How do we inspire visitors to donate within conservation exhibits? Join Dr. Kristen Lukas, Director of Conservation and Science at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and Board Vice Chair at Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, as she brings us along on her journey to apply psychological principles to the development of an exhibit that will do just that! Lukas will describe how she used Antioch University’s Conservation Psychology Coaching Service to begin tackling this goal within an exhibit in the new Ellen DeGeneres campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund in Rwanda. She will share lessons she learned in the 9-week coaching session that helped her produce a fun, science-based solution that will save the Fossey Fund years of trial-and-error attempts to encourage people to financially support conservation.
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Presenter: Dr. Kristen Lukas conducted her graduate work in experimental psychology with a focus in animal behavior at Georgia Institute of Technology and Zoo Atlanta. Her research interests include environment and behavior, animal health and welfare, and conservation psychology. Before arriving at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in 2002, she was the first curator of primates at Lincoln Park Zoo where she conducted research in primate behavior and designed a new facility for gorillas and chimpanzees. In leading the conservation and science program at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Dr. Lukas manages a large and diverse conservation program that includes working with staff of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International in Rwanda to train students from the University of Rwanda in conservation science. She joined the Fossey Fund Board of Directors in 2016 and currently serves on the Board’s Executive and Marketing Committees.
Over the past 20 years, Dr. Lukas has authored more than 50 research papers in peer-reviewed journals and delivered or collaborated on more than 125 presentations at professional conferences. She is an adjunct professor in biology at Case Western Reserve University and currently advises Ph.D. students conducting research on animal behavior, health, and welfare at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. She is a member of the Africa Section of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) Species Survival Commission’s Primate Specialist Group. Within the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, she currently serves as Chair of the Gorilla Species Survival Plan® and is Chair of the AZA’s Gorilla Saving Animals from Extinction (SAFE) program, which aims to significantly increase on-the-ground protection for Cross River Gorillas and Grauer’s gorillas over the next five years. She was recently recognized by Crain’s Cleveland Business as a 2019 Cleveland’s Women of Note, an award that celebrates inspiring women whose dedication and achievements enrich Northeast Ohio, its institutions, and its people.