About IZE


Article 1 – General Provisions

Under the name “International Zoo Educators Association” (IZE) exists, for an indefinite period of time, as a non-profit organization with international membership. The association office is located at Tampa, Florida, USA. The business year coincides with the calendar year. The International Zoo Educators Association was established after a meeting of zoo education officers held in Frankfurt/Main, Federal Republic of Germany on September 6th, 1972. The Association operated under the terms of articles 60-78 of the Swiss Civil Code until 2014, when it began operating as a non-profit organization within the United States.

Article 2 Mission

The IZE is an association dedicated to expanding the educational impact of living collections in facilities such as zoos, aquariums, wildlife reserves, sanctuaries and nature centers worldwide. Its mission is to improve the education programs in the facilities of its members, to provide access to the latest thinking, techniques, and information in conservation education and to support excellence in animal care and welfare. IZE facilitates communication and professional development among zoo/aquarium educators and supports liaison with related organizations such as WAZA (the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums), IUCN, in particular the IUCN/SSC-CBSG (Conservation Breeding Specialist Group), and others.

Article 3 Objectives

The IZE shall:

  • promote greater and more effective use of zoological gardens, aquariums, nature/wildlife centers and wildlife reserves, (hereinafter collectively referred to as zoos’), for educational purposes;
  • encourage and facilitate the networking, idea exchange and cooperation among professionals concerned with and interested in enhancing the educational work of zoos;
  • promote the organization of regular conferences on the educational work of zoos;
  • aid in the professional development activities of zoo educators by regularly communicating with members through print and electronic means;
  • serve as the professional organization charged with the responsibility for integrating conservation education objectives of the World Zoo Conservation Strategy into zoo programs and materials;
  • strive to provide financial support to zoo education professionals from developing countries for attendance in IZE-sponsored conferences and training workshops;
  • represent the interests of its members to other relevant organizations;
  • organize, promote and co-sponsor biennial conferences, regional meetings and such professional development activities and workshops as are deemed appropriate by the Executive Board;
  • prioritize the promotion of wildlife and environmental conservation in all education — teaching and learning activities and to adopt the conservation of wildlife and environment as the driving force and inspiration for all activities of the organization.


Article 4 Membership Categories


Membership of the Association shall be open to any person or organization interested in or involved in the field of zoo, aquarium, nature/wildlife center or nature reserve education and interpretation, and who wishes to promote the aims and objectives of the Association.

There are the following categories of Members:

  • Full Members: Full membership in the Association shall be open to any individual employed full time in the field of education and interpretation within zoos in a professional capacity. Only full members shall have a vote in the elections and other decisions requiring a membership vote. Only full members in good standing may be nominated for Executive Board positions.
  • Associate Members: Associate membership shall be open to any individual supporting the objectives of the Association, who is interested in, but who may not be directly employed in the capacity of zoo education. These individuals may include zoo directors, animal curators, biologists/conservation scientists, animal keepers, university faculty and graduate students, zoo volunteers, school teachers, and educators working in protected areas.
  • Institutional Members: Institutional membership shall be open to zoos, aquariums, nature/wildlife centers and wildlife reserves. The annual fee includes full membership for up to four full time education staff members. The remainder of the membership fee collected (at least 50%) supports outreach to zoo and wildlife educators in the developing world.
  • Honorary Members: Honorary membership is awarded to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to zoo education. Recipients will usually, but not necessarily, be professional zoo educators. They do not need to be members of IZE. The Honorary Membership (HM) is free and for life unless revoked by a majority vote of the board. HMs are entitled to attend IZE Conferences on payment of the relevant members fee but may not stand for election to the Board or vote in elections. Any IZE member may nominate someone by submitting a nomination form to Secretary/Treasurer supported by two letters of recommendation (good standing) from IZE members by 31st December of the year. The election panel will comprise the IZE Board or a representative group thereof as chosen by the President. Recipients will be advised by the Secretary/Treasurer of the award within a month of the date of the decision being made. The recipients will be invited to a ceremony where we will give them certificates and a gift. IZE members will be advised of new Honorary members in the next member’s communication that goes out from the IZE Office.


Article 5 – New and Renewal Members

Applications for membership will be submitted through the IZE website: www.izea.net and be activated within 7 days.

The IZE Administrator will notify the applicant of acceptance and send the welcome letter along with payment instructionsMembership may be denied in the Association if it is deemed that the individual’s or institution’s membership would conflict with the objectives of the Association.

For renewal memberships, the applicant should fill out the renewal form found on the IZE website and submit payment.

Membership in the Association will be effective upon payment of membership dues.

Article 6 Termination of Members Termination of Membership

The membership comes to an end by non-payment of membership dues, the resignation or the exclusion of the member.

Resignation of membership shall be sent to the Central Office which will notify the Executive Board accordingly. If a full member resigns from professional zoo education, but still wishes to be associated with the Association, then that person’s category will be changed from full member to associate member at the end of the current calendar year.

No refunds, of whole or any part of the annual fee will be made under any circumstances.

The Executive Board may, after having given a warning, with two-thirds majority of its vote suspend for any period the rights and obligations of a Member, or exclude a Member who

  • has not accomplished its financial obligations towards the Association;
  • has acted against the aims and principles of the Association;
  • has brought the Association to disrepute.

A Member affected by a suspension or exclusion shall be informed of the reasons for the action in writing by the Central Office. It may appeal within 30 days against the decision of the Executive Board and present the case to the General Assembly which shall take a final decision.

Anyone withdrawing or being excluded from the membership waives all rights connected to the membership, but is not relieved from the liabilities of the Association.

Article 7 – Rights

Each member has the following rights:

  • to participate, against payment of an eventual congress fee, in the Biennial Conference and other meetings or other further training events organized by the Association;
  • to receive, free of charge, the Journal of the Association.

Full Members in good standing are entitled to run for Executive Board offices and to vote at the General Assembly.

Article 8 – Obligations

By joining the Association, each Member recognizes this Constitution and undertakes to follow it.

The Members undertake to pay in a timely manner the membership fee and extraordinary contributions as decided by the General Assembly.

Only the Association’s property is liable for the Association’s obligations, the liability of individual members for such obligations is explicitly excluded.

Article 9 Sponsored Members

The Association may provide financial support in the form of membership payment and/or sponsored biennial conference participation for a limited number of individuals. These individuals must be qualified to seek full membership in the Association and be unable to pay regular membership fees. Once the sponsored membership application has been officially approved by the Regional Representatives and IZE president, the new member shall be entitled to all the rights and privileges of full membership category for two years. The procedure for applying for a sponsored membership shall be laid down by the Executive Board.

Article 10 – Sanctions

There are no other sanctions than those referred to in Article 7 section 2.

Article 11 Funding

The Association is primarily funded by annual subscriptions; other potential sources of income include:

  • extraordinary contributions;
  • fees for the attendance of events organized or cosponsored by the Association;
  • proceeds from the sale of publications;
  • voluntary contributions;
  • possible subsidies from national or international governmental or non-governmental agencies.


Article 12 – Annual Membership

The annual membership dues and categories are fixed by a vote of members attending the biennial conference.

IZE memberships are based on a calendar year, January 1 through December 31, effective January 1,

Article 13 – Budget

At each biennial conference the Association’s budget shall be framed on the basis of written expense/revenue estimates submitted by the Secretary/Treasurer to the President and the Board, prior to the Conference. At the closed Executive session held during the biennial conference, a determination shall be made regarding what portion of the budget will support assistance to colleagues from the developing world and in-situ professional development activities such as workshops, regional publications or website related expenses.

Article 14 – Governing Bodies

The Association shall be composed of:

  • the General Assembly;
  • the Executive Board;
  • the Central Office,
  • the Auditors.

As a rule, the terms of Board members shall begin at the end of the biennial conference.

Article 15 – General Assembly

The General Assembly is the supreme body of the Association. The General Assembly is entitled to:

  • elect the President and the members of the Executive Board;
  • approve the minutes of its last business meeting;
  • approve the biennial report, the financial report, and the budget, and to discharge the Executive Board;
  • determine the membership fees;
  • decide on eventual extra-ordinary contributions;
  • elect the auditors or designate a trust company for the auditing;
  • decide on the alteration of the Constitution and the disintegration of the Association;
  • decide on time and venue of the next meeting of the General Assembly;
  • make suggestions for format and content of the next conference;
  • decide on objections from rejected candidates and excluded or suspended Members.

The General Assembly shall hold:

  • regular meetings at each Biennial Conference;
  • extra-ordinary meetings according to a decision by the Executive Board or upon request of 20 % of those Members who are entitled to vote.

Unless otherwise stated by this Constitution, decisions of the General Assembly are taken by the simple majority of the Full Members present and voting. In the case of a tie the President shall cast the deciding vote.

In years where no General Assembly takes place, the Full Members shall decide by electronic vote on the approval of the financial report and the budget, and to discharge the Executive Board.

Article 16 – The Executive Board

The Association shall be managed by a 14 member Executive Board. Only full members of the association may be nominated for board positions. The Executive Board decides on all matters of the Association, as far as not determined otherwise by the Constitution. It has namely the following responsibilities:

  • to convene the General Assembly and to decide on its preliminary and final agenda;
  • to present the biennial report, the financial report, and the budget to the General Assembly;
  • to execute the decisions of the General Assembly;
  • to issue rules of procedure for the General Assembly and the Board;
  • to secure the administrative services of a Central Office for the smooth running of the Association;
  • to conclude contracts on behalf of the Association;
  • to accept, suspend and exclude Members;
  • to appoint members (both full and associate) to work on sub-committees.

The Executive Board shall consist of the following officers:

  • President;
  • President elect;
  • Immediate Past President;
  • Secretary/Treasurer;
  • Journal Editor;
  • Web Editor
  • Upcoming Conference Host;
  • Regional Representatives/Journal Editors- one each for Europe/Middle East, Africa, East/North Asia, South Asia, Australia & New Zealand, North America, and Latin America; and
  • Ex-officio Member

The members of the Executive Board, with the exception of the Website Editor and the Journal Editor, shall be elected for a maximum of two consecutive terms – each term is two years. They are eligible for automatic re-election, after one term, should they wish to continue to serve the Association, but, for not more than two consecutive terms. The Website Editor and the Journal Editor can be elected for a maximum of four consecutive terms, with an automatic re-election after the first, second and third term, should they wish to continue.

The International Zoo Educators Association can function well only when the executive board members have the opportunity to meet regularly with each other. Therefore, every executive board member must attend all the biennial conference during his/her term on the board, starting with the conference immediately following his/her election or appointment.

In view of the expanded relationship between IZE and WAZA, the president or appointed board member will make best effort to attend WAZA annual conferences. All other executive board members are strongly encouraged to attend WAZA conferences wherever possible

IZE Regional Representatives also must ensure that IZE is represented at the appropriate annual or biennial zoo conferences in their home regions: AZA, SEAZA, EAZA, ALPZA, PAAZAB, SAZARC, ZAA.

Participation in the meetings listed above is vital for networking, for the smooth function of IZE, and for IZE’s support regionally and internationally. Failure to attend any of the required meetings will require approval of the IZE President, who will have the option of terminating the board term. In this event, the executive board member may appeal to the full executive board for a vote. However, any board member who misses two consecutive required meetings will be removed automatically from the executive board.

Additionally all executive board members are expected to fulfil all of the duties in their IZE job descriptions. Thus, while membership on the IZE executive board is an honor, it also requires careful consideration and commitment on the part of the executive board member and his or her institution. Individuals should join the IZE executive board only when they and their institution are confident they will have the time and financial reserve necessary to fulfil their responsibilities as detailed above. IZE will consider financial support to executive board members only when they come from developing countries and when those needs are made clear to the executive board in writing prior to appointment or election to the executive board.

Article 17 – Nomination for the Executive Board and Voting Procedure

The Secretary/Treasurer oversees the election process. Only full members who reside in the region they intend to represent shall be considered as candidates for the Regional positions.

Once full member status is verified, the Secretary/Treasurer shall organize a digital vote among all full members. This vote shall be completed and tabulated by 30th June, after which the Secretary/Treasurer shall immediately communicate the results of the election to all current Executive Board members. The results will also be posted on the web site. The general membership will be notified of the election results at the start of the biennial conference. For newly elected officers the term of office begins immediately at the end of the Conference. However, to provide leadership continuity, the outgoing officers are invited to attend the Executive Board meetings held prior to each Conference. Only current and newly elected members of the Executive Board may vote at these meetings.

Article 18 – Vacancies

The President shall have the power to fill vacant positions on the Executive Board by direct appointment as the need arises.

Article 19 – The Central Office

The President on behalf of the Executive Board shall conclude a contract or Memorandum of Agreement with the organization providing the Central Office.

Article 20 – The Auditors

The General Assembly shall annually elect two auditors or designate a trust company which will be responsible for financial auditing.

The auditors or the trust company shall report in detail to the Executive Board, inform the General Assembly in writing of the results of the audit, and recommend to approve or reject the financial report.

Article 21 – The Biennial Conference

Biennial international conferences will be held at host institutions every two years. If more than one institution vies to host the next conference, the final decision as to the site of the conference will be voted on by the General Assembly. The Executive Board must approve the potential sites before a vote by the General Assembly.

During the conference, the President shall preside over Executive Board meetings and the General Assembly. In years in which there is a new incoming President, both the newly elected President and the outgoing President (Immediate Past President) shall co-chair the business and Board meetings. Prior to the conference and during the conference the President may call meetings of the Executive Board which shall be closed.

Article 22 – Association Publications

A journal shall be issued at least annually by the Journal Editor. Should the need or opportunity arise, other publications may be issued (i.e., newsletters). The Journal shall also be used as a means of disseminating the Association’s objectives and for that reason may be sent to other organizations and institutions that are interested in the educational work of zoos. The Association will reserve the copyright of any original material published. The Journal Editor and Regional Editors will take reasonable care to see that no copyright of third parties is infringed.

Article 23 – The Association Website

The Association shall maintain its own website, that shall provide the members of the Association with the most important and outstanding news concerning the educational work in the zoos of the world an inform members of Association business. Decisions regarding the website content will be made by the Website Editor with input from the Executive Board. The Secretary/Treasurer shall issue regular payments for the maintenance of the website.

Article 24 – Alterations to the Statutes or Disintegration of the Association

Decisions on alterations to the Statutes or a motion to disintegrate the Association shall be reviewed by the Executive Board and shall be communicated to the Members, together with the Executive Board’s comments, at least three months prior to the meeting of the General Assembly.

Decisions on alterations of the Statutes or of the disintegration of the Association shall be taken by the General Assembly by a two-thirds majority of the Full Members present and voting. Votes by proxy from those Members unable to attend will be allowed, but such proxy votes must be in the hands of the Secretary/Treasurer to the Board no later than 2 hours prior to the meeting.

If the Association is to be disintegrated, the General Assembly shall decide on the utilization of the Association’s property within the following limits: The property has to be transferred to an institution or organization which signs on using the property for the purposes referred to in article 3, paragraph a, b) or d) of this Statutes.

Article 25 – Final Provisions

The English version of this Statutes is the original text.

The present Statutes enters into force with immediate effect.