Editor’s Note: Animal Magnetism
A behind-the-scenes look at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' annual meeting.
Here’s something I love about my job: It wasn’t hard to come up with a legitimate reason to put a giraffe on our cover.
When you write about associations, the material at your disposal is almost unlimited—because, as the saying goes, there’s an association for everything.
For this issue, we wanted to share a behind-the-scenes, photographic account of an association annual meeting, with its logistics, long hours, on-the-spot troubleshooting, sore-foot remedies, and fun. We didn’t have a particular association in mind; we just knew we wanted to tell a good story.
And how’s this for luck: When we went looking for a meeting to cover, we stumbled on the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which wrapped up its September meeting at the Phoenix Zoo, where Melissa Howerton, AZA vice president of conferences and membership, had her close encounter with our cover giraffe.
Meetings put the full vitality of associations on display. Not every organization features a giant animatronic tarantula in its exhibit hall, but you can bet that every one treats its attendees to something vital and exciting at its expo, in its education programming, or at a social event (if you were at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas with ASAE last August, you know what I mean).
So even if you don’t run a zoo or aquarium, we think you’ll enjoy a sneak peek at how the AZA pulled off its annual meeting. You’ll find some familiar scenes and some surprises. Have fun.