Ambassador Program Schedules?

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    Anna Morris

    Hi everyone! I’m curious about what kind of daily schedules other nature centers have for ambassador animal programming. As we go into our summer season, I would love to take a critical look at “what we’ve always done” and see if we can diversify or change our program schedule to better suit our ambassadors’ needs and the public’s interest.

    I’d love to hear about other schedules, so in the interests of sharing, here’s our “traditional” daily schedule:
    11:00am – 40-minute program featuring 3-4 birds and free flight, focused on adaptations and conservation.
    1:00pm – 30-minute program featuring 2 birds, in-depth topic discussion like migration.
    2:00pm – 30-minute program featuring 2 reptiles, focused on adaptations
    3:00pm – same as 11:00am

    We do outreaches as well, about 400 per year. We have 15 ambassador birds and a total of 7 staff that care for them and deliver programs in the summer (it drops down to 4 staff in the winter, and the daily schedule is much tamer).

    Thanks in advance for sharing!

    Shannon LaMonica

    Thank you for starting this, Anna! We’ve been wanting to gather this information as well although I’m at a zoo instead of a Nature Center. We are an Ambassador Animal area and are down to minimal staffing and a small group of animals while still recovering from the pandemic cuts. We have 4 full-time staff (maximum of 3 each day but often with only 2 staff daily) with 9 birds, 3 mammals, and several reptiles, and do all husbandry and programming. Last summer we just did two ~12 minute shows daily which included our porcupine, 3 free-flight birds, and several birds on the glove or a snake after the formal show ends. Our building isn’t near our stage so we have to drive there and have holding back stage for most of the animals. This is much less than we used to do pre-pandemic so our management is looking for info on staffing at other places as we collection plan to build back our programming and animals.

    In the non-summer months, we do two 15-30 minute static displays/programs at either an outdoor indoor area depending on the season and weather.

    Thanks in advance for sharing!

    Shannon LaMonica
    Ambassador Animal Staff
    Oregon Zoo

    Stephanie Joe

    I am also at a zoo, but we have 3 daily animal shows or encounters each day. They are each done by different departments at different times. The two encounters are about 15 minutes each (one animal during the encounter), and the show is about 30 minutes each (3-4 animals). Our ambassadors may also go to backstage animal presentations in addition to the daily encounters, but we try to limit our animals to at most, 2 encounters per day. Additionally, we try to rotate our animals daily if they’re not specifically requested.

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