This week was highlighted by the annual MAZA (Mid-America Zoo Alliance) Conference hosted by Chahinkapa Zoo. It is always fun to have our colleagues visit us here in Wahpeton and we are pleased to welcome zoo professionals from five states.

During the three-day workshops, a number of pertinent topics were discussed. Emergency training, horticulture, animal welfare, conservation, marketing, guest services were a few of the roundtables conducted.

Zoo staff attending included Dakota Zoo (Bismarck), Bramble Park Zoo (Watertown, South Dakota), Wildwood Wildlife Park and Nature Center (Wisconsin), Pine Grove Zoo (Minnesota), Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park (Grand Rapids, Michigan), Safari North Wildlife Park (Minnesota), Bear Country USA (South Dakota), and Zollman Zoo and Oxbow Park (Rochester, Minnesota). Also in attendance was our USDA inspector.

Jim and Donelyn Oliver hosted the Wednesday night social at their beautiful home and gardens, “Prairie Acre.” Thursday evening was spent touring the town and enjoying local establishments.

MAZA began in the late 1980s and was first called the Northern Midwest Small Zoo Association. Chahinkapa Zoo has hosted throughout the years and the rotation of host zoos is an opportunity to share ideas on site at others’ facilities.

Visiting zoos this week were treated to training demonstrations, construction and reconstruction examples, successful gift and food sale tips, marketing opportunities, and a special presentation by Joan Zettel, master gardener on how to make a beautiful zoo. I am thankful to all zoo staff and board of directors for making this event so successful.

In Conservation,

Kathy Diekman

Kathy Diekman, director of Chahinkapa Zoo in Wahpeton

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