AAZK San Diego’s Mission Statement

  • To promote and establish good relationships among professional zoo keepers
  • To promote and establish a means to stimulate incentive and greater interest in the zoo keeping profession
  • To support deserving conservation projects to include educating the general public about the need for preserving our natural resources and animal life through these worthwhile efforts
  • To establish materials beneficial to zoo keeper education

As part of our effort to “stimulate incentive and greater interest in the zoo keeping profession,” AAZK San Diego is proud to be able to offer educational opportunities and  financial assistance to our members.



We invite you to take advantage of our professional development grant.


American Association of Zoo Keepers San Diego

Shirley Busch Professional Development Grant


In October of 2011, AAZK San Diego lost a long time member and supporter of keepers, Shirley Busch.

Shirley was one of those people who cared deeply for the animals at the zoo and the people who took care of them. She could usually be seen visiting them when she wasn’t busy working as a volunteer in the zoo’s library. Shirley was also a generous person. She had supported the AAZK San Diego chapter and its conservation projects for many years while being a lifetime member.

Even in her death, Shirley demonstrated her commitment to AAZK San Diego and its members, while reinforcing her belief in animal care professionals. Thanks to her generosity, we are able to offer a grant to AAZK San Diego members for continuing education in animal husbandry and related fields.

The Shirley Busch Professional Development Grant is available to AAZK San Diego members that are interested in attending conferences, educational programs, and/or conservation projects.

The Shirley Busch Professional Development Grant gives applicants the ability to apply for an amount that is determined every year for reimbursements to participate in programs that will increase a keeper’s knowledge in this ever changing profession, a profession that is dedicated to conservation and the improvement of husbandry management, something Shirley was very aware of and embraced. This grant is possible because of the vision of one person. One person who believed in the people who cared for the animals she loved.

Since 2012, AAZK San Diego has had the esteemed pleasure of providing financial support to animal care professionals attending conferences and participating in conservation projects around the world. The Shirley Busch Professional Development Grant is awarded annually amidst a field of very qualified and competitive applicants.


2023 Shirley Busch Professional Development Grant Information

The Shirley Busch Professional Development Grant will award up to $250.00.

Monies may be awarded to one (1) individual or divided among two (2) or more AAZK San Diego members.

The grant may be used to attend any professional development conference or workshop that contributes to the advancement of animal care or to participate in a national or international conservation project.

The recipient MUST be both an AAZK San Diego AND an AAZK National member in good standing prior to submitting the application.

Funds will be awarded as a reimbursement once receipts are submitted following the conference or project completion.

The recipient will be required to submit an article for The Keeper newsletter and to give a presentation to AAZK San Diego members on the knowledge they gained from their professional development opportunity.

2023 APPLICATION INFORMATION: the grant will be available for any project that occurs between January 1, 2023 and December 31, 2023.

2023 APPLICATION DEADLINE: applications will be accepted from November 1, 2022 through November 30, 2022. The recipient(s) will be notified by December 31, 2022.


Link for 2023 Shirley Busch Grant Application:  AAZK San Diego – Shirley Busch Grant Application 2023 (google.com)