Close Encounters of the Penguin Kind: Balancing Entertainment, Education and Animal Welfare This lecture will outline how and why Brookfield Zoo's popular guest Penguin Encounter was conceived, developed and implemented. It will detail how an educational, yet entertaining guest experience was balanced with exceptional animal care and welfare. Emily Venckus is a Lead Animal Care Specialist in the Bird Department at Brookfield Zoo. After earning a B.S. in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, she discovered her passion for birds and conservation. She has been working with birds for the past 20 years, beginning her zoo career in Florida at Zoo Miami. In 2010, she relocated back home to the Chicago suburbs and began employment with the Chicago Zoological Society at Brookfield Zoo in the Bird Department. Now, as a lead Animal Care Specialist, she enjoys the daily opportunity of connecting guests to wildlife and nature while ensuring all birds at the zoo receive the best care possible.