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San Diego Zoo Global Academy, October 2018. Photo male orangutan.

Announcing a New Course:
Neonatal Mammal Care, Part 1

In this century, the loss of habitat worldwide and the resulting extinctions of vertebrate species will have a dramatic impact on zoo professionals. The animals managed in the zoos of the future will become increasingly rare, and more biologically important than ever before. In this environment, neonatal caregivers are certain to be at the center of 21st century zoos' mission to save species from extinction.

As in the past, the specialty of neonatal care will continue to be important, but it will be different in at least two ways. With advancements in animal science and early diagnostics, the need for assisted neonatal care will become less frequent—but when required, it is likely to be more urgent. Advanced planning will be crucial, because in the emerging global environment, when the need for assisted neonatal care does arise, the successful outcome will be more important to the species as a whole than ever before. Thoughtful, early preparation for urgent neonatal care will be critical to better ensure successful outcomes.

This new Academy course was authored by six highly skilled specialists in neonatal mammal care, comprising over 160 years of combined professional experience in the field. The course is fascinating, skillfully organized, detailed, and, I believe, certain to become one of the Academy's most important repositories of specialized information about zoological animal management. Neonatal Mammal Care, Part 1 is the latest addition to the Academy's series of intermediate courses. Part 2 is currently being developed and is scheduled to launch in 2019. The knowledge gained from Part 1 will be prerequisite to taking Part 2. Part 1 establishes a general foundation for neonatal mammal care, focusing primarily on hoofstock and featuring topics that include:

  • The evolution of neonatal mammal care
  • Developing birth management plans
  • The initial assessment
  • The neonatal physical exam
  • Neonatal immunity
  • Care techniques across taxa
  • Feeding considerations and formulas
  • Behavior and introductions.

Part 1 includes a Resources Section, complete with a template for developing an advance birth management plan (as well as several complete examples), steps in the initial assessment, multiple vendor websites for hard-to-find supplies, as well as several other related documents.

To view a sample of the new neonates course, please click here.

For questions related to this article, please contact Gary Priest, San Diego Zoo Global Academy, at gpriest@sandiegozoo.org.


Academy News

The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee logoSan Diego Zoo Global Academy Puts the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee in the Spotlight
The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee is part of the Academy's collaborative learning environment!


Administrator's Users Group Webinar                 
Please join us for the Administrator's Users Group Webinar, hosted by Academy partner CypherWorx. The next webinar is Wednesday, October 17, at 11 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time (PDT).

Register for this webinar here.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.


Revised Great Apes Course: Now in Three Parts

Interpreters, educators, docents, and guides have a new way to gain mastery of information about the great apes. We've taken the original course material and segmented it into three separate modules. Learners can do one, two, or all three. The shorter modules, each with a narrower scope, allow for a more focused approach to the material.

Great Apes 1 covers the physical characteristics, distribution, and habitats of the great apes, and it prepares the learner for the second module. Great Apes 2 covers great ape ecology and behavior. Great Apes 3 includes information on great ape reproduction and conservation. Each module has its own mastery test, and, like the original course, each module includes abundant photos, video, and self-assessment.

Another benefit of the Great Apes series is that it is designed in a new format that will run on your desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or even your phone—anywhere you have an internet connection! We're excited to share these newly formatted courses with you at San Diego Zoo Global Academy. Look for a new three-part Reptiles series, which will be posted by the end of this year.

To view a sample of the newly revised Great Apes course (now three modules), please click here.

For questions related to this article, please contact Donna Parham, San Diego Zoo Global, at dparham@sandiegozoo.org.

Academy Contributors

How to Build a Storytelling Culture in Six Not-so-easy Steps

By Andy Goodman, Director, The Goodman Center

In February, we introduced Andy Goodman of The Goodman Center as a new contributor. As a refresher, here are links to February, April, and July issues of the newsletter containing his articles.
SDZG Academy Newsletter Archive

Over the last two decades, I have worked with many organizations—nonprofits, foundations, government agencies, and corporations—that have made a serious commitment to storytelling. The Environmental Defense Fund, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Nurse-Family Partnership, Bank of America, and San Diego Zoo Global are just a few such organizations that have taken deliberate steps toward building a storytelling culture. Not every one of these organizations has completed all six of the steps outlined below, but they are well on their way. If your organization is ready to get serious about storytelling, the pathway, while not easy, is clear.

1. Get buy-in from the top. Real cultural change won't happen if the leadership doesn't embrace it, and when I talk to organizations about building a storytelling culture, I ask for this first and foremost. The Nurse-Family Partnership is an evidence-based program that has generated reams of data verifying its positive impact on young families. Little wonder, then, that stories usually took a back seat to numbers in organizational communications. But when Dr. David Olds, NFP's founder—and a self-confessed devotee of data—began incorporating stories in his presentations, that sent a powerful message, and one look at NFP's website today will show you how much the organization has come to value storytelling.

2. Ring the bell. There has to be an explicit signal to the troops that says, "We're doing this," and it cannot be as mundane as an organization-wide email—not when your goal is real culture change. One of the first nonprofits that I helped navigate a deep dive into storytelling was the Environmental Defense Fund, and they began the process at a full-staff retreat involving over 250 people from regional offices across the United States. Everyone, from the president to the receptionists—and yes, even the guys in IT—participated. EDF also published a booklet, "Staff Told Tales," to memorialize a dozen of the most powerful stories shared at the retreat.

3. Everyone plays. A storytelling culture is not just for the leaders or the people whose job title has "communications" or "marketing" in it. Everyone has to be involved, because you never know when someone from your team will have to answer the question, "And just what does your organization do?" Conducting a storytelling workshop for the entire staff as EDF did is a good beginning, and when I began working with the San Diego Zoo, the leadership made sure that tour guides, keepers, docents, and even staff from the Zoo's shops participated.

4. Make it a habit. Storytelling must become part of your day-to-day operations. Insist that staff or board meetings start with stories. Include stories in written and live presentations to funders, policymakers, et. al. Your website and other public-facing communications should regularly feature stories, as well. Encore.org, which is helping people approaching retirement age find ways to give back rather than just kick back, is building a movement on stories. The organization's website, newsletters, and conferences are infused with stories.

5. Cultivate internal champions. It's easy to slip back into the old ways of doing things, especially when collecting and refining stories feels like "extra work." Leadership buy-in is an essential first step, but you also need internal champions at different levels throughout the organization, to remind colleagues that stories are important, worth collecting, and worth telling. When I helped FSG, a consulting firm focused on large-scale social change, launch a company-wide storytelling initiative, we began with a workshop for the entire staff—but I also had a separate "train-the-trainers" workshop with selected staff, so they could continue to teach the principles of storytelling to new hires.

6. Renew the commitment. Like any serious shift in culture, you have to renew your commitment from time to time, reminding yourself of the value of this new way of doing things. The more explicit the renewal, the better. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation conducts annual storytelling training for its grantees; and through its Neighborhood Builders program, Bank of America trains nonprofit executive directors and "emerging leaders" within organizations on an annual basis, too.

If your organization has managed to take most, all, or even some of these steps, we'll add a special seventh step for you:

7. Tell us about it. Helping organizations build storytelling cultures is The Goodman Center's number one priority, and we want to learn from your experience. If you can tell us what's worked, what hasn't, and why, please send an email to andy@thegoodmancenter.com.

Helpful Hints

San Diego Zoo Global Academy's Idea Hatchery

The Academy's collaborative learning environment is already "hatching" innovative ideas: let's continue to make it easier to do. You get the idea—or, should we say, you've got the ideas—so, let's collaborate on innovation! Please share your online training ideas at: sdzglobalacademy@sandiegozoo.org.

Zoo & Conservation News

As an added Academy benefit, you can view the latest San Diego Zoo Global Zoo and Conservation News here.

Photo of a trainer with a cheetah.

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