Conservation Optimism Summit

Conservation is too often seen as a crisis discipline, one in which bad news predominates. Although nature is facing huge challenges, there are many positive stories where conservation has made a difference to people’s lives and to the status of wild nature. From the return of the iconic scimitar-horned oryx to its home on the fringes of the Sahara, to Philippine fishing communities removing waste nets from beaches for recycling into sustainable products, there are plenty of conservation success stories to inspire optimism about the future of the world’s wildlife – despite the often depressing headlines. 

Budding and perennial conservationists need to feel inspired and continue in the profession, not put off by pessimism. The public, businesses and government need to know that their actions can make a difference.

In this effort, ZSL has joined forces with the Interdisciplinary Centre for Conservation Science at the University of Oxford and the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust to host the Conservation Optimism Summit, a three-day event running from 20-22 April. Following two days of workshops and discussion at Dulwich College in London, the summit will culminate on Earth Day 2017, Saturday 22 April, with a public event at ZSL. 


Earth Day at the Zoological Society of London

  • Saturday 22nd April 2017

  • Huxley Lecture Theatre, Zoological Society of London


  • This event does not include entry into ZSL London Zoo

Join us for a day of hands-on workshops, arts and crafts, panel discussions and film screenings. The event will celebrate the international, cutting-edge efforts of those working to conserve species across the animal kingdom, from the tracking of Galapagos tortoise migrations to study their life histories to the introduction of dedicated tapir-bridges to prevent tapir road deaths in Costa Rica.

It will also showcase how individuals can personally help wildlife to flourish where they live and beyond – from reducing plastic pollution by replacing the use of single-use plastic water bottles with refillable ones, to getting involved with the fascinating ‘citizen science’ volunteer opportunities across the UK. 

Highlights of the day include: 

  • Practical activities, including making moving giant tortoise track maps on Google Earth and sorting out seeds from (synthetic) tortoise dung. 
  • A virtual coral reef experience in a mobile planetarium. 
  • The opportunity to find out about ZSL's citizen science activities in London's rivers and how you can get involved. 
  • An interactive session where you'll play a 21st century marine biologist and learn how smartphones are saving our seas. 
  • Does time spent in nature improve our mental health? - A lecture exploring how enjoying natural spaces can make us happier, healthier and more productive. 
  • The chance to identify some of the rarest and most threatened species with ZSL's Instant Wild app. 
  • 'Is rewilding more than just restoring nature?' - A lecture looking at some of the most positive and optimistic conservation projects in Great Britain. 

Online registration has now closed. If you're visiting ZSL London Zoo on the day, you can join in with this public event to help celebrate positive thinking in conservation. 

View the full schedule 

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