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Call for Presentations


2024 Association of Zoological Horticulture Conference

Call for Presentations

What makes an AZH Conference special is presentations from horticulture professionals like YOU! The challenges and obstacles that we face each day lead to solutions and success. Share these with your zoo horticulture colleagues by speaking in the program, creating a poster, or participating in a panel discussion. Everything that you need to know to be an AZH presenter is here. If this all seems overwhelming and you need help, then please contact me. We are happy to make it EASY for you to share your valuable knowledge and experiences. See you in Phoenix!

Leigh Anne Lomax and Robert McCrory, AZH Program Co-Chairs

Notable Dates:

Presentation Days: October 11 & 13, 2024

Presentation Proposals Due: May 1, 2024

Proposal Acceptance Notification: June 3, 2024

Poster Proposals Due: May 1, 2024

Program Sessions

Exhibit Design and Maintenance

The focus of this session is animal exhibit design and maintenance. Presentations may include any exhibits under construction, new exhibits or older exhibits and how they’ve aged. Presentations should address questions such as “why”, “how”, “what has worked, what has not”, “in the future we would” as well as maintenance techniques and changes to solve problems. Presentations for this session could also be on general exhibit design and maintenance. Topics could include, but are not limited to topics such as:

  • Utilizing plants in exhibit design
  • Plant Protection
  • Design, Development, & Sustainability
  • Exhibit Inspections and Maintenance
  • Landscape Budgets and Installation
  • Project Management/Bidding

Water Use and Soil

The focus of this session is on the use of water in zoos and soil topics. This session may include, but is not limited to topics such as:

  • Sustainable Water Use and Conservation
  • Water Quality and Conservation
  • Irrigation solutions for difficult exhibits
  • Dealing with soil problems, such as compaction, erosion, etc.
  • Soil Science
  • Nutrient Cycling

Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

The focus of this session is on integrated pest management. This technical session may include, but is not limited to topics such as:

  • Sustainable IPM Practices
  • How to establish an IPM program
  • Control Strategies
  • Coordinating IPM within zoos
  • Monitoring and Record Keeping
  • Prevention/Exclusion strategies
  • “New” Pests and/or Invasives
  • Quarantine and Sanitation
  • Animal/Plant/IPM Connections

Plant Conservation

The focus of this session is on plant conservation. This session may include reports from AZH grant recipients as well as topics such as:

  • In-situ and Ex-situ Plant Conservation
  • Plant/Animal Connected Conservation
  • Specific Plant Conservation
  • Plant Conservation Education, Outreach, and Events

Browse and Toxic Plants

The focus of this session is on browse and toxic plants. This session may include, but is not limited to topics such as:

  • Sustainable Growing and Maintenance
  • Plant Nutrition
  • Plant Toxicity Issues
  • Plant Browse/Animal Interactions
  • Logistics of Producing and Utilizing
  • Browse

Open Session

This session is for presentations that don’t fit the focused sessions. This session may include, but is not limited to topics such as:

  • Sustainability Practices
  • Composting, Recycling, and Repurposing
  • Work Safety
  • New Plants or Cool Plants
  • Horticulture Education and Outreach
  • Plant Sales and Horticulture Events
  • Equipment Use and Applications
  • Landscape and Garden Design
  • Botanical Recordkeeping for Zoos

Developing a Strong Proposal

AZH’s conferences are recognized for leading the field of zoo horticulture. We are looking for motivating, inspiring, and innovative educational content.

AZH annual conference registrants have often said that they are not looking for “show-and-tell” sessions but rather for information explaining “how-to” and “whys” that they can take back to their respective zoos and implement. So remember when presenting to explain the “how-to” and “whys” of what you present.

AZH conference registrants are diverse. Your audience potentially includes Institutional Members representing zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, and arboreta of various sizes and budgets as well as Individual Members—managers, gardeners, arborists, volunteers, students, retirees, and corporate members from a variety of industries.

AZH conference sessions provide an opportunity for both new as well as experienced speakers to present. AZH members are excited to hear from new speakers, so if you are new to AZH or have never presented at an AZH conference please consider doing so. Presenting is a great learning opportunity for all!

AZH members own approaches, methods, and programs are especially valuable for presentations. Attendees can learn very much from each other’s success, and even from failure.

Please remember this is an online submission. Be sure to submit all required information before deadlines. Please prepare your submission in an MS Word document, and then attach it to an email for submission by the deadline; see additional instructions below.

Presenter Information

What Information Do I Need to Submit?

  • Presenter Contact Information • Presenters-include Presentation Title and Outline (see below)
  • Abstract Title
  • Abstract – maximum of 100 words
  • Three Learning Objectives • Presentation Format-25 or 55 minute presentation or panel discussion • Session – which session
  • Submission Format - see submission format below

Proposals are evaluated partly on the strength of the presenters, and their participation must be confirmed. The following information is also needed for all presenters:

  • Name
  • Title, Institution
  • Presenter Bio. for presentation introduction – maximum of 100 words
  • Address, City, State, ZIP/Postal Code,
  • Country
  • Phone, Fax, E-mail

Proposal Submission Format and Final Presentation Format

Proposal submissions are to be emailed to the Program Committee Chair as an MS Word document. Presentation outlines do not need to be long; we are only looking for the key points that will be presented. The three learning objectives represent what you expect the audience to learn from your presentation; they are the overall “big” messages you want your audience to retain. Panel discussions will require a lead presenter/moderator to organize all required information for submission as a unified proposal to the Program selection committee. If your proposal is selected for the program finished PowerPoint presentations need to be submitted by the deadline below. Details on how to submit your final PowerPoint will be emailed with your notification. Presenters and panelists please review and submit all of the information listed in this and the previous sections by the deadline listed below.

Suggested Presentation Formats

25-Minute Individual Presentations

Structured presentations based on a single, focused topic. Only one author (on multi-author papers) will present at the meeting. Presentation should be no longer than 20 minutes leaving 5 minutes for audience questions.

55-Minute Individual Presentations

Structured presentations based on a single, focused topic. Only one author (on multi-author papers) will present at the meeting. Presentation should be no longer than 45 minutes leaving 10 minutes for audience questions.

55-Minute Multi-Speaker “Crowd Sourced”

Panel Discussion

Three to five panelists provide brief presentations; a moderator then poses prepared questions to the panelists and audience. The talk show format allows for an in-depth focus on a single topic, offers multiple points of view, and allows panelists, moderator, and audience to interact.


Microphones will be provided and the equipment for presentations will be able to show PowerPoint presentations. If your proposal is selected, you will need to submit your final PowerPoint presentation by the required deadline. All speakers’ presentations will be downloaded onto a single conference program computer to facilitate sessions. It is highly recommended that you also bring a copy of your presentation on USB drive as a backup for the day of your presentation.

Who should present at the AZH Annual Conference?

Anyone with an interest in zoo horticulture is welcome to participate in the program. Presenters from disciplines or organizations outside zoo horticulture are strongly encouraged to participate. Membership in AZH is not a prerequisite.

Evaluation of Proposals-How are proposals evaluated and selected?

During the peer-review process, members of the Program Selection Committee evaluate presenter proposals using the following criteria:

  1. Topic, intent, and learning outcomes that are focused, well presented, and thoughtfully articulated.
  2. A clear and convincing presentation of ideas, organization, and rationale for choosing presenters/speakers.
  3. Confirmed presenters/speakers.
  4. A diverse selection of presenters/speakers who represent a wide range of perspectives, regions, zoo sizes/budgets/missions (Presenters from outside zoo horticulture are welcome.)
  5. An appropriate format that contributes to the exploration of the topic
  6. Important or timely topic
  7. Relevance to conference theme and sessions


By June 3, 2024, you will receive notification of the status of your proposal. If acceptance is contingent on changes to your proposal, you will have two weeks to make those changes and get the amended proposal back to the Program Selection Committee. Punctuality and cooperation are appreciated. AZH will determine the specific timeslots for presenters within sessions. AZH will notify presenters of their proposed timeslots as soon as possible. If you are not attending the full conference and/or need special consideration of timeslots for your presentation, please include this information in your proposal.

For more information and where to send presentation proposals

AZH Program Committee Co-Chairs:
Leigh Anne Lomax
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Robert McCrory North Carolina Zoo


Presentation proposals, including abstract, must be submitted via email by May 1, 2024 to the Program Committee Co-Chairs. Final PowerPoint presentations must be submitted by. Details on how to submit your PowerPoint will be included with notification of proposal acceptance.

AZH Poster Session

Don’t think you have something to share with your fellow AZH members? Think again. Don’t feel comfortable standing in front an audience and giving an oral presentation or came up with an idea for a presentation after the call for papers deadline? AZH has got the answer for your dilemma.

At the AZH Annual Conference, an exciting format will be available for sharing an experience or creation from your work. This opportunity to express yourself via a poster, a graphic pictorial and narrative piece, will allow for enough detail of a project to explain its purpose and creation while generating interest for more information. Posters will be on display during the conference in a highly visible location at the conference hotel. A time will be set aside to meet the authors and explore further. Be part of this exciting aspect to network with other AZH members at the conference. An abstract should be submitted with the information asked for on the attached form. If you have any questions regarding the creation, presentation, or participation in the poster session at the AZH Annual Conference, contact Robert McCrory

Poster Presentation Abstract Submission Form

To be a part of the AZH Annual Conference Poster Session, please submit the following information by the deadline below.

Presenting Author Information:

  • Name:
  • Title/Position:
  • Institution:
  • Mailing Address:
  • Country:
  • Phone:
  • Email Address:


Please indicate which area best describes the topic of your poster presentation:

  • New Exhibit, Design & Construction
  • Education Programming
  • Conservation
  • Integrated Pest Management Practices
  • Innovative Ideas
  • Other (Please specify)

Contact Author Information (if different from presenting author)

  • Name:
  • Title/Position:
  • Institution:
  • Mailing Address:
  • Country:
  • Phone:
  • Email:

List all authors in preferred order (Include Presenting Author, and other institutional affiliations if different from the Presenting Author):

  • Poster Presentation Title:
  • Abstract (250 – 300 words):

Please submit the above poster information to:

Robert McCrory
North Carolina Zoo

Poster submission deadline is May 1, 2024

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