1. 2023 Conference
  2. Keynote Speaker
  3. Papers
  4. Activities
  5. Hotel
  6. Registration
  7. Sponsors



ORLANDO 2023: The Birds are Back in Town

FEB 15-18, 2023
Hosted by Natural Encounters, Inc., Orlando FL



Dates to Remember


October 1, 2022       Paper/Poster Abstracts Submission Deadline

October 1, 2022       Conference Scholarship Application Submission Deadline

January 1, 2023        Early Bird Registration Deadline

January 10, 2023      Conservation Grant Application Submission Deadline

January 10, 2023      Education Grant Application Submission Deadline

January 15, 2023      Behavior Showcase Submissions Deadline

January 15, 2023      Photo Contest Submission Deadline

January 20, 2023      All Mailed and Online Registrations Deadline

January 20, 2023      Hotel Guaranteed Rate Reservation Deadline



Attention CPBT-KA! Earn CEUs

Our annual conference paper sessions and workshops will be eligible for CEUs from IATCB (International Avian Trainer's Certification Board) necessary for maintaining your certification.

Please check back later for a full list of available credits.


Attention Certified Behavior Consultants! Earn CEUs
Our annual conference paper sessions and workshops will be eligible for CEUs from IAABC (International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants) necessary for maintaining your certification.

Please check back later for a full list of available credits.


Walter Crawford Memorial Scholarship

Have you dreamed of attending our annual conference, but lack the funds to do so? If so, this scholarship might be the answer to your dreams! IAATE will once again award monies to eligible IAATE members to assist in funding attendance of our annual conference. This scholarship fund is limited, it is funded by the proceeds from our conference workshops of the previous year and will be awarded only to applicants who meet eligibility requirements. The recipient of this scholarship will be determined by the IAATE Professional Development Committee. Download the scholarship application form from the link below!

Deadline for application submission for our 2023 conference is October 1, 2022.

Please send completed applications to Professional Development Committee Chair, amy.m.fennell@gmail.com. Download the application form.

Note: While you must be an IAATE member to apply, there is no minimum membership time requirement. However, preference will be given to applicants who have been a member for more than one year. 



Keynote Speaker


Dr. Mark Penning is the Vice President: Animals, Science and Environment for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, overseeing animal care and environmental initiatives at the company’s parks and resorts around the world. Leveraging the meaningful field conservation initiatives supported by the company, his team shares inspirational stories and experiences of nature and animals with our theme park and resort Guests. His role includes oversight of the company’s use of animals in film and television from an animal welfare perspective and ensuring the responsible portrayal of animals. 

Mark is a veterinarian by training and was born and raised in South Africa. He owned and operated a veterinary hospital and a wildlife relocation business in South Africa before joining Walt Disney Parks and Resorts ten years ago. He specialized in the treatment of birds and reptiles and has done surgical work in the field on lions, elephants and a host of other species. He previously served as CEO of the South African Association for Marine Biological Research (SAAMBR) based in Durban, South Africa, a non-profit organization dedicated to marine research and conservation. He has also served as President of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) based in Switzerland.


Download Conference Paper Presenters Guidelines.



Most conference activities (unless otherwise noted) are covered in the full registration fee. However, it is possible to sign-up for any activity a-la-carte at the conference itself (space permitting). Prices for activities if NOT registering for the full conference are noted below each activity. Please note you cannot pre-register for activities individually; this has to be done at the conference. Only full registration can be made in advance, including activities.


Pre-Conference Trip, Wednesday, February 15

Please note: The cost of trips is NOT covered in the full registration fee. See below for details of cost and maximum participant information. 

This year’s pre-conference trip includes something for everyone – and is within walking distance of our conference hotel. For those of you who like to sleep in, it’s also going to be a trip with a later start than our usual. Enjoy the afternoon with fellow attendees at ICON Park. Your pass includes entrance to SEA LIFE Aquarium, Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, and The Wheel. This Observation Ferris Wheel will take you 400 feet up to enjoy the Orlando skyline! The wax museum will give you a chance to get photos with some of your favorite celebrities. The aquarium includes a great 360-degree tunnel to walk through while the sea life swim around you!

Cost: $40 
Unlimited participants.


Icebreaker, Wednesday, February 15

Covered in the cost of the full registration fee.

Enjoy an evening of catching up with old friends and a chance to meet new ones. Our Icebreaker is always a great opportunity to make new contacts and meet fellow IAATE members and like-minded people. This year we will be mixing and mingling at our conference hotel and you can bet there will be fun games and interactive activities! Our Icebreaker also includes a delightful selection of hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar.

Cost if not registered for full conference: Member/Student: $75 Non-member: $100


Ranch Day, Friday February 17

Covered in the cost of full-registration fee.

Zoo Day, or as it is this year, Ranch Day will be hosted at the Natural Encounters, Inc. Ranch facility in nearby Winter Haven. At the Ranch, you will be treated to a grand tour of the entire grounds. Also, on tap for the day will be several workshops including one that is free for all to attend and facilitated by none other than Natural Encounters, Inc. President and CEO, our host for the day, Steve Martin. You will see training demonstrations with a variety of birds and might even get an up-close photo of some of the rarer species housed here. Lunch will be provided to fuel your visit and provide a little R+ for all of your hard work at the conference so far. 

Cost if not registered for full conference: Member/Student: $50; Non-member: $75


Workshops, Friday, February 17

Advanced Training Skills Workshop 

Covered in the cost of the full registration fee.

CEUs for certified trainers and consultants from IATCB and IAABC will be available for attendance at this workshop.

These days everyone’s training. But there are different levels of training competency that separate the average trainer from the expert trainer. This workshop goes far beyond the “bridge-reinforce” mentality to explore the fine details of some of the most important aspects of expert training. Attendees at this workshop will leave with an understanding of critical aspects of expert training, including, fading prompts, empowering animals with control, extraordinary antecedent arrangement, creating trusting relationships with animals (including the human animals on your team), and much more.

This workshop will be presented by Steve Martin, President and CEO of Natural Encounters, Inc.
Unlimited participation.


The following workshops have limited capacity. Reservations will be made on a first-come, first-serve basis. Space permitting, payment reserves your space. These workshops are NOT covered in the full registration fee. All proceeds from these workshops go to fund our Walt Crawford Memorial Scholarship. CEUs for certified trainers and consultants will be available from IATCB and IAABC.

This conference will offer four different workshops during our visit to the NEI Ranch. Interested participants can choose to attend only one workshop as they run concurrently.


Personal Passion and the Perfect Presentation

Exhibit talks, animal encounters, and stage shows are some of the primary tools that many facilities use to help connect guests with the animals that we care for. But what information are we sharing in these interactions, and how are we presenting it? In this workshop, we will explore some concepts that can help us to take full advantage of every opportunity to take these interactions to the next level:

  • Moving beyond "Sharing = Caring"
  • To Script or Not to Script: Interactions "In the Now"
  • Strategies for Training Visitors
  • What does "The Perfect Presenter" look like?

This two-hour workshop will be facilitated by Chris Jenkins CPBT-KA, Natural Encounters, Inc.
Limited to 30 participants.
Cost: $20


Expanding our Feedback Loop: Evolving the Ways to Give Feedback to our Peers

This workshop will explore the many methods that can be taken to offer feedback to our peers.  It will explore the steps we can take from any level or position ranging from an entry level person to upper management.  We will discuss what works, doesn't work, what might work better, and will overall help equip your personal communication toolkit with some new tools to better help you reach the highest levels of communication with your team.  This workshop will have a practical component that will allow you to practice what this might look like and how you can implement it into your own practices.

This two-hour workshop will be facilitated by Scott Trauger CPBT-KA, Natural Encounters, Inc.
Limited to 30 participants.
Cost: $20


Taking a Step Back: Giving Raptors Control over Basic Behaviors

Taking a step back can be a great learning opportunity for both human and bird! Come join us at a workshop designed specifically for newer raptor trainers and for anyone working to transition their animals from ‘traditional’/legacy styles of managing birds of prey to less intrusive and choice-based alternatives. Participants will develop practical skills in eliciting common and crucial behaviors voluntarily (such as weighing, crating, etc.) by practicing smart antecedent arrangement, skilled reinforcement delivery, and more—and since we’re at the NEI Ranch, we’ll be able to practice our skills with some of NEI’s amazing resident raptors! See you at the Ranch!

This two-hour workshop will be facilitated by Amy Fennell CPBT-KA, Natural Encounters, Inc. and Sidney Campbell CPBT-KA, Cascades Raptor Center

Limited to 30 participants.
Cost: $20


Fourth Workshop TBD

Description coming.

This two-hour workshop will be facilitated by 

Limited to 30 participants.
Cost: $20


Open Board Meeting, Friday, February 17

Our Open Board Meeting will be held on Friday, February 17 during lunch. Join your organization's Board to hear committee reports, financial updates, and general information about the business year in review as well as upcoming endeavors. This is your opportunity to stay updated on the business of your organization and ask any questions you may want answered. 


Roundtables, Friday, February 17

Covered in the cost of the full registration fee.

This conference will offer four different roundtable discussions during the evening of Friday, February 17 at our conference hotel. Interested participants can choose to attend only one roundtable as they run concurrently. This year's topics for group discussion will be:

Team Support: Compassion Fatigue/Burnout and Teambuilding


Husbandry Hacks

Conservation Education Messaging and Fundraising


Banquet, Saturday, February 18

Covered in the cost of the full registration fee.

The 2023 conference will wrap up in grand style at this year's banquet. The banquet is a great time to recognize our fellow professionals through our High Flyer and Service Awards and celebrate a successful conference. Included at the banquet is our Photo Contest slide show and winners’ announcement. Our banquet features a full dinner and a cash bar. Great food and great times are assured.

Cost if not registered for full conference: Member/Student: $120; Non-member: $150 



This year's hospitality suite is a large room, perfect for mingling. The hospitality suite presents great opportunities to share information and unwind after a long day of intense learning experiences. This is one of the best ways to share ideas and become inspired by your peers. 



Help support IAATE! Money raised by our raffles goes to fund our Conservation and Education Grants. You will be able to purchase tickets for raffle drawings held throughout the conference. We will once again have our Conservation Raffle during the banquet. If you would like to donate items, please bring them to the conference or mail them ahead of time. 

If you are shipping packages, please ship to:

Meg Meyer c/o IAATE
240 Whispering Pines Way
Davenport, FL 33837


Conference Grants and Contests

Don't forget to submit your photos to our Photo Contest as well as your videos for our Behavior Showcase and or apply for a Conservation or Education Grant. Deadlines for grant and contest submissions vary. Please see below for deadlines. For the 2023 conference, grant submissions will not be accepted after the deadline. This is to allow the committees adequate time to consider each entry. Please adhere to the individual deadlines! Please see our Awards & Grants webpage to download application forms and for updated details on how to apply. You can't win if you don't apply!

Education Grant Submission Deadline: January 10, 2023

Conservation Grant Submission Deadline: January 10, 2023

Behavior Showcase Video Submission Deadline: January 15, 2023

Photo Contest Submission Deadline: January 15, 2023


2023 IAATE is at the Wyndham Orlando Resort International Drive

8002 International Drive, Orlando FL 32819
(407) 351-2420

Our host hotel, The Wyndham Orlando Resort, is the chosen site for our Orlando conference. The meeting space is well equipped for our presentations. During your stay you will be able to take advantage of the full resort package – fee for which has been waived for our attendees, including in-room Wi-Fi and overnight parking.

Our hotel is located steps from Orlando’s perennially popular I-Drive and minutes from the Coca-Cola® Orlando Eye, Universal Orlando®, and Walt Disney World®, this idyllic tropical paradise of lush gardens, romantic lagoons, and sparkling pools offers endless opportunities for both relaxation and recreation. Convenient amenities make it easy to stay in or go out, including a shuttle to Universal Studios and SeaWorld®, ample parking, on-site dining options, two heated pools, a state-of-the-art fitness center with saunas and steam rooms, and in-room movies on a 40-inch flat screen TV.

We have secured the discounted rates of $139.00 per room, regardless of single or double occupancy.

The hotel will be holding a block of rooms for us until Friday, January 20, 2023. Reservations made after that date will be accepted on a space available and rate available basis. Check in time is 4:00 pm on the day of arrival. Check out time is 11:00 am on the day of departure. If early arrivals or late departures are necessary, please let the hotel know in advance and they will make every effort to accommodate.

A dedicated website is now available for attendees of our conference to book hotel rooms online. Reservations can be made at this web address: https://book.passkey.com/e/50370807

Reservations may also be made by phone - 1-(800)-421-8001 – please reference that you are with IAATE group to get our special rate.

Transportation to Hotel
If you are traveling by air, you will fly into the Orlando International Airport. The hotel is an approximate 15–20-minute drive from the airport. While there is no airport hotel shuttle, the hotel recommends Mears Transportation or Super Shuttle. You will have to reserve these ahead of time. Shuttles run approximately $20-25 per person. Alternately, you can take a cab, which typically run $55-70. And, of course, there is also the option of Uber or Lyft.



Registration for the 2023 conference includes our paper sessions, icebreaker, banquet, and zoo day. Please note workshops and pre-conference trip have an additional cost associated and are available to sign up for on a first come, first served basis.

EARLY BIRD Registration (before January 1, 2023*)

 Member $275
 Non-Member $375
 Student $225

Registration January 1, 2023, and After

 Member $300
 Non-Member $400
 Student $225

*close of EB registration is midnight EST, December 31, 2022


Activities with additional fees not covered in registration:

Pre-conference Trip: $40
Friday Workshops: $20 each

Online Registration for our 2023 conference is not open yet. We will be opening registration once we transfer to our new website.

Waiver and Release

1.Only ONE registration form per person (please complete the process for each registrant by clicking on 'register another' at the summary of charges page in the online process).
2.Name and Affiliation should be listed as you would like it to appear on your name tag.
3.Membership must be current for 2023 to receive membership rates and proof of student status is required for student rate.
4.No refunds will be given after January 20, 2023.
5.A $25 cancellation fee is applicable to all cancelled registrations.
6.A position in a workshop is offered on a first come first serve basis. If space is filled a message will be displayed informing you that the workshop is full.

Although online registration is preferred, if possible, if you wish to pay by check, or mail your registration, download the registration form (please check back later for the form). Please fill out the required fields on your computer, print, and mail with your check to the address on the form.

Interested in being a sponsor for our conference?


For information and a list of benefits associated with sponsoring our conference, please contact IAATE Board member and Marketing Committee Chair, Jon Spero at jonnyspero@gmail.com

Registration for the 2023 Conference is not open yet. Please check back.

Please feel free to contact us using the contact form. We are happy to answer any questions you may have.



The International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators

is an organization for individuals who are active in the field of avian training and who are involved in environmental education programs.

IAATE was founded to foster communication, professionalism and cooperation among those individuals who serve Avian Science through training, public display, research, husbandry, conservation, and education.



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