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Tips for Submitting

It's important that your submission is well thought out, complete, and thorough.  The information below will help guide you with your submission.

Before you submit your proposal, be sure to check out the list of Hot Topics submitted by AZA members and the Annual Conference Program Committee.  And be sure, whenever possible, your proposal includes both zoological and aquarium perspectives, as well as a diversity in institutional size, region, and budget.

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Submission Formats

  1. Program Session - 90 minute time slot, which can be formatted in a variety of different presentation styles; AZA encourages unique and different presentation styles, including, but not limited to:
    • Moderated Panel Discussion - Three to four individual speaker presentations around a similar topic, developed with a moderator introducing and concluding the various speakers. Question and answer at the conclusion is encouraged to be built into the session time. 
    • Collaborative Discussion - Attendees are actively encouraged to participate in the discussion, led by a moderator and possible speakers. May be in the form of roundtables topics.
    • Point-Counterpoint Panel - Moderated discussion focused on various sides of a topic, which may or may not include presentations.
    • Conversation Starter - Moderator is prepared to facilitate an open discussion along a particular topic. They begin with a 5 minute intro of the topic or sides of the topic, then opens to the audience for interactive discussion.
    • PechaKucha 20x20 and IGNITE - Simple presentation formats combining a number of images, times with presenter comments, each for 20 seconds. The images advance automatically and you talk along to the images.
  2. Individual Paper - selected individual papers will be combined with similar papers to form a complete 90 minute session or will be asked to present a Poster Presentation; Individual submitters are encouraged to connect with their fellow zoo and aquarium colleagues to submit a full session proposal.  If you need help connecting with other submitters on a similar topic, please contact the appropriate Annual Conference Program Committee members for assistance and guidance:
  3. Poster Presentation - well suited for presentations of complex and technical methods and/or results
    • Poster presentations allow the audience more time to digest complex information and promote discussion between presenters and their audience. Posters typically reach a wider audience than short talks because they are on display for several days following the formal poster session.
    • Poster Presentations that are accepted must be on display in the Exhibit Hall by 9:30 am on Saturday, September 19th.  Authors must be registered attendees and be present at the Poster Reception on Sunday evening, September 20th.  This will give poster presenters an opportunity to discuss their work or findings with conference attendees.
    • Be sure to read even more information about Poster Presentations.


These tracks organize sessions by like areas of interest.  They do no preclude attendees from considering sessions outside of their identified track.  Attendees are encouraged to review all sessions across all tracks.

 Animal Management & Welfare                Education
 Aquarium Affairs                                       Public Relations & Marketing
 Business Operations                                Volunteer & Docent Management
 Conservation                                           &More
 Development & Membership
Proposals that are accepted will be scheduled in a 90 minute time slot on Saturday, September 19th, Sunday, September 20th, or Monday, September 21st.  If you have a schedule conflict with any of these dates, be sure to make a note in your submission.  The Committee will do its best to accommodate schedule conflicts, but once your session is accepted and put on the schedule, it cannot be changed.

The Annual Conference Program Committee reserves the right to modify submissions including adding or deleting speakers. Moderators will be consulted before any changes to their submission are made final. Moderators must be aware of the AZA membership requirements for speakers (see below).

Role of the Moderator

The moderator is involved in planning and executing the entire session.  They are the main point of contact with AZA staff. Please read the Responsibilities of Moderators for detailed descriptions of the moderator's role.

Once a session is accepted, the moderator is responsible for confirming all participants based on guidelines and deadlines set forth by AZA. If any speaker withdraws, the moderator must notify the Annual Conference Program Committee and submit a replacement candidate to the committee or the session will be subject to cancellation. Please note that all speaker changes are subject to approval by the Annual Conference Program Committee.

Registration and Membership Requirements

All speakers at the Annual Conference must be registered to attend, either for the full conference or the day on which they are speaking.  Registration categories and rates are determined by the membership status at the time in which the conference is held.

It is the preference of AZA that all speakers within the zoo and aquarium profession be AZA members in good standing, or represent an AZA-accredited institution. Membership status does not guarantee acceptance or rejection of a presentation.

It is required that all speakers and attendees of the conference who represent commercial entities (i.e. providers of products or services and/or consulting) within the zoo and aquarium profession, be AZA Commercial Members in good standing, and/or participating at the conference by exhibiting or sponsoring.

AZA and the Annual Conference Program Committee would also like to encourage the participation of individuals from outside of the zoo or aquarium industry. In the case of individuals from outside of the industry, registration may be waived for the day. It is the role of the moderator to receive an exception from AZA for registration to be waived for those individuals who do not work in the zoo or aquarium industry, but have valuable experience and information to share.

Presentations must be educational in nature and not actively promote any particular product, service, brand, or company.

For more information on becoming a member of AZA, please contact AZA's Membership Services Department.

For information on how to become an exhibitor or sponsor, please contact Gina Velosky.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Be sure to check out the FAQs for answers to questions regarding the Call for Papers process and AZA policies.

Submit Your Proposal

After you have read all the above information, please use the Call for Papers Submission Form to submit your proposal.  All proposals must be submitted using the online form.

Call for Papers Service Center - Proposals can be saved in the system and returned to at a later date before submitting.  Submit your basic information and click the "Save and Edit Later" button on the review screen.  You will be emailed your Call for Papers Service Center login information immediately.  Be sure to log into the Call for Papers Service Center to submit your proposal by Friday, April 17th, 5:00 pm Eastern, otherwise your proposal will not be reviewed.

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