This event is sold out

7:00 pm – 8:30 pm


About the Series

Jane Goodall – First Recipient of the Cincinnati Zoo’s WILDLIFE CONSERVATION AWARD

Since 1993, the series has brought a slate of esteemed naturalists and scientists to Cincinnati to address wildlife issues and global conservation efforts.

The Barrows Conservation Lecture Series is made possible by the ongoing support of the family of Winifred & Emil Barrows.

For the last 25 years, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden has presented its Wildlife Conservation Award to one of its Barrows Conservation Lecture Series speakers. The 2017 award was presented on May 3 to Dr. Craig Packer, a distinguished McKnight University Professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior at the University of Minnesota, for his outstanding work with lions in the Serengeti. Read more>> 

2017 Speakers


Wednesday, May 31 

at Cincinnati Zoo’s Peacock Pavilion

Joel Sartore is a photographer, speaker, author, teacher, conservationist, National Geographic Fellow, and a regular contributor to National Geographic Magazine. His hallmarks are a sense of humor and a Midwestern work ethic.

Joel specializes in documenting endangered species and landscapes in order to show a world worth saving. He is the founder of the National Geographic Photo Ark, a multi-year project to document every species in captivity—inspiring people not just to care, but also to help protect these animals for future generations. A special outdoor Photo Ark exhibition will also be opening at the Cincinnati Zoo this spring. Two new National Geographic Photo Ark books, The Photo Ark, and Animal Ark, will be on sale wherever books are sold this spring. National Geographic Photo Ark fans are also invited to join the conversation on social media with #SaveTogether and learn more about how to get involved with the project at

In his words, “It is folly to think that we can destroy one species and ecosystem after another and not affect humanity. When we save species, we’re actually saving ourselves.

Joel has written several books including RARE: Portraits of America’s Endangered Species, Photographing Your Family, and Nebraska: Under a Big Red Sky. His most recent book, Let’s Be Reasonable is now available wherever books are sold.

In addition to the work he has done for National Geographic, Joel has contributed to Audubon Magazine, Time, Life, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated and numerous book projects. Joel and his work are the subjects of several national broadcasts including National Geographic’s Explorer, the NBC Nightly News, NPR’s Weekend Edition and an hour-long PBS documentary, At Close Range. He is also a regular contributor on the CBS Sunday Morning Show with Charles Osgood.

Joel is always happy to return to home base from his travels around the world. He lives in Lincoln, Nebraska with his wife Kathy and their three children.

The Cincinnati Zoo is thrilled to be 1 of 3 locations hosting traveling  National Geographic Photo Ark for its debut tour this summer! National Geographic photographer and Fellow Joel Sartore’s photos featuring species from zoos and aquariums around the world will be displayed throughout the Cincinnati Zoo from May 19 to August 20. This exhibition is organized by the National Geographic Society and Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium.

Click here for a special NPR interview with National Geographic contributing photographer & 2017 Barrows Lecture speaker Joel Sartore on his new photography book, The Photo Ark.

National Geographic Photo Ark | May 19 – Aug 20 at the Cincinnati Zoo

The “National Geographic Photo Ark” exhibition will highlight more than 50 of Sartore’s most compelling images and provide visitors with the unique opportunity to come face to face with animals from the National Geographic Photo Ark. Sartore has worked in more than 250 zoos, aquariums and animal rescue centers around the world. Many of the images featured were taken at the Cincinnati Zoo. Visitors will learn about the project, its mission and its conservation efforts by the Cincinnati Zoo. The exhibition will also engage audiences of all ages through free educational materials and activities.

This exhibition is organized by the National Geographic Society and Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium.

Wednesday, March 1 – SOLD OUT

Dr. David Morgan:  Great Ape’s View of the Congo Basin

For more than a decade, the Goualougo Triangle Ape Project (GTAP) has successfully implemented a multi-faceted research program which includes documenting behavior as related to specific aspects of ape ecology, monitoring great ape health, and examining ape population dynamics within the changing conservation landscape of the Congo Basin. Further, the Goualougo Triangle study area and existing infrastructure of this long-term conservation program present a rare opportunity to simultaneously monitor sympatric central chimpanzees and western lowland gorillas in different conservation scenarios — a pristine forest recently annexed to the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park (NNNP) and the adjacent forestry concession with active timber exploitation. This presentation will highlight discoveries made in ape behavior as well as our attempts to safe guard apes in this dramatically changing landscape.

Wednesday, March 29

Dr. Derek Lee and Monica Bond: Standing Tall for the Tall Ones: Giraffe Conservation Science in Tanzania

Dr. Derek Lee and Monica Bond are wildlife biologists and co-founders of the Wild Nature Institute. They use photographic identification to monitor more than 2,100 giraffes in the Tarangire region of Tanzania, to protect and connect giraffe habitat in a landscape that is increasingly impacted by humans. By creating and distributing innovative, culturally relevant educational materials, Derek and Monica are also inspiring the next generation of Tanzanian conservationists. Their work is finding ways to help giraffes and people coexist.

The book website is where we also have downloadable lesson plans, games, a field guide to the animals in the background of Juma, and Juma growth charts for sale.

Wednesday, May 3

SOLD OUT – Dr. Craig Packer: Danger Management: Conserving lions on a crowded continent

Lion by Craig Packer

Craig Packer is a Distinguished McKnight University Professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior at the University of Minnesota. He first went to East Africa in 1972 as a field assistant to Jane Goodall and returned to Gombe in 1974-75 to conduct his PhD research on olive baboons. After a brief study of Japanese macaques in Hakusan National Park, he returned to Tanzania in 1978 to head the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Lion Projects.  His book, “Into Africa,” won the John Burroughs Medal in 1995, and he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003.  Over the past dozen yrs, he has served as an official member of the Tanzanian Delegation to CITES, founded an NGO to measure the effectiveness of Foreign Aid projects in rural Africa, established a large-scale citizen-science project (“Snapshot Serengeti”) and advised several national governments on lion conservation.  He has published over 150 scientific papers, and his new book, “Lions in the Balance: Man-eaters, manes and men with guns,” was published in Sept. 2015.

Wildlife Conservation Award

2017 marks the 25th anniversary of the Cincinnati Zoo Wildlife Conservation Award. Each year, the Zoo has invited several of the world’s leading conservationists to participate in this series and has presented its annual Wildlife Conservation Award to one of the speakers. The list of internationally known conservationists who have been honored with this award is impressive. Beginning with the first recipient, Jane Goodall, in 1993 and including this year’s honoree, Dr. Craig Packer, the Zoo has recognized many of the most outstanding conservationists of our time.

The 2017 award recipient, Dr. Craig Packer, is a Distinguished McKnight University Professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior at the University of Minnesota. Over the past dozen yrs, he has served as an official member of the Tanzanian Delegation to CITES, founded an NGO to measure the effectiveness of Foreign Aid projects in rural Africa,  established a large-scale citizen-science project (“Snapshot Serengeti”) and advised several national governments on lion conservation.

We’re highlighting past award winners on Instagram with the hashtag, “#czbgconservationaward.” Click here to see the posts.

Click the button below to see the Cincinnati Zoo Wildlife Conservation Award recipients:

Cincinnati Zoo Wildlife Conservation Award Recipients

1993 – Dame Jane Goodall 1999 – Ted Turner 2006 – Dr. David Western 2013 – John Kamanga
1994 – E. O. Wilson 2000 – Laurie Marker and Cathryn Hilker 2007 – Dr. Mark Plotkin 2014 – John Ruthven
1995 – Roger Tory Peterson 2001 – Peter Raven 2008 – Robert Kennedy 2015 – Tico McNutt
1996 – Birute Galdikas 2002 – Wangari Mathaai 2009 – Iain Douglas-Hamilton 2016 – Suzana Padua, Ph.D & Claudio Padua, Ph.D
1997 – Russ Mittermeier 2003 – George Schaller 2010 – Alan Rabinowitz 2017 – Dr. Craig Packer
1998 – Richard Leakey 2005 – Cynthia Moss 2012 – Sharon Matola