NEI-TEC Announcement

Natural Encounters, Inc. is proud to announce the opening of Natural Encounters Incorporated Training and Education Center, NEI-TEC, at our home base in Winter Haven, Florida.

NEI-TEC will offer a wide variety of workshops, symposiums, and retreats focused on animal training and welfare, team performance, and educational program production and development. It will also be the home base for a new series of online web courses which will cover specific topics and audiences within the professional animal care field. Many of these new endeavors will be housed in our new, 6,000 square-foot education center opening in June, 2020.

Web Courses

NEI is embarking on a new educational venture which will allow animal trainers, educators, and caretakers from around the world to participate in a 4-week online course taught by Steve Martin to cover specific topics in the professional animal field in extensive detail. Each week will consist of a live 90-minute lecture, accompanied by 30-minutes of open Q&A between the participants, Steve and other NEI trainers, as well as video evaluations that will allow participants to receive feedback on their own training questions and challenges.

The first course, Ambassador Animal Training and Welfare, will be offered beginning on Wednesday, April 15th, 2020, and will subsequently run each Wednesday for four weeks. This course will address creating positive reinforcement-based programs for ambassador animal collections and producing educational programs that inspire caring and lead to conservation action. The second course, Contemporary Training Applications for Animal Care Professionals, will provide an in-depth look into the artful application of scientific principals of behavior change within zoos, aquariums, and other professional animal care facilities, and more information about dates will be posted soon.

Registration for Ambassador Animal Training and Welfare is now open. Click here for more information.

Note: Class size is limited, and spots will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.

Onsite Workshops for 2020:

Dates to be announced soon!

Contemporary Animal Training and Management

Twice-yearly intensive five-day workshop for professional zoo keepers, trainers, and wildlife educators. Featuring daily lectures by Steve Martin and Dr. Susan Friedman about the art of training and the science of behavior change principals, the workshop also includes extensive hands-on training with a variety of animals at the 34-acre training facility.  

The Art of Training

Steve Martin and the senior staff of Natural Encounters, Inc., teach the fine details associated with the application of the scientific principles of behavior change. This once-a-year workshop is open to those with a good grasp on the scientific principles of operant conditioning practices, and will feature an increased emphasis on the high-level mechanical skills, problem solving, and training complex behaviors.

Note: previous attendance at an NEI training workshop, or Dr. Susan Friedman’s LLA course, is a prerequisite for registration for this course.

Contemporary Raptor Training for Professionals

A comprehensive 4-day workshop designed for those who work in a professional capacity with birds of prey and seek to increase their training and management knowledge. This workshop is designed for those with a minimum of 3 years of experience working with raptors, and includes lectures about positive reinforcement-based training techniques, falconry equipment construction and maintenance, and hands-on training sessions with a variety of birds of prey.

Contemporary Companion Parrot Behavior and Training

Twice-yearly intensive 5-day workshop designed for companion parrot owners and caretakers. Featuring daily lectures from senior NEI staff about the art of training and the science of behavior change and daily hands-on training with a variety of macaws and other animals, attendees will have the opportunity to work on both their observational and mechanical skills gaining a better understanding on techniques and problem-solving strategies that can be applied to their birds at home.

Immersion Workshops

Have you attended an NEI workshop and are now ready to take things to the next level? The Immersion Workshop experience is limited to just three student slots per workshop, and is designed to immerse attendees in all aspects of the care, management, training and other conditions of a wide variety of birds and other animals across three intensive days of non-stop training sessions and discussions.

Note: Previous attendance at an NEI training workshop is a prerequisite for registration for this course.

Workshops for 2021 and Beyond:

Many of the extraordinary trainers at Natural Encounters, Inc., will help produce all-new workshops including (but not limited to):

  • Behavior Management Program Design and Development
  • Performance Skills and Engaging Audiences
  • Producing Inspirational Education Programs
  • Creating High Performance Teams
  • Leadership Skills for First-Time Managers

NEI-TEC Faculty

  • Steve Martin, President/Chief Executive Officer (Natural Encounters, Inc.)
  • Dr. Susan Friedman – Behavior Consultant, Behavior+Works LLC; Professor Emeritus, USU
  • Marty MacPhee – Animal Behavior and Guest Experience Consultant
  • Chris Jenkins, CPBT-KA – Chief Operating Officer (Natural Encounters, Inc.)
  • Ari Bailey, CPBT-KA, CPAT-KA – Show Manager (Natural Encounters, Inc.)
  • Amy Fennell, CPBT-KA – Supervisor (Natural Encounters, Inc.)