Session 1

Fundamentals of Reptile Enrichment & Training – Tim Van Loan

When working with reptiles, there are many considerations that a trainer must take into account, different from other groups of animals. With stereotypes about reptiles abounding, the reptile enrichment and training program at the ABQ BioPark works to combat preconceived notions and educate about the variety of abilities possessed by reptiles. Join Tim Van Loan, Behavior & Enrichment Manager of the ABQ BioPark, to explore the fundamentals of providing goal-based enrichment and training to the reptile collection and consider new ways to help the reptiles and learners in your life show off their natural talent!

Session 2

The Next Step in Reptile Training – Ari Bailey

Reptile training is happening and every year more and more keepers, collectors and even breeders are utilizing the science of behavior change to provide higher levels of welfare for the reptiles in their care. Even though widespread reptile training still seems to be in its infancy, it has been going on for more than a decade in many facilities. Now, groundbreaking studies and trials are making herp keepers think more about training their animals to voluntarily participate in many behaviors for their health care, daily husbandry, and even encounters with guests. A corner is being turned and soon this idea will be the norm instead of the rarity. It is time to take our skills to the next level and elevate what we are already doing so that training in this area of unique and intelligent animals becomes as regular as shifting big cats on and off exhibit or teaching primates to follow a target. It is an extremely exciting time as we learn how to apply modern training practices to this amazing group of animals. 

Session 3

NEI TEC in Conversation –Ari Bailey, Tim Van Loan, and Steve Martin

A panel discussion of NEI TEC faculty members. They gather to have a conversation about their thoughts on the presentations and questions from the previous sessions, as well as the best practices in reptile training, enrichment, and welfare. The panelists share their final thoughts and answer attendee questions.