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What You'll Study
  • Commissary design, operations, and management
  • Nutrient and energy metabolism of zoo and wild animals
  • Practical principles of feeding a wide variety of animals across all taxa
  • Diet formulation and evaluation
  • Problem-solving strategies to apply to your operation
  • How to develop a comprehensive clinical diet plan for an animal/species at your own institution

This course will be most relevant for:

  • Nutrition/animal science graduate students
  • Zoo keepers and curators
  • Commissary managers
  • Nutritionists
  • Veterinarians
  • Professionals with some previous background/experience in nutrition
Program Details

May 15-19, 2023

Available Formats

Professional Training (SMSC 0523, 3.75 CEUs)


Professional Training: $1916.00*

*Professionals from certain countries  are eligible for a reduced rate of $1349.50 which will automatically be reflected during the registration process.


Apply by March 6, 2023 for first consideration

Payment due by March 20, 2023

Meet the Faculty

Mike Maslanka
Head of Nutrition Science
Smithsonian's National Zoological Park
Mike chairs the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Nutrition Advisory Group, serves on the Zoo and Wildlife Nutrition Foundation board of directors, and advises several Species Survival Plans and Taxon Advisory Groups.
Erin Kendrick
Clinical Nutritionist
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
Erin became clinical nutritionist at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Zoo in 2012 and acts as nutrition advisor for the Ungulate, the Caprid, and the Old World Monkey Taxon Advisory Groups.
Amanda Ardente
Nutrition Consultant
Ardente Veterinary Nutrition
Dr. Ardente is a veterinarian and consulting zoo/aquatic nutritionist with experience working with zoos and aquaria across the US.
Barbara Toddes
Nutrition Program Director
Philadelphia Zoo
Barbara has worked in animal nutrition at the Philadelphia Zoo since 1984. She is the Species Survival Plan nutrition advisor for the Guam kingfisher, Geoffroy’s marmoset, and lesser slow loris.
Liz Koutsos
Dr. Koutsos is currently president of EnviroFlight, where they are commercializing black soldier fly larvae for animal feed applications. Liz works on projects concerning avian, fish, insect, sea turtle, and elephant nutrition. 


Making nutritional decisions for a wide range of species and overseeing the daily management of food purchase, storage, and preparation is complex and demanding. Through a combination of class/lecture information and applied experiential learning, the course will focus on three main aspects of nutrition program management: clinical nutrition, commissary management, and applied thinking/philosophy. It is designed to share successful nutrition philosophies, sound science, and proven management approaches.

A full day will be spent at the National Zoo in Washington, DC, and will include behind-the-scenes tours of the commissary operation, elephants, and big cats. Field trips around SCBI’s Front Royal campus, where 21 species of endangered/threatened mammals and birds are managed, will also be included as part of the out-of-classroom learning experience.

What’s Included

Acceptance does not guarantee you a seat in the course. Seats are allocated as registration payments are received, and early registration is strongly encouraged to ensure you get a spot.

The total cost includes our Housing and Dining Package ($474) and covers:

  • Registration fees
  • Instruction, course manual, and other course materials
  • Airport pick-up and drop-off shuttle service at Dulles International Airport (IAD) at specific pre-arranged times. We do not provide ground transportation shuttle service to or from any other airports in the Washington, DC, region.
  • Transportation for course activities
  • Daily full-service buffet at the SMSC Dining Commons
  • Housing at the SMSC Residential Facility, including a shared room with bathroom (single rooms available at extra cost)

Interested in Commuting?

Participants with a documented, permanent address local to campus may elect to commute with permission from SMSC. Commuters may waive the housing and dining package but are required to purchase a reduced meal plan ($60) which includes lunch and snack breaks for each day of instruction. Additional dining options are available and may be selected during registration.  Email for additional information.

“The fog has lifted. I feel that I can go back to my zoo and make scientific based and informed changes to diets and know that I am meeting the nutritional needs of a species.”

Course Participant 2019

“For any zoo professionals out there who want to up their game in providing excellent care and nutritional management of their collections and facilities, I don’t think you’ll find a more information-packed educational opportunity out there than is available in this program.”

Robert Moore Veterinarian, Wildlife Conservation Society, New York, USA
Take the next step toward a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity