Everything You Need to Know about 
EMA's 43rd Annual Conference

Hosted by Milwaukee County Zoo

October 10-14, 2022

After two years of successfully hosting virtual conferences, the Elephant Managers Association (EMA) is proud to announce that the Milwaukee County Zoo will host the 43rd annual EMA conference October 10-14, 2022. The conference will include a pre-conference workshop at the Milwaukee County Zoo, two days packed with live presentations, a day at the Milwaukee County Zoo, a banquet and silent auction, and a post-conference trip to Brookfield Zoo. Our host has partnered with the Radisson Hotel Milwaukee West in Wauwatosa, WI, for lodging and conference room accommodations. To register for this year's EMA conference and make your hotel reservations, please refer to the information below.

EMA partners with elephant programs that stand out as leaders in the elephant community to host the annual conference. The annual gathering promotes the cooperative exchange of information, open channels of communication, and meaningful networking opportunities for elephant care professionals. Host facilities are chosen based on their commitment to elephants, their support of conservation and research efforts, their hospitality, and their demonstrated willingness to foster growth and development in all who work closely with elephants.

EMA President Vernon Presley stated, “EMA is very excited to bring back our traditional in-person conference. We are very grateful for the Milwaukee County Zoo for their commitment to host in 2022. Elephant professionals from around the world will have the opportunity to visit Milwaukee’s elephant care center and outdoor habitat which is four times larger than their former one. State-of-the-art features in this new complex provide the zoo’s African elephant ambassadors new and exciting ways to experience their environment and to make an impact for their species and makes this EMA conference one you don’t want to miss. The EMA conference is great time for elephant professionals to come together and learn from colleagues while experiencing Milwaukee County Zoo’s top-notch hospitality. We are planning a conference filled with training demonstrations, workshops, and paper presentations that will give everyone plenty of opportunities to discover new ideas.”

Each conference attracts approximately 200 delegates for several days filled with formal presentations from around the world. EMA's annual conference is the most accessible and affordable opportunity for elephant care professionals to expand their knowledge and professional network. Delegates will receive cutting edge information focusing on professional elephant management trends and will have the unique opportunity to see firsthand the methods employed by other established elephant programs.

With the help of the EMA Board of Directors and the Executive and Conference Committees, the Milwaukee County Zoo will have the opportunity to showcase the features that make it a premier elephant program and an ideal location for attendees to explore.

We are working to ensure this year's in-person conference is safe by abiding by Milwaukee County Zoo's COVID-19 policies. The Milwaukee County Zoo is dedicated to the well-being and safety of EMA delegates, staff, and animals, and will continue to follow the required guidelines related to COVID-19. During the EMA conference, face masks and hand sanitizer will be available, and space will be provided to allow for social distancing. We encourage delegates to follow all CDC guidelines before, during, and after travel. Changes to Zoo operations and protocols may occur at any time. EMA attendees will be asked to follow all Milwaukee County guidelines in place at the time of the conference. 

For all conference-related questions, please contact Erin Dowgwillo, Milwaukee County Zoo's Elephant Manager, at ema2022mke@gmail.com, or the EMA Conference Committee at conference@elephantmanagers.com.

Conference Itinerary

Click here to view the detailed conference schedule.

Sunday, October 9: Board of Directors meeting (invitation only)

Monday, October 10: Pre-conference workshop at zoo (separate registration necessary), ice-breaker in the evening

Tuesday, October 11: Paper sessions at conference hotel

Wednesday, October 12: Paper sessions at conference hotel*

Thursday, October 13: Day at Milwaukee County Zoo, with banquet and silent auction at end of the day

Friday, October 14: Post-conference trip to Brookfield Zoo (separate registration necessary)

*After paper sessions on October 12, sit back and sip your favorite cocktail (or soft drink) and relax during a happy hour boat tour. Conference delegates will enjoy a two-hour cruise of the Milwaukee River, Harbor, and Lake Michigan. Get a glimpse of Milwaukee's Skyline, Historic Third Ward Downtown area, and Walker's Point neighborhoods before heading under the Hoan Bridge out into the open water. Be a part of history and join us on our first EMA boat cruise.

Conference Registration

To attend this year's EMA Conference on October 10-14,2022, please click here or visit the following link:
https://shop.milwaukeezoo.org/#/Education (you must create an account through the Zoo's website to register)

After September 10, late registration for both members and non-members is $240, which includes the entire conference and a conference t-shirt.

Please note that we are working to ensure this year's in-person conference is safe by abiding by Milwaukee County Zoo's COVID-19 policies. The Milwaukee County Zoo is dedicated to the well-being and safety of EMA delegates, staff, and animals, and will continue to follow the required guidelines related to COVID-19. During the EMA conference, face masks and hand sanitizer will be available, and space will be provided to allow for social distancing. We encourage delegates to follow all CDC guidelines before, during, and after travel. Changes to Zoo operations and protocols may occur at any time. EMA attendees will be asked to follow all Milwaukee County guidelines in place at the time of the conference.

Customize your Conference with Pre- and Post-conference Options

A limited number of delegates can attend our pre-conference workshop at the Milwaukee County Zoo held for elephant professionals. The workshop will be a mix of live demonstrations and theory discussions with the Milwaukee County Zoo elephant herd. The pre-conference workshop is $30.

Our post-conference trip will be at the Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield, IL. The zoo houses around 450 species of animals on 216 acres. Species include black rhinos, lowland tapirs, clouded leopards, and more. The post-conference trip is $40.

To register for either the pre-conference workshop or the post-conference trip, please select "EMA Conference Add Ons" on our registration website.

Can't make the whole EMA conference this year? No problem. Sign up for the days you can attend. Please visit our conference registration website and select "EMA Conference Add Ons."

EMA Conference Ice-breaker $50

EMA Paper Session (Day 1) $80

EMA Paper Session (Day 2) $80

EMA Banquet $35

Conference T-shirts

The Milwaukee County Zoo will be celebrating the occasion with conference t-shirts. All fully registered conference attendees will receive a conference t-shirt as part of their package. All others interested in purchasing a conference t-shirt can visit our conference registration website and select "EMA Conference Add Ons" (page 2). EMA conference t-shirts are $15 each.

Hotel Accommodations

To book your hotel accommodations at this year's conference venue, please click here or visit:

Join us at the Radisson Hotel Milwaukee West located in Wauwatosa, WI, in the heart of Brew City and a few miles away from the Milwaukee County Zoo. This hotel is packed with vivid colors and a modern, comfortable stay, with a hotel restaurant and bar. Nearby hot spots include: Downtown Milwaukee, where you can shop for artisanal goods at the Milwaukee Public Market or peruse the eclectic art galleries in the Historic Third Ward. The Harley-Davidson Museum and American Family Field, home of the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team are just a few streets away. Room rates are $150 per night on October 10-14, 2022. Please use Promo Code (PAC)- EMAZOO when you book your room to receive the discount. This rate is guaranteed to all delegates who book prior to September 1, 2022.

Sponsor the 2022 EMA Conference

The Milwaukee County Zoo is currently seeking donations to offset the costs of the 43rd Annual EMA Conference. All contributors will be recognized throughout the conference during our program and through signage. This is a wonderful opportunity to show your support for both elephants and elephant professionals. To learn more about how you or your organization can help donate to the 2022 EMA Conference, please view Milwaukee County Zoo's Sponsorship Letter.

EMA 2022 Call for Papers

EMA is now accepting papers for our 2022 conference. Please complete the Call for Papers form or visit:

All forms and abstracts are due July 1, 2022, and can be submitted using the linked form above. The Conference Committee will be selecting papers that cover all topics in elephant management. All presentations will be 15 minutes long with a five-minute question-and-answer period. Presenters will be selected and notified by July 25, 2022. Once selected as a presenter, the Conference Committee will contact you about the conference schedule and other details regarding your presentation. With questions, please contact conference@elephantmanagers.com.

2022 Conference Keynote Speakers

The EMA is proud to announce our conference keynote speakers, Dr. Dennis Schmitt and Dr. George Wittemyer.

Dennis Schmitt, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACT is Professor Emeritus in the William H. Darr College of Agriculture at Missouri State University. He has been an EMA member since 1986. As an author and co-author, he has published over 100 papers on elephant health, reproduction, and physiology. He was the veterinarian for the team that produced the first elephant born from artificial insemination as well as the first survivor of elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV) in the world. Dr. Schmitt recently retired as Senior Veterinary Advisor for White Oak Conservation in Yulee, FL, which holds the largest herd of Asian elephants in North America. He was the Director of Veterinary Care and Research for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and the Center for Elephant Conservation for 16 years. Dr. Schmitt has served as a reproductive and veterinary advisor for the AZA Elephant TAG management group since 1987, and he is a member of the EEHV Advisory Group. Dr. Schmitt was also a founding member of the International Elephant Foundation, formed in 1999. He continues to be active in retirement performing elephant reproductive exams, artificial inseminations, and consulting services regarding elephant health for elephant holding facilities.

George Wittemyer, PhD serves as the Chairman of the Scientific Board of Save the Elephants and is a professor in the Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology at Colorado State University. He is a global expert on elephant conservation and behavior, with his current research program focusing on determining how landscapes, humans, and climate impact elephant demography, distribution, and movement. As a Fulbright Fellow in 1997, he founded the long-term Samburu elephant monitoring project, on which he has been working ever since. He completed his PhD in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at the University of California, Berkeley in 2005 on the socio-ecology of the Samburu elephants. He joined the IUCN's African Elephant Specialist Group in 2008. Dr. Wittemyer is currently working directly on elephant conservation projects in Kenya, Central African Republic, and Namibia as well as collaborating on elephant conservation projects across African and Asia.

Donate to the EMA Conference Silent Auction

Each year during the annual conference, the host facility gathers items for a silent auction. The silent auction is held during the conference's banquet night. All proceeds from the silent auction help fund our scholarships awarded to two EMA members annually. We are currently gathering elephant books, art, and collectibles. Even if you are not able to attend the 2022 EMA Conference, you can still donate your items. We encourage all donors to donate items via mail before the conference. All donations must be submitted with a donation form and shipped to the address indicated on the form. To donate, please complete the EMA Silent Auction Donation Form, and print and send with your items to the address listed on the form.

Become an EMA Conference Vendor

Each year, the EMA conference provides a unique opportunity to promote products, services, and information about your organization or business. This is your chance to cultivate relationships and stay informed among the elephant community. EMA conference vendors are staged outside of the paper session in a hall or foyer at the conference venue. During each break, during meals, and after each day of paper sessions, you can make the connections your business or organization needs. Vendors are permitted to make points of sale with delegates and further advertise their businesses or organizations. Attending the EMA conference as a vendor is one of the most important ways you can share your information directly with this specialized audience.

All vendors should complete the EMA Vendor Form and send the completed version to the EMA Conference Committee at conference@elephantmanagers.com. All vendors will be notified within two weeks of their application status. EMA conference vendors will be charged $175 to cover rental fees and other conference-related expenses. All representatives working at a vendor table must also be registered for the entire conference, allowing them to participate in all aspects of the conference and to enjoy all the meals that are provided to conference attendees.

The Elephant Managers Association (EMA) is an international, 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization.

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