper
  Week. Let us know if you are potentially interested in contributing.
- Twitter Take-over
- Roving keepers during a particular hour each day. Stand in front of your favorite animal. Informal chats
- Keeper hourly posts on social media “Day in the life of a keeper.” All posts will be written in advance
  with an accompanying photo and will be posted throughout the day by social media.

National Zoo Keeper Week Interdepartmental meeting tentatively scheduled for April 9th.
Melissa Nelson Training & Enrichment Newsletter
 - AEP Grant summaries a potential feature of the newsletters
 - Training and enrichment stories.
 - Let us/Melissa know if you are interested in contributing
AAZK Craft Fair: Elizabeth Mills
  - Craft fair could be instead of and/or during traditional AAZK Silent Auctions
  - Donors/AAZK would benefit from items sold (split the profits, most of which would go to the donor.
    encourage more participation in donating/get more items for auctions).
  - Survey of interest to be sent out
Committee Sign-ups:
- Bowling for Rhinos: Cindy Maur, Amy Golden
    . New sign-ups: Brent Atkinson, Bonnie Glover, Sara Koplish, Amanda Hackett
- National Zoo Keeper Week: Cindy Maur, Heather Tassler, Lisa Walker, Avi Shuter, Erin Mowatt, Joe N.
    . New sign-ups: Brent Atkinson, Elizabeth Mills, Erin Minnock, Amanda Hackett
- Travel Grant Committee: Joe Nappi
    . New sign-ups: Brent Atkinson, Bonnie Glover, Aniko Totha
- Conservation Committee/World Animal Days
    . New committee to help steer AAZK conservation fundraisers/volunteering/World Animal Day events
    . Sign-ups: Joe Nappi, Erin Mowatt, Elizabeth Mills, Jen Loveless
- Enrichment Bonanza: Elizabeth Mills (pushing for keeper families to be involved this year)
    . New sign-ups: Brent Atkinson
Next AAZK Meeting Tentatively Scheduled for the end of May…
  - We are looking into an after hours social event for April (movie night, guest lecturer, etc.)
       . Let us know if you have ideas! 

Meeting Minutes: February 2016

NYC AAZK Meeting
  - February 22, 2016, Bronx Zoo Curator's Room

President: Joe Nappi, Vice President: Erin Mowatt, Secretary: Avi Shuter, Treasurer: Amy Golden 

Attended by: Erin Mowatt, Joe Nappi, Avi Shuter, Ken Huth, Lisa Walker, Taylor Ritz, Kevin Hils, Leela Tamero, Mike McCue, Erin Minnock, Gabrielle Rosato, Elizabeth Mills, Brent Atkinson, Joe Borsellino, Jen Loveless, Amy Golden, Vanessa Jones, Michelle Blatz, Alisha Mendez, Bonnie Glover, Rebecca Mitchell, Brianna Ogas, Heather Tassler, Linda Edge, Nyssa Turner, Tim Mohl, Bill Doyle, Amanda Hackett 

Themes of 2016: Communication, Collaboration & Conservation
  - We want to make for a chapter that internally communicates better, as well as better
    communicates with non-members
  - We want to make for a more socially cohesive chapter, as well as collaborate with different
    departments around the Bronx Zoo
  - We want to support more conservation projects through volunteer efforts and fundraising

Goals for 2016:
  - Refocus our efforts on the Bronx Zoo
  - Mini open forums with different departments? (social media, sustainability, fundraising)
  - Social events with a cause:
        . Ice Skating, March
        . Cinco de Rhino, May
        . Paint bar night, Fall
  - Volunteering/Conservation
        . Bronx river clean-up
        . Summer Bat walk
  - Social Games night, Summer
  - Keeper presentation night in Fall

Ice Skating Fundraiser
   - Murray Memorial Skating Rink in Yonkers
   - $20, half goes t
o conservation, half to rink. We will pay as one big group to get a discounted price
   - Ideas/vote for what conservation groups we want to support
   - Date: Sunday March 20th, 5:20-7:30 PM

Committee Reports:

- Bowling for Rhinos. We need your help!
   . Same location
   . Looking for more parking options with local restaurant
   . Bigger push for non-zoo staff bowlers so buy tickets early
   . Almost sold out all 35 lanes last year with approx. 250 bowlers. Made over $6,000 in 2015!
   . Looking at adding a second bar tender as well as smoother pizza distribution
   . Most of the work is done. Need help getting raffle prizes, corporate donors
        - template letter already made
        - Need help at the door for the event
   . WCS Indonesia works in rhino range areas

National Zoo Keeper Week: Cindy, Avi, Lisa & Heather
  - Planning starts this month, so it’s not too late to get involved
  - This will be a collaboration with ALL departments at the Bronx Zoo, so this is an excellent
    opportunity to either network or get a better understanding of how events work at the zoo
  - Let us know if there are any particular animals you would like to give a keeper chat for!

Travel Grant Committee
  - changing the submission date to late summer to coincide with AEP grant and the fact that there are
    more conferences in the fall
  - There is a $1000 grant given out to advance the ideals of AAZK (professional development,
    conservation work, research, etc.). There is an additional AAZK National Conference Grant to help
    cover registration fees as well
  - Anyone interested in being on committee?

World Animal Days:
  - Discussed the prospect of starting a committee to oversee hosting world animal day events through the year

Closing Message:
- Thank you for all that attended our open forum. It was a great success and a lot of great conversation were held.
  We are looking into hosting similar forums at the other WCS parks.
- We appreciated everyone that attended this meeting! We had a record crowd.
- Our next meeting will be held at the end of March.
- Please let us know if you are interested in joining one of our committees (Bowling for Rhinos, National Zoo Keeper Week, Travel Grant)

We want to hear from you!!! Now is your chance to have your voice heard and shape the future momentum of this chapter!

Non-Members AAZK Survey

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