Lectures & Presentations

Spring Lecture Series

Our exciting Lecture Series features an array of fascinating topics. The best part: you can tune in from the comfort of your own home! We hope you can join us on these virtual expeditions where we will learn from the experts about Brookfield Zoo's rich history, incredible animals, and innovative conservation programs. This program is sponsored by the Chicago Zoological Society Associates.

Check back for our fall lecture series announcement coming soon!

March 9, 2022, 7 p.m.
Blanding’s Turtle Conservation at Chicago Zoological Society

ASnider-(4).jpg Speaker: Andy Snider, Curator Herpetology and Aquatics – Chicago Zoological Society

In partnership with the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, CZS has supported Blandings turtle conservation since 2011 in two primary ways.  The first is a head-start program, where hatchlings are brought to the zoo in May each year from several sources such as Peggy Notebaert Nature Center and the Cosley Zoo.  The second is a breeding pond located off-exhibit at the zoo. This part of the initiative just came into fruition two years ago, when the now-adult turtles started breeding naturally in that area!  Join Herp and Aquatic curator Andy Snider for a look into CZS’s strategies for rearing and supporting the endangered Blandings turtle.

Andy Snider is Curator of Herps and Aquatics at the Chicago Zoological Society. He oversees all aspects of the reptile, amphibian, fish, and invertebrate programs and habitats here at the zoo.  This includes CZS’s role in the endangered Blandings turtle program, in partnership with local facilities and the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County.  He has been in the zoo world for 38 years, including the last 8 here at CZS.


March 23, 2022, 7 p.m.
Blanding’s Turtle Recovery Program

Speaker: Dan Thompson, Ecologist – Forest Preserves of DuPage County

The Blanding’s turtle became a state Threatened species in Illinois in 1999 and downgraded to an Endangered species in 2009.  The Blanding’s turtle is struggling throughout much of its’ range in North America.  In DuPage County, remaining populations of Blanding’s turtles were critically low and consisted solely of older turtles. In response the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County started a Blanding’s turtle recovery program in 1996.  Recovering a species at the brink of extinction is a daunting task.  The District has joined forces with many partners including Brookfield Zoo to save this imperiled turtle.

Dan Thompson is a wildlife ecologist with the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County.  He has been with the District for 33 years. He has worked 12 years as a resource technician working on many habitat restoration projects and the last 21 years working closely with local DuPage wildlife populations. He will talk about the work occurring to save the Blanding’s turtle.


April 6, 2022, 7 p.m. 
Conservation of Biological Diversity in the Forest Preserves of Cook County

Speaker: Chris Anchor, Wildlife Biologist – Forest Preserves of Cook County

Join Wildlife Biologist Chris Anchor for an informative discussion about the research and management relative to the conservation of biological diversity in the Forest Preserves of Cook County, IL.  Topics include: Urban Coyote Study, fish telemetry, mega-fauna (Bear, Wolf, Mountain lion, Otters, Badgers), and Zoonotic disease surveillance.




April 21, 2022, 7 p.m.
Maintaining Traditions of the Ancestors and Restoring to Health the Natural Environment

Speaker: Joseph Standing Bear Schranz, President of Midwest SOARRING Foundation

For over 30 years, Joseph Standing Bear has been an activist supporting Native American issues, including protection and restoration of local plants, animals, natural areas and sacred sites in Illinois and throughout the nation. Hear about the history of the Midwest SOARRING Foundation and its role in conservation success stories such as the establishment a bison herd, protection of over 1,900 acres of land throughout Illinois, the designation of Plum Island as a Bald Eagle sanctuary, and more.

Joseph Standing Bear is a member of the White Earth Band Minnesota Ojibwe Nation and the president of the Midwest SOARRING (Save Our Ancestor's Remains & Resources Indigenous Network Group) Foundation.



May 4, 2022, 7 p.m.
The Story of Monty and Rose, the Piping Plovers of Montrose Beach Dunes

TamimaItani.jpgSpeaker: Tamima Itani

In the spring of 2019, then again in 2020 and 2021, Monty and Rose, a pair of endangered Piping Plovers, nested at Montrose Beach Dunes, the first such event in Chicago since 1948. The Piping Plovers and their chicks weaved themselves into the hearts of birders and non-birders alike, becoming local and national celebrities and stellar ambassadors for their species. Tamima Itani, Volunteer Coordinator, Board Member of the Illinois Ornithological Society and author of the childrens' book "Monty and Rose Nest at Montrose" will share her love of Piping Plovers, describing Piping Plover life history, how the Great Lakes Piping Plover Recovery Effort is bringing these birds back, and sharing stories from the Chicago experience.

Tamima Itani is a retired regulatory affairs professional, having previously spent her career seeking global approvals for medical devices.  She now actively pursues her birding, photography and travel passions and related conservation efforts.  In 2019, she became closely involved in the nesting saga of Monty and Rose at Montrose Beach Dunes in Chicago and has led the volunteer monitoring efforts since.   She is the author of "Monty and Rose Nest at Montrose," a children's book published in 2021‚Äč.

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Have questions? Contact the Education Department at adultlearning@czs.org

Cancellation and Refund Policy


Brookfield Zoo has developed many tools to assist educators in sharing information about animals, science, and caring - the things that form the basis of conservation at the zoo and in the wild. We encourage educators to use the information gathered by the zoo to share concepts about data gathering and scientific research, and to use the zoo's charismatic animals to help inspire excitement for learning. Be informed, entertained, and engaged by special classes just for teachers. Plus you can earn PDCHs and optional graduate credit through Dominican University.



The Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) is a conservation-focused, inquiry-driven learning experience that combines web-based graduate courses through Miami University with exciting face-to-face experiential and field study at Brookfield Zoo. Students in this national degree program contribute to social and ecological change in their communities. The opportunity to earn credits from international travel is another exciting part of the program. And the best news of all – it’s affordable!