Session 1

Building Resilience and Assessing Risk – Hollie Colahan

As much as we may want to, we cannot protect our animals from all the things that will frighten or frustrate them. What we can do is help them build resilience and develop the coping and problem-solving skills to navigate life’s challenges. Resilience building has been used for many years in some aspects of animal care but not considered enough in other areas. The process can present risks, and we will discuss ways to assess and mitigate these risks as well as getting the caretaker team on board with them.

Session 2

Tools for Your Animal’s Best Life – Sharon Joseph

Providing for the “best life” requires combining animal care, training and enrichment, veterinary medicine, nutrition, environment, and caretaker skills and attitudes into a holistic approach to animal welfare. Whole life planning is a tool that can be used to ensure that we are considering an animal’s welfare not just at a point in time but over its lifetime experience.

Whole Life Planning Template

Session 3

NEI TEC in Conversation – Hollie Colahan, Sharon Joseph, Marty MacPhee, Steve Martin

A panel discussion to wrap up Resilience and Welfare Assessment Week. The panelists look forward sharing final thoughts and answering attendee questions about building resilience, assessing risk, tools to improve welfare, and the people challenges that come with making it happen.

NEI TEC Welcomes Hollie Colahand and Sharon Joseph as guest speakers for Resilience and Welfare Assessment Week.  

Hollie Colahan is the Vice President of Living Collections at the Birmingham Zoo. She also serves as an instructor and course administrator for AZA Professional Training courses that focus on technical skills, leadership, and program development. She got her start as zookeeper and trainer and is passionate about helping to develop staff and culture to ensure the best life possible for the animals in our care.
Sharon Joseph is a professional zoo and animal welfare consultant with over 30 years of experience in animal care and executive leadership in zoos. She serves on the AZA Animal Welfare Committee and is an instructor in the AZA Animal Welfare and Principles of Elephant Management courses. She has developed and managed animal welfare programs and led workshops focused on program development and assessing welfare. Sharon’s focus is developing practical tools based on science and research to improve animal welfare.