Zoo News

Dec 10, 2018

Buffalo Zoo President Named to Accreditation Commission for AZA

Norah Fletchall, Buffalo Zoo President and CEO, has been appointed to serve on the Accreditation Commission for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

As a voting Commissioner of the Accreditation Commission, Fletchall, along with 11 other leaders in the zoological profession, are responsible for establishing and upholding AZA’s rigorous accreditation standards.

“Serving on the commission requires countless hours evaluating voluminous materials and lengthy reports to ensure accreditation is granted only to zoos and aquariums that have exceeded our rigorous, ever-improving standards,” said Dan Ashe, President and CEO of AZA. “Norah’s experience in animal health and welfare and her dedication will be an asset to our team.”

AZA’s Accreditation Commission consists of a Chairperson, eleven voting Commissioners, and four non-voting Advisors who specialize in the fields of operations, animal welfare and management, and veterinary medicine.  Commission members are required to maintain impartiality at all times and to take action based upon AZA standards and policies.  Appointees must actively serve as accreditation inspectors, must hold leadership roles at their institutions, and must be considered as experts in their fields.

Chair of the AZA Accreditation Commission, Dr. Jeff Wyatt had this to say, “Norah Fletchall’s sound judgment, respected position in the conservation science community and demonstrated commitment for continuous improvement in zoo and aquarium programming make her a most valued addition to the AZA Commission on Accreditation.”

Norah Fletchall is a passionate lifelong advocate of connecting people to wildlife and wild places. A zoo management professional with more than 30 years’ experience, Norah started her career as a zookeeper and through the decades has held several high profile leadership roles, managing all aspects of zoo management from finance to conservation, exhibit design, education, daily operations, and strategic planning.  Along with her new position she also currently serves as the Chair of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Ethics Board. Norah dedicates her time to mentoring and helping the next generation of zoo leaders grow and develop and feels privileged to lead the team that is carrying the Buffalo Zoo boldly onward into the future.

Fletchall had this to say about her appointment, “Being a part of the Commission is a tremendous honor and one with great responsibility. We set and uphold the standard of what it means to be a member of AZA. I look forward to joining my colleagues on the Commission as we work to evaluate, mentor, guide, and grow all current and future AZA institutions.”

AZA’s Accreditation Commission reviews accreditation applications from the best aquariums, nature centers, science centers, and zoos in the world. The accreditation process includes a detailed application and a meticulous on-site multiple-day inspection by an independent team of trained zoological professionals. Detailed reports from the inspection team and the facility alike are then thoroughly evaluated by the Accreditation Commission. The Commission is tasked with reviewing applications for accreditation and certification, conducting interviews, identifying concerns, and evaluating all available information in order to make final decisions.  In addition, Commission members monitor accredited institutions and certified related facilities in between cycles, and provide mentoring, training and guidance.

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