2012 Annual Symposium

Sessions and Speakers

The Longwood Graduate Fellows are pleased to offer an incredible slate of speakers hailing from across North America and the UK. This diverse array of professionals from the fields of public gardens, zoos, wildlife conservation, conservation marketing, and storytelling will share their expertise with us. Join us as we explore how various organizations are inspiring audiences through effective conservation messaging.


General Sessions


Committing to Conservation

Globally, zoos are evolving into centers of wildlife conservation at local, national and international levels. The keynote address will discuss this strategic change and highlight several examples of innovative programs including formal partnerships, informal collaborations and individual initiatives. Opportunities exist for zoos, botanical gardens, park systems and others to impart a strong conservation message in the visitor experience. As Executive Director for sixteen years, Jerry Borin developed Columbus Zoo and Aquarium into a “model for zoos across the country.” This has included groundbreaking new exhibits and global conservation outreach rooted in solid local community support.


Eden Project: Building a Garden Around a Message

The Eden Project strives to show that we are able to live harmoniously and sustainably with our environment. This session will explore what it means to build a garden around a message, and will use the case study of selling Impatiens 'Ray of Hope,' bred from a critically endangered plant, to raise money and awareness for conservation of the Seychelles flora. Dr. Alistair Griffiths is the Horticultural Science Curator at the Eden Project, one of the world’s newest and most innovative large public gardens. He earned his PhD in Botanical Conservation based on the conservation of Seychelles Island endemic plant species.


Inspiration for Conservation by Design

In the context of overall US zoo conservation efforts, and speaking with twenty years of experience with integrated design for conservation messaging at the Bronx Zoo, this session will analyze what actually works to “sell” conservation. The lecture will cover the connection between US living museums expertise and the 'bois des geants' conservation project in Gabon. John Gwynne led Bronx Zoo’s Exhibition and Graphic Arts department for twenty-seven years as Chief Creative Officer and Vice President. His expertise is now applied in conservation projects worldwide on behalf of the Wildlife Conservation Society.


Building Capacity for Conservation: A Sampling of Successful Zoo and Aquarium Strategies

Zoos were established as menageries but began to evolve and are now leaders in the field of animal conservation. This session will illustrate some current conservation strategies employed by American zoo and aquarium facilities, ranging from collaborations and species survival plans to conservation education programs whose purpose is to engage the citizens of the world to take action. Catherine Hubbard is the Botanic Garden Manager and directs horticulture and education throughout the Albuquerque BioPark, which includes a zoo, aquarium, botanical garden and park. She has over thirty years of experience working within these institutions.


The Last Hippopotamus

How would we save “the last hippopotamus”? And, would it matter if we did? Successful conservation is about great storytelling, but it’s also about connecting the dots—helping people understand the links between the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the last hippopotamus. Kathy Wagner, consultant and former Vice President for Conservation and Education at the Philadelphia Zoo, will stimulate thinking about message relevance and effective evaluation techniques for measuring impact.


Storytelling Sessions


Stories of Conservation

Sally O’Byrne will share the significance of conservation messaging through the art of storytelling. Sally has been a teacher and naturalist for over twenty years. She is President of the Delmarva Ornithological Society and also board member of Hawk Mountain Sanctuary and Delaware Nature Society.


The Expressive Potential of Media

Andrew Losowsky is the Books Editor of the Huffington Post, award winning journalist, playwright, content curator, and thinker. He describes his complex and creative blend of roles simply: “I create remarkable experiences, and don’t understand the purpose of any other kind.” He will dramatically explain what makes a story compelling.