Conference Trips, Workshops, and Activities

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 fees. 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 walkthrough 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 the 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 your hard work at the conference so far.

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


Workshops, Friday, February 17

A Didactic Dialog About Expert Training

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.

Join Steve Martin in an in-depth discussion of the qualities and behaviors exhibited by expert trainers. Full of examples and stories, this interactive experience will inform and empower participants with new insights, skills, and strategies that will improve their training outcomes. 

This 1.5-hour 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 1.5-hour workshop will be facilitated by Chris Jenkins CPBT-KA, Natural Encounters, Inc.
Limited to 50 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 1.5-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 1.5-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


Open Board Meeting, Friday, February 17

Our Open Board Meeting will be held on Saturday, February 18 during our presentations day. 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 to be 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


Paper Session Days, Thursday, February 18 and Saturday, February 18

Covered in the cost of the full registration fee.

For a full list of speakers and featured speakers on our paper session days, please see the Speakers page. There you will also find a downloadable document including speaker bios and presentation abstracts.

Cost for each day if not registered for full conference: Member: $60; Non-member: $75; Student: $30   

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  

Post-Conference One Day Immersion Workshop at NEI, Sunday, February 19

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

Want to continue the excitement and learning experiences after the conference? want to get more involved in hands-on training? Consider extending your conference experience by staying on for an extra day and participating in a one-day immersive training experience at the NEI Ranch! This unique, tailored experience allows IAATE attendees the opportunity to return to the Ranch and spend a full day taking a deep dive into training and applying the art of behavior change principles. In the immersion workshop, you will spend the entire day with your group leader and experience every little detail that goes into preparing the animal, environment, and reinforcers to help ensure successful training outcomes.


Over fifty species of birds and other animals are available for you to work with and train, and we are committed to engaging you as an active participant along with the expert guidance of your group leader. Flexibility is our goal, and your needs help define the schedule. Before you arrive, our instructors will contact to you to establish some of your high-level goals so that we can ensure you are able to get as much practical knowledge as possible out of your time training with us at NEI!

Lodging and Transportation: Simply extend your conference hotel reservation for an extra day and we’ll take care of the rest – NEI staff will pick you up from the hotel at 7AM and return you to the hotel in the evening.

Food: Light breakfast options will be provided at the Ranch as well as a full lunch and pizza dinner.

Limited to 12 participants.
Cost: $250.00


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