Skip to main content
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 7 – 11, 2018

Available Formats

Professional Training (MCCS 0523, 3.75 CEUs)


Professional Training: $1231 – $1,781*

*(Includes registration, lodging, and meals)

Scholarships & financial aid


Apply by February 26, 2018 for first consideration

Payment due by March 12, 2018

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.
Barbara Henry
Curator of Nutrition
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
Barbara co-advises several Species Survival Plans and Taxon Advisory Group programs within the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and helped form the Zoo Nutrition and Wildlife Foundation in 2012. 
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.


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, D.C., 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 ($381) 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 Sunday, May 6 – Saturday, May 12, including a shared room with bathroom (single rooms available at extra cost)

Interested in Commuting?

With course coordinator’s written approval in advance of registration/payment, local participants may elect to stay off campus, waive the housing and dining package, and commute to this course. Meals in the Dining Commons can then be purchased individually as needed.

Zoo Nutrition Management

“This course provided knowledge that can be taken back and applied in my home commissary. It was great to connect with individuals from other zoos and build a network of support.”

course participant 2017
Take the next step toward a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity