AASAG Newsletters

The AASAG regularly produces Newsletters with the aim of improving communication and sharing among industry professionals who regularly work with animal ambassadors.

Please use the newsletter articles as inspiration for new presentation, husbandry, training, and management of ambassador animals.

Find PDFs of all past AASAG newsletter articles on the AZA Network Pages/Ambassador Animals/Library.

Additionally, if you would like to contribute an article to the newsletter, please see below.


Contributing to the Newsletter

Do you have an Ambassador Animal story that you’d like to share to benefit our community?  The AASAG Newsletter committee is looking for submissions for upcoming issues.

If you would like to contribute an article, the submission deadlines are as follows:






Submission Deadline

December 1

March 1

June 1

September 1

Publication Date

January 15

April 15

July 15

October 15


AASAG Communications Committee Co-Chairs

Helen Dishaw

Tracy Aviary


Jacque Williamson

Brandywine Zoo


Editor in Chief

Jac Menish, Nashville Zoo jmenish@nashvillezoo.org

Newsletter Committee Taxa Champions

The AASAG Newsletter Committee is broken into taxonomic-group champions. These champions represent different taxa and are responsible for recruiting Newsletter articles for any of the various newsletter columns each issue. This helps us to ensure balanced representation and timely submissions. If you’re interested in working on an article for the newsletter, reach out to the taxa champs with questions or submit directly to them.


Kym Janke, San Diego Zoo: kjanke@sandiegozoo.org

Kaitlyn Gabriel, Akron Zoological Park: k.gabriel@akronzoo.org

Danielle Montes De Oca, Houston Zoo: dmontesdeoca@houstonzoo.org

Terrestrial Invertebrates

Daniel Hemmann, John Ball Zoological Garden: dhemmann@jbzoo.org

Aquatic Animals

Autumn Syracuse, Aquarium of Niagara: asyracuse@aquariumofniagara.org


Helen Dishaw, Tracy Aviary: helend@tracyaviary.org


Rob Lara, Zoo Miami: Robert.Lara@miamidade.gov

Kate Dillman, Akron Zoological Park: k.dillman@akronzoo.org

Hilaire Praseuth, St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station: hpraseuth@stlouisaquarium.com

Institutional Reps for SSPs

Maureen O’Keefe, Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium: Maureen.OKeefe@pdza.org

Newsletter Columns

The sections are for organizational purposes and are not meant to be restrictive, so if you’d like to contribute but are unsure of where your article would fit, feel free to contact us.

The AASAG Newsletter includes several regularly recurring sections focusing on the strategic initiatives of the SAG. These sections include the following:

Species Spotlight: Content includes species-specific practical information on management and handling. Focus is on a different species each issue and includes information from PARIS as well as from the relevant SSP and/or TAG when possible.

Research Corner:  What’s happening in the world of ambassador animal research on welfare and visitor outcomes. Includes reports on completed research, but also studies in the planning process, researchers looking for participating institutions, etc.

Ambassadors in Action:  Highlights the different ways in which ambassador animals are used in programs, shows, encounters, and other visitor experiences. Shares the goals, benefits, and challenges of the program, how the animals are presented, and how the messaging around the animal helps us to achieve our goals.

Show and Tail:  Case-study style articles focusing on the care and training of an ambassador animal to get it “program ready,” and/or how handlers were trained to present the animal.

Supplementary articles:  Includes articles that don’t fit neatly into one of the above sections but still includes information that is relevant to the goals of the SAG.

Submitting Articles

Submit articles as a Word document with any photos included as separate jpeg files,not embedded into the document. Submissions should be in the following format:

  • Articles should be maximum of approximately 1500 words.
  • Include author name, title, institution, contact information
  • Please include photos with your article whenever possible. When appropriate,tables and figures can be included as well. Minimum recommended photo size is 300dpi at 4×6 size.

Newsletter Style Guide

To view our current style guide, complete with formatting and other information for the AASAG style, please view and review this google document.