1. 2020 Conference
  2. Keynote Speaker
  3. Papers
  4. Activities
  5. Schedule
  6. Registration
  7. Hotel
  8. Sponsors


Dominican Republic 2020: Training in the Tropics
FEB 26-29, 2020


Information and downloads for attendees.

Full Conference Schedule
A full and detailed day-by-day, hour-by-hour schedule of our 2020 conference can be downloaded to view or print HERE.

Paper Abstracts and Presenter Bios: To download a PDF containing detailed abstracts of papers being   
presented and bios of presenters, click

Resort Services Map: Resort services map can be downloaded HERE.

Resort Services Information: Resort services information document can be downloaded HERE.


Dates to Remember

October 1, 2019       Paper/Poster Abstracts Submission Deadline

October 1, 2019       Conference Scholarship Application Submission Deadline

January 1, 2020        Early Bird Registration Deadline

January 10, 2020      Conservation Grant Application Submission Deadline

January 10, 2020      Education Grant Application Submission Deadline

January 24, 2020      All Mailed and Online Registrations Deadline

January 24, 2020      Hotel Guaranteed Rate Reservation Deadline

January 31, 2020      Photo Contest Submission Deadline

January 31, 2020      Behavior Training Showcase Video Submission Deadline


Need a roommate for the conference? We have set up a Facebook Group IAATE 2020 Roommate Search to help connect you with other attendees looking for roommates. Follow the link to join the group.



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.

Credits available are as follows:

IAATE Annual Conference General Session Thurs/Fri – 10.5 CEUs

IAATE Annual Conference Workshop - Advanced skills Training Workshop - 5 CEUs

IAATE Annual Conference Workshop - Behavior-based Enrichment - 2 CEUs

IAATE Annual Conference Workshop - Redesigning an Avian Education Program - 2 CEUs

IAATE Annual Conference Workshop - Bird Show Structure and Function - 2 CEUs

You will need to provide signed proof of attendance to IAABC to get these credits. Please contact IAATE Vice President - conference@iaate.org - for proof of attendance certificates. 

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.  

Credits available are as follows:

IAATE Annual Conference General Session Thurs/Fri – 10.5 CEUs

IAATE Annual Conference Workshop - Advanced skills Training Workshop - 5 CEUs

You will need to provide signed proof of attendance to IAABC to get these credits. Please contact IAATE Vice President - conference@iaate.org - for proof of attendance certificates. 


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 2020 conference is October 1, 2019.

Please send completed applications to Professional Development Committee Chair, email contact included on 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

Thomas Hayes began his career with raptors in 1990 at the age of 11 when Last Chance Forever (LCF), a raptor rehabilitation and conservation organization from San Antonio, TX, came to his school and flew hawks and owls over his head and talked about conservation. From that moment on, Thomas walked home from school every day so he could watch the Kestrels and Red-tailed Hawks on the way. Soon after this formative experience, he began volunteering and later working for LCF where he learned about raptor husbandry, rehabilitation, and falconry under the direction of John Karger. During Thomas's time at LCF, Thomas helped to rehabilitate and release hundreds of raptors to the wild as well as train and work with raptors in educational programs.

In 2006, Thomas began his career working for The Peregrine Fund as a seasonal hacksite attendant in West Texas on the Aplomado Falcon Restoration Project. In 2007, Thomas once again assisted The Peregrine Fund as a seasonal hacksite attendant and in September of 2007 accepted a full-time position as the Aplomado Falcon Propagation Assistant. Here under the direction of Cal Sandfort, Thomas assisted with raising over 450 Aplomado Falcons during three nesting seasons. During this time Thomas learned valuable techniques for rearing raptors in captivity such as artificial insemination.

Since 2011, Thomas has been a part of The Peregrine Fund’s Ridgway's Hawk Project in the Dominican Republic and currently manages that project. With the help of his colleagues, Thomas and The Peregrine Fund have helped to save the Ridgway's Hawk from almost certain extinction.

In 2018, Thomas assisted with The Peregrine Fund’s emergency response in Puerto Rico to help save the Puerto Rican Sharp-shinned Hawk.

Thomas lives in Boise, Idaho with his wife Christine Deegear Hayes and daughter Mojave. When he isn't working on conservation projects, he enjoys spending time rafting, hunting, and fly-fishing.

To download a PDF containing detailed abstracts of papers being presented and bios of presenters, click HERE. 


“Pay That Bird!” – The Use (and Abuse) of Analogies in Training

Amy Fennell, CPBT-KA, Supervisor - Natural Encounters, Inc. 

Training our Birds: From Jesses to Complete Free Choice
Saskia Verbruggen, Silke Kruk, Wendy Terpstra-Vlaming, Landgoed Hoenderdaell, The Netherlands.

Changing a Culture Without Authority: Shifting the Paradigm from a Coercive Animal Ambassador Training Strategy to an Animal-Choice Training Strategy…as a Volunteer
Balinda Strosnider, PhD, CPBT-KA and John Glitsos, CPBT-KA, Liberty Wildlife

Making Connections Using the Power of Interpretive Signage

Kristin Dean and McKenna Schaffer, Carolina Raptor Center

Incredible Ibis
Karena Marrero, San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Don’t Forget the Small Stuff
Mike Simmons, A World of Wings, UK

Easy, Inexpensive, Experiential Learning Expeditiously.
Francie Krawcke, Michigan Avian Experience

Raptors Out of the Box: Modifying Traditional Approaches to Fit Unique Situations
Joe Whitehead, Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center & Josh Sanko, American Bald Eagle Foundation

What Makes a Raptor a Raptor? Redefining How We Teach About Birds of Prey
Erin Katzner, The Peregrine Fund



Modified contact:  Using Alternative Methods of Contact in a Free Flight World
Lacey Zeno, San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Enrichment for Parrots through Learning
Jennifer Cunha, Esq., My Reading Pets

Soaring: From Bird Shows to Medical Husbandry
Brenda Sanchez, Dallas Zoo

Collaborative and Comprehensive Care for Injured Ambassador Harris Hawk
Krystin Maloney, Denver Zoological Foundation

Fly Free: Creative Choice and Control Options
Justin Eckelberry: Zoo Atlanta

Developing a Training Program in Large, Mixed-Species Aviaries.
Catherine Vine

The Care, Management and Training of a Large Flock of Homing Pigeons in a Las Vegas Show
Nancy Rouas, Petting Zoo 2 U & Wings Above

Compassion Fatigue – Focusing on Human Welfare as well as Animal Welfare
Kelli Inglis, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, UK

The Future of Zoos
Steve Martin, President/CEO, Natural Encounters, Inc.
(note this is an hour-long presentation) 


Most conference activities (unless otherwise noted) are covered in the full-registration fee. However, it is possible to sign-up for not-included activities, such as pre-trips and workshops, at the conference itself (space permitting). Prices for activities not included in the full-registration are noted.


Pre-conference Trip: Ridgway’s Hawk Field Trip, Wednesday February 26

Please note: The pre-conference trip is NOT covered in the cost of registration. See below for details of cost and maximum participant information. The trip includes transportation.

Join Peregrine Fund project manager, biologist, and conference keynote speaker Thomas Hayes for a unique opportunity to visit one the field sites where they are working to conserve the Critically Endangered Ridgway’s Hawk. When The Peregrine Fund began investigating the Ridgway’s Hawk, only about 300 remained. This charismatic species’ habitat was lost to human development, restricting the remnant population to one section of the small Los Haitises National Park on the northeastern coast of the Dominican Republic. A single forest fire, virus, or hurricane could have caused its extinction in the blink of an eye. To prevent potential catastrophe, the biologists went to work testing a technique called assisted dispersal to effectively “transplant” young hawks to new, safer territory and expand the species’ range. The new territory where a breeding population of birds is now thriving is another Punta Cana resort just minutes from our hotel.

This field trip will give you the opportunity to see a Critically Endangered, endemic species (so don’t forget your binoculars!) and learn all about them straight from the biologist studying them. This is a short excursion that will get you back to our resort in time for an early lunch. After lunch, we hope that you will join us for Steve Martin’s Training Workshop in the afternoon!

Cost: $25 
Limited to 25 participants.


Advanced Skills Training Workshop, Wednesday February 26

Please note: This workshop is NOT covered in the cost of registration. All proceeds from this workshop go to the IAATE Conservation Fund. Note guides and certificates of completion will be provided for all attendees. This course is an outstanding preparation for the IATCB certification exam. Note: For CPBT-KA - CEUs will be available for attendance at this workshop.

The Advanced Skills Training Workshop goes beyond the basics to explore the finer details associated with training birds and other animals at the highest level. This five-hour course is designed for trainers who want to advance their knowledge and skills to provide better welfare for the animals in their care.

Cost: $50 (all proceeds go to the IAATE Conservation Fund).
This workshop will be presented by Steve Martin of Natural Encounters, Inc. and will run noon - 5pm on Wednesday, February 26
Unlimited participation.

Workshops, Saturday February 29

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

This conference will offer three different workshops each of which will be offered twice – once in the AM session and again in the PM session. Interested participants can choose to attend only one workshop per session.

Behavior-based Enrichment: Behavioral diversity is an important indicator to measure when considering an animal’s welfare. When determining welfare, we measure both inputs and outputs. Enrichment can be considered an input, whereas the behavior stimulated through enrichment is an output. In this workshop we will discuss how enrichment relates to animal welfare, as well as highlight how to target specific behavioral goals with enrichment. We will look at animal behavior and parse out each different aspect of certain behaviors (for example, “foraging” could include climbing, hanging, scanning, searching, flying, acquiring, processing food in different ways, problem-solving, etc.) and share ideas of how to encourage these behaviors in the animals we work with. Workshop participants will be given examples of what a goal-based enrichment program looks like in practice in a zoo setting, and how to determine what appropriate enrichment activity budgets may be for individual animals.

This two-hour workshop will be facilitated by Megan Stankiewicz, Animal Wellness Specialist at the Brevard Zoo, with the IAATE Enrichment Committee.
Limited to 30 participants.
Cost: $20


Redesigning an Avian Education Program: The animal care, training, education field is increasingly moving toward higher welfare standards and interactive programming. However, incorporating change into established programs can be daunting. This workshop covers the essential components of a successful transition from a folklore husbandry approach to evidence-based care and training models, through case studies and problem-solving activities. Program attendees will leave with the tools to objectively assess their programs, build their skillset, acquire resources, and develop realistic goals and benchmarks through high-impact efforts, regardless of resources.

This two-hour workshop will be facilitated by Jason Beale of Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center and Sidney Campbell of the American Bald Eagle Foundation.

Limited to 30 participants.
Cost: $20 


Bird Show Structure and Function: This workshop will help you re-evaluate your own presentations by breaking down the components that make a show complete.  It will help generate new ideas to add to an existing demonstration or inspire you to make some tweaks to change a good routine into a great one.  The workshop will take a look at show structure and elements that make a show captivating and will use examples from other forms of entertainment to generate thoughts on how it can be applied in the world of bird shows.  The workshop is designed to benefit people already doing bird shows but will also help with someone thinking about starting one as well.

This two-hour workshop will be facilitated by Gareth Morgan of African Lion Safari.

Limited to 30 participants.
Cost: $20


Icebreaker, Wednesday February 26

Covered in the cost of 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 resort and you can bet there will be fun games and interactive activities! Due to the all-inclusive nature of our host resort this year, food and drinks will be free all night long!.


Open Board Meeting, Friday February 28

Our Open Board Meeting will be held on Friday February 28 during paper sessions. 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 many want answered. Immediately following this year's Open Board Meeting we will be running our annual Photo Contest slide show, We hope to see a full attending member turn out!


Banquet, Saturday February 29

Covered in the cost of full-registration fee.

The 2020 conference will wrap up in unique style at this year's banquet. We are going to the beach for our Barefoot Banquet! The banquet is a great time to recognize our fellow professionals and we do that with the annual awards ceremony. And get ready to find out where we are headed in 2021 as we unveil our next conference destination! Great food and great times are assured. So, kick off your shoes, wiggle your toes in the sand, and help us celebrate the accomplishments of IAATE and its members, past, present, and future at this year’s banquet.



This year's hospitality suite is not a suite at all – it’s the beach! Join us at the resort’s beach bar each evening – it is the perfect location for relaxing and 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. Due to our overseas location, it is not possible to ship raffle items ahead of time, it is also challenging to carry large amounts with us. So, this year more than ever our raffles are going to depend on your generosity. Please consider bringing an item or two to donate to our raffles. Our future conservation and education grant applicants will thank you! 


Conference Awards and Contests

Don't forget to apply for a Conservation or Education Grant. Please see below for deadlines. For the 2020 conference, awards and grant submissions will not be accepted at the conference. This is to allow the committees more time to consider each entry. Please adhere to the individual deadlines! Please see our Awards & Grants section to download application forms and for updated details on how to apply. You can't win if you don't enter!

Education Grant Submission Deadline: January 10, 2020

Conservation Grant Submission Deadline: January 10, 2020

Behavior Training Showcase Submission Deadline: January 31, 2020

Photo Contest Submission Deadline: January 31, 2020

A full and detailed day-by-day, hour-by-hour schedule of our 2020 conference can be downloaded to view or print HERE.






Registration info

Registration for the 2020 conference includes our paper sessions, roundtable discussions, icebreaker, and banquet. 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 Jan 1, 2020)

 Member $255
 Non-Member $355
 Student $200

Registration After Jan 1, 2020

 Member $280
 Non-Member $380
 Student $200

Activities with additional fees not covered in registration:

Advanced Skills Training Workshop: $50
Pre-conference Trip: $25
Friday AM and PM Workshops: $20 each


Waiver and Release

1.Only ONE registration form per person. Please complete the process per registrant.
2.Name and Affiliation should be listed as you would like it to appear on your name tag.
3.Membership must be current for 2020 to receive membership rates and proof of student status is required for student rate.
4.No refunds will be given after January 25, 2020.
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.

2020 IAATE is at Iberostar Dominicana Hotel


Hotel reservations cut off date was January 24. 

Reservations at IAATE's discounted rate are now closed.


Resort services map can be downloaded HERE.

Resort services information document can be downloaded HERE.


Our host resort, Iberostar Dominicana Hotel, is the chosen site for our Dominican Republic conference. Just 16.7 miles from Punta Cana International Airport, the Iberostar Dominicana Hotel is located on the northeast side of the island of the Dominican Republic along the gorgeous coastline of Playa Bávaro. The meeting space is well equipped for our presentations.

Because the Iberostar Dominicana 5-star beachfront resort is all-inclusive, all food and drinks throughout your stay are included in the room rate. With multiple dining locations and beautiful gathering spots, this unique setting will not disappoint. The seafood served at the restaurants is all sustainably sourced but if you'd rather enjoy the fish another way, in between conference activities, you can check out snorkeling equipment to explore the coral nursery ecosystem right off the beach.

Our hotel is nothing short of a tropical paradise of lush gardens, sparkling pools, and direct beach access. The resort offers a spa and fitness center. Free WiFi is also available throughout.

We have secured the discounted rates of $137.00/night for double-occupancy, $219/night for single-occupancy. To note, there are no additional taxes or fees on top of this rate, and again, the rate includes all food/beverage for the duration of your stay. You will pay for nothing over and above the cost of your room.

Since reservations at an all-inclusive resort work a little differently than reservations at a regular hotel, to note the double-occupancy rate is per person staying in that room, i.e. two people sharing a room will each pay $137/night - not split that cost (as is typical at a regular hotel).

The hotel will be holding a block of rooms for us until Friday, January 24, 2020. Reservations made after that date will be accepted on a space available and rate available basis. It is VERY important to be aware, February is a busy season in the Dominican Republic and our hotel may not have availability to add additional rooms to our block if/when they are sold out. For this reason, it is more critical than ever that you make your reservation as soon as you can to avoid disappointment. If our room block is sold out and the hotel has no additional rooms to offer us, there is nothing we can do about it. The resort is private and gated, there are no other nearby (walking distance) hotels or resorts for you to stay in, nor can anyone even come into the resort unless they are a guest staying there. Check in time is 3:00 pm on the day of arrival. Check out time is 12:00 pm (noon) on the day of departure.


Most importantly to note, if you are planning to share a room with someone to take advantage of the cost savings, you will need to make the full payment for you and your roommate(s) when you book the room. You are not able to provide partial payment or use multiple credit cards. This means you will need to coordinate with your roommate in advance of booking, decide which of you is making the reservation and paying for the full cost of the room for both of you, then coordinate any necessary reimbursement between yourselves. Please keep this in mind and plan accordingly with your organization if your stay will be paid for by your workplace.

We have set up a Facebook Group to allow those of you in need of finding a roommate to connect with other attendees who also need a roommate. The group can be found here: IAATE 2020 Roommate Search


Transportation to Resort
If you are traveling by air, you will fly into the Punta Cana International Airport. The resort is an approximate 15-20 minute drive from the airport. While there is no airport shuttle, we have set up a transport service with Amstar through which you can advance book and pay for transportation from the airport to the resort and again from the resort back to the airport. This is the most convenient and comfortable way to transport between the resort and the airport and will cost no more than a taxi fare, and in most cases be significantly less. We HIGHLY RECOMMEND you take advantage of this assisted travel arrangement. Once you have your flights booked, you can make your hotel transportation arrangements through this link: TRANSPORT TO/FROM RESORT.

You are also free to take a taxi from the airport to the hotel. If you choose this option, please be aware the taxis do not accept credit card payment. You will need cash, which can be US dollars or DR pesos.



Eagle Conservator


Falcon Friend



Owl Enthusiast


Parrot Pal




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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