AAZK Resource Committee (ARC)/NZKW


To provide AAZK chapters, members, and institutions with the tools necessary for elevating the animal keeping profession and the zooquaria field as a whole.


  1. Create, maintain, and distribute a living database of resources for chapters, members, and intuitions that aim to explore both frequently asked questions and emerging issues.
  2. Promote the work of animal care professionals and zooquaria institutions year round, including annually during National Zoo Keeper Week.
  3. Surveying and analyzing zooquaria demographics in order to better serve the membership and professional community.
  4. Create public awareness of AAZK and the zooquaria field’s dedication to conservation and wildlife.
  5. Communicate the necessity for zooquaria by way of promoting animal care professionalism, research, and fundraising efforts.

The AAZK Resource Committee, or ARC, aims to answer the most common questions in the keeper profession, while addressing new issues related to the zooquaria field. This searchable database will establish baseline knowledge on an array of subjects for all communities within AAZK including but not limited to: chapters, members, and institutions. ARC will move beyond this general information and investigate lesser known issues including compassion fatigue, keeper wellness, and chapter finances relating to recent AAZK and BFR updates.


  • Chapter Resources & Networking
  • Keeper & Member Resources
  • National Zoo Keeper Week & Social Media
  • Member Market Place – Annual Conference

Committee Chair

national zoo

Robin Sutker

Rebecca Salinas



NZKW logo 2 (1)

A component of the AAZK Resource Committee is National Zoo Keeper Week As the need to protect and preserve our wildlife and vanishing habitats has increased, our role as educators and wildlife ambassadors has become essential. During the third week of July each year, celebrate National Zoo Keeper Week; both keepers and animals deserve professional recognition.

NZKW Task Force Members

Paul Brandenburger

Paul Brandenburger


Rebecca Phillips

National Zoo Keeper Week

Animal Care Professionals: Wildlife caretakers and conservation ambassadors, both in zoological institutions and around the world.

 General Information:

National Zookeeper Week 2016 is July 17-23. This year NZKW will be highlighting the diversity of keepers and their contributions to global conservation efforts. For the most up to date information on NZKW and chapters across the country, visit AAZK on Facebook. To submit a highlight for an AAZK chapter, obtain a list of NZKW events/fundraiser ideas, or join the NZKW program team, please email the ARC Chair at robin.sutker@aazk.org.

National Zookeeper Week’s Mission:

To recognize and promote dedicated zoo and aquarium professionals year round, culminating in an annual celebration during the third week in July – National Zookeeper Week.

National Zookeeper Week Goals:

  • Promote the dedication and hard work of animal care professionals year round
  • Celebrate animal care professionals’ achievements during the third week in July
  • Share the accomplishments of AAZK chapters
  • Create awareness of AAZK chapters’ dedication to conservation and wildlife to the public
  • Communicate the necessity for zoos and aquariums by way of animal care professionalism, research, and fundraising efforts

What is National Zookeeper Week?

As the need to protect and preserve wildlife and their vanishing habitats continues to increase, the animal care professional’s role as educators and conservation ambassadors has become essential. Zoo and aquarium professionals care for hundreds of species, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates.

Three hundred and sixty five days a year, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, in all weather (from hurricanes, to blizzards, to heat waves, and everything in between), keepers have to be ready for anything. They are involved in captive animals’ lives and welfare from birth to death and every moment in between, and often create life long bonds. A keeper’s day can include an array of tasks including cleaning, food preparation and feed out, medical treatment, training, enrichment, landscaping, exhibit design, animal introductions, public outreach and education, and much MUCH more.

Most animal care professionals have bachelor degrees or higher, many with advanced degrees, and continue to advance their education by attending workshops, conferences, and certificate programs annually. They are not just skilled laborers, but professionals who continue to expand their knowledge of an ever advancing field. Working with animals requires constant complex problem solving and progressive learning. Beyond their daily duties, keepers are involved in research projects, field work, and conservation organizations.

But, in the end, being a zookeeper, aquarist, aviculturist – whatever you call it, they’re all animal care professionals, and it is more than just a job. It’s a career, it’s a passion, it’s a calling.

THAT’S why we recognize zookeepers year round, and THAT’S why we have a week dedicated to promoting their skills, dedication, and enthusiasm for wildlife to world. Join AAZK every third week in July, to celebrate National Zookeeper Week!

Representative Susan A. Davis introduced House Resolution 509 on June 21, 2007:
Expresses support for the goals and ideals of National Zookeeper Week. Recognizes the contributions zookeepers make to the care and conservation of captive exotic animals and to research, public education, and recreation. Expresses a renewed dedication to the appreciation and preservation of animal wildlife and nature and an invigorated effort to foster conservation projects and increase awareness of the need for preservation.

H. Res. 509 National Zoo Keeper Week 2007

National Zookeeper Week Documents:

Press release for June 27 2016

Why it’s Never Too Early (or Late) to Plan for NZKW – Robin Sutker

MASTER NZKW Activities

Microsoft Word - imakeeper word doc.docx


NZKW Graphics
Zoo keeper WEEK.Logo 2011 V


 Right click on the graphic to copy/save once the link has opened in a new window.