Professional Development

The Greater Kansas City AAZK chapter frequently offers professional development opportunities for our members.  This may come in the form of outside speakers, behind-the-scenes tours, conferences and many more.  Sometimes these opportunities are also opened to non-members and the general public.

Here are some of the professional development opportunities that have been offered to our membership in recent years:

BEHIND-THE-SCENES TOUR: Kansas City Mounted Police Stables (2017)

GKC-AAZK members were treated to a special behind-the-scenes tour of the KC Mounted Police horse stables.  Members learned about the history of Mounted Police in Kansas City, as well as their impact on the safety and welfare of our community.  We met many police horses and learned about the selection, care, training and husbandry that goes into maintaining a mounted police force!  If you see a Mounted Police Officer in Kansas City, be sure to thank them for the sacrifices they make to keep us safe!

Jarrett's presentation Bee-ing the Solution is one of the special speaker series that is provided by GKC-AAZK and is open to the general public.

Jarrett will discuss his special art project Haven Hives. These special sculptures are working beehives that will eventually form a nationwide bee sanctuary. Attendees will be treated to light snacks that are Bee pollinated.  Admission is donation based, and all proceeds will go to help Haven Hives!

SAVING NIGHT FLYERS: BAT REHABILITATION (2017 & 2018, 2019)--by John Harmer and Josh Tarnowski

John & Josh's presentation Saving Night Flyers: Bat Rehabilitation is one of the special speaker series that is provided for GKC-AAZK members.  John and Josh's years of experience with caring for and rehabilitating bats will help attendees learn not only about various species of bats worldwide, but also those that live in our own backyards!  They will teach members about the importance of bat species on the environment and how bats are beneficial to humans.  They'll also share tips and advice on ways to help bats at home!

WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY 101 (2017)--by Bill Araujo

Bill Araujo's presentation Wildlife Photography 101: Tips for Taking Better Pictures, With an Emphasis on Wildlife Photography is a special treat offered by Bill for our membership.  Bill's years of experience will help everyone from amateur to expert to achieve outstanding photos of those difficult-to-photograph subjects--wildlife--in both natural and zoological settings.

Bill Araujo was a docent for more than 12 years at the KC Zoo. He currently volunteers at Ernie Miller Nature Center where he is a story teller and presents raptor and wildlife presentations. His photographs have been used and published by: The Kansas City Zoo, Ernie Miller Nature Center, the City of Overland Park, Parks and Recreation and the two Overland Park Golf Course websites.  To view more of his work and photography tips, visit his website at  

BEHIND-THE-SCENES TOUR: SEA LIFE Aquarium (2016 & 2017)
SEA LIFE Kansas City is an interactive aquarium located at the Crown Center in Kansas City, MO. The aquarium contains thousands of aquatic creatures, plus interactive touch pools and a 360° ocean tunnel. 

The staff-led behind-the-scenes tour was offered by SEA LIFE staff as part of our National Zoo Keeper Appreciation Week chapter membership events.

For more information, visit

SPEAKER: Johnson County Animal Response Team (JoCART) (2016)

Johnson County Animal Response Team (JoCART) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Johnson County, KS.  It was created to address the challenge of including pets in emergency management. By networking private and public organizations with committed individuals, JoCART can help our community respond to the needs of the animal population during disaster situations.  JoCART volunteers receive specialized training, following principles of the National Incident Management System (NIMS).

Carla Lewis, a member of JoCART, presented her talk as part of our National Zoo Keeper Appreciation Week chapter membership events.

For more information, visit


SPEAKER--Fins Attached Marine Research and Conservation (2015)

Fins Attached is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Colorado Springs, CO.  Their is to conduct research, promote conservation and provide education for the protection of marine ecosystems.   Their research--much of which takes place along the coastlines of Mexico and Costa Rica--focuses on sharks as an apex predator whose conservation impacts the entire marine ecosystems in which they thrive. 

For more information, visit