Blank Park Zoo
Blank Park Zoo

Open 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Admission: $14 Adult | $8 Child

View All Rates ›

Open 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Admission: $14 Adult | $8 Child

View All Rates ›

Hope for the Wild Conservation Speaker Series Returns to Blank Park Zoo

January 21, 2020

Hope for the Wild Conservation Series

DES MOINES, Iowa (January 21, 2020) – Blank Park Zoo’s annual conservation speaker series will return on February 6. The series will feature three speakers that will provide an ‘in the field’ perspective to conservation.

This year’s series will feature speakers on climate, condors, and conservation canines.

“These three visionaries are leading the charge to save some of Earth’s greatest creatures,” said Chris Eckles, Blank Park Zoo chief engagement officer. “We hold these events to inform and to inspire positive change for endangered animals and our environment, both globally and locally.”

What: HOPE FOR THE WILD Speaker Series
When: February 6, March 5, April 9
Where: Blank Park Zoo Discovery Center

Time: 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Presentation

Tickets:  $15 per event, $35 for series; Purchase online at

About the speakers

Dr. Jerry Schnoor – Climate Change & Iowa

Thursday, February 6, 2020

4:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m.

As the co-director of the University of Iowa Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, Dr. Jerry Schnoor has spent over 40 years in civil and environmental engineering, studying some of humanities greatest challenges. His work primarily focuses on climate change and the environment, with an emphasis on water quality. Dr. Schnoor and his students pioneered and developed new methods to help clean water through the use of plants (phytoremediation.) For this innovative work, Dr. Schnoor received the American Chemical Society Award for Creative Advances in Environmental Science and Technology in the spring of 2019.

Chris Parish – Condors, Raptors and Lead Ammunition

Thursday, March 5, 2020

4:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m.

The Peregrine Fund’s mission is to conserve raptors, engage people and cultivate excellence. The organization has helped prevent the extinction of the California Condor, protect and conserve areas utilized by raptors, address threats facing raptor species, and inspire people to take action to change their habits, which will also help to protect raptors. Parish grew up in southern California, has served as a wildlife biologist and has been working on condor projects since 1997. He is currently the director of global conservation for the Peregrine Fund, and since 2000, he has been directing the condor project’s field effort. He comes to Blank Park Zoo’s Hope for the Wild Speaker Series with a wealth of knowledge regarding condors, raptors and lead ammunition.

Dr. Megan Parker – Working Dogs for Conservation

Thursday, April 9, 2020

4:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m.

Dogs can make great pets, but many just have too much energy to be content in a typical “pet” home. Working Dogs for Conservation gives many dogs a new purpose in life: to search for plants and animals that are often difficult to find. Dr. Megan Parker is a biologist and co-founder of Working Dogs for Conservation. Her team has rescued dogs from all over the country, training them to search out invasive plants, wildlife and poachers across the globe. She is interested in the international use of conservation canines, to help under-funded projects acquire excellent data, reduce costs and preserve endangered species. One such project she has been deeply involved with is the studying of chemical communication in African Painted Dogs. Working Dogs for Conservation even has Iowa ties, as the organization has supported the identification and removal of invasive plant species at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge.

About Blank Park Zoo

Blank Park Zoo, Iowa’s WILDEST Adventure, is open 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. during the winter. Admission rates are $14 for adults, $8 for children under 12, and $11 for seniors and active military. Children two years and under and Blank Park Zoo members are free. The Zoo is located at 7401 SW 9th St., Des Moines, IA 50315. Visit the Zoo online at The Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) The AZA is America’s leading accrediting organization that sets rigorous, professional standards for zoos and aquariums. The AZA is building North America's largest wildlife conservation movement by engaging and inspiring the 143 million annual visitors to its member institutions and their communities to care about and take action to help protect wildlife.




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