The Riverbanks Zoo and Garden Chapter of the American Association of Zoo Keepers (Riverbanks AAZK) is one of many chapters that makes up a national organization. All of the chapters are unique in that they can define what is important to their individual members, but they all come together for certain causes. One of the biggest examples of that right now is the national Bowling For Rhinos events that every chapter contributes to. Because of each individual chapter, in the 27 years that this cause has been supported, $7 million dollars has been raised for rhino conservation. Every year the amount grows, with over $600,000 of that raised in 2017 alone!
While all of our chapter's members work for Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, we are not all zoo keepers (our title is a little misleading). AAZK began as a way to connect professionals across the field through professional development opportunities and ways to support conservation causes that we care about as animal professionals. It has grown and changed over the years, and as it has grown, more zoo professionals have been drawn to the organization for the same reason as the founders. Today, we are an organization that supports many local and global organizations, and we have been able to annually send members to training courses and conferences. To learn more about what we have accomplished, check out the "About Us" drop down for fundraising and professional development information.
To learn more about either Riverbanks Zoo & Garden or AAZK as a national movement, please click the logos below.
Jane Solimine (she/her/hers) - President
Gorilla/Small Mammal Keeper
Favorite Animal I Work With: Patrick the Western Lowland Gorilla
Favorite AAZK Event: Conservation on Tap- benefits The Fishing Cat Fund
Katelyn (she/her/hers) - Vice President & Secretary
Gorilla/Small Mammal Keeper
Favorite Animal I Work With: Golden lion tamarins are my favorite animal to work with
Favorite AAZK Event: BFR is my favorite event that we do
Amy Gooding (she/her/hers) - Treasurer
Favorite Animal I Work With: Being the Bird Center keeper, I really enjoy working with any chicks that we are hand raising at the time. Outside of breeding season, I enjoy the Curl-crested Aracaris and Superb Starlings
Favorite AAZK Event: I enjoy all of them, but Painting With A Purpose is a favorite
Rebekah White (she/her/hers)- Chapter Liaison
Favorite Animal I Work With: The pigs down at the farm. I love training our female Harper, and they always have the most fun with their enrichment.
Favorite AAZK Event: Bowling for Rhinos!
Alyson Proveaux (she/her/hers) - Zoo Liaison
Curator of Mammals
Favorite Animal I Work With: I don't get to work directly with the animals as much anymore, but my favorite thing to do is help keepers grow and succeed in their careers, and help them however I can to help better the welfare of the animals in our care!
Favorite AAZK Event: Bowling for Rhinos! It is our biggest event, and so much fun to see everyone from all departments of the zoo come out to enjoy this event, and I love that members of the public show up to support rhinos as well! It is one of the events that has the biggest impact, since all of the chapters all over the country come together to raise money for not just the rhinos, but the habitats that they live in! It is a conservation effort that works to save plant and animal species alike!