Soaring For Accreditation
“We will be known by the tracks that we leave behind.” ~ Dakota proverb
It’s an exciting time here at Hawk Creek! One of the most thrilling endeavors we have embarked on is starting the accreditation process for the Zoological Association of America (ZAA). The ZAA was founded on the principles of establishing high standards when it comes to the protection of wildlife.
In regards to conservation, the ZAA looks for organizations that contribute more than just the protection and reintroduction of species. They search for those who also have breeding programs with ethical motives, rewarding results, and the global welfare of wildlife in mind. Participation in breeding programs is crucial to make sure that species have diverse and healthy genetics. Education is another prioritized pillar of the ZAA’s standards. Making sure the public is informed and excited about conservation efforts is a vital way to raise awareness and to encourage action. In addition, it provides the ability for people to reconnect with their roots in nature. The care and growth of animal ambassadors touches the lives of people who might otherwise never get the opportunity to see them. In the words of Baba Dioum said, “In the end, we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand and we will understand only what we are taught.”
The ZAA accreditation process is rigorous and lengthy, and is only given to those organizations that meet or surpass the expectations of the standards presented. Hawk Creek is taking the necessary steps to earn this accreditation. In order to be accredited, the ZAA reviews everything about an organization. This includes the condition of the facility, record keeping, manuals, protocols, knowledge and quality of animal care, and the quality of breeding and educational programs. At Hawk Creek, we already share the mission and expectations that the ZAA has for their members. At the beginning of 2018 we started to undergo the accreditation process. We are spending the winter preparing for our spring site visit to start the process.
We had the fortunate pleasure of sending Tiffany Cimino and Jarod Miller, members of our team, to the ZAA conference in fall of 2018. There they learned new and innovative ways to approach conservation and animal husbandry. The conference provided lectures from prestigious members of the zoological community and allowed an opportunity to network and build relationships with other organizations with similar missions and values. Now we are armed with new knowledge and ready to continue growing and expanding our efforts. Every day we continue to take steps required to attain this prestigious honor. There is no doubt it has been and will continue to be a lot of work, but in the end it will yield a great accomplishment.