Parking  |  Tickets  |  Join


Reaching New Audiences

A Janet Meakin Poor Research Symposium

Sign up today!Friday, April 20, 2018
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Alsdorf Auditorium

$29 with student ID; call (847) 835-6801 to register at this rate

Come for the day, stay for the evening. Enjoy special pricing when registering for both the Reaching New Audiences symposium and our Science Poetry Slam.

$52.20/$64/$29 student with ID 
Call (847) 835-6801 to register for both events.

Register Now

Are you struggling to get the word out about the importance of conservation and biodiversity to peers, policy makers, or the public? Learn from some of the best science communicators how they craft messages that resonate and deliver content in ways that are fun, engaging, and informative. Presenters will focus on multiple communication pathways from traditional and social media to innovative art-science partnerships. Come learn how to communicate complex topics in new and compelling ways. Please bring a sack lunch or plan to visit the Garden View Café.


8:30 a.m.

Check-in Opens

9 a.m.

Welcome Remarks

Kayri Havens, Ph.D., Medard and Elizabeth Welch director, plant science and conservation, Chicago Botanic Garden

9:15 a.m.

New Feet Within my Garden Go: Cultivating Public Engagement with Science

Emily Therese Cloyd, project director, American Association for the Advancement of Science Center for Public Engagement with Science and Technology

Successful science communication and public engagement is not so different from planning and growing a garden. Both require seeds, soil, and careful tending. This interactive lecture will provide an overview of the core components of AAAS’s public engagement framework and invite participants to consider how to apply it to their own public engagement goals.

9:45 a.m.

Leveraging Social Sciences for Communicating about Conservation

Rose Hendricks, Ph.D., researcher, FrameWorks Institute

Research in the social sciences sheds light on how we humans think about scientific topics like conservation. I'll focus on the impact of framing, the specific way an issue is communicated, attitudes about conservation, and intentions to change behavior and support productive policies.

10:15 a.m.


10:45 a.m.

Engaging, Informing, and Influencing Lawmakers

Robert Gropp, Ph.D., co-executive director, American Institute of Biological Sciences

Successfully engaging with elected officials requires an understanding of the nature of the decisions they must make, the kinds of information they require to inform these decisions, and how competing interests can influence decisions. This talk will present scientists with an introduction to these factors and suggest some strategies for successfully engaging with elected officials.

11:15 a.m.

Centering Authenticity as a Non-Traditional Scientist (and Having Fun!)

Rae Wynn-Grant, Ph.D., conservation science research and teaching postdoctoral fellow

Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant is one of the few black women in her field of wildlife ecology, and uses her public-facing science communication platforms to raise awareness of wildlife conservation in communities typically not included in these dialogues. This can be a full-time job in itself, so Wynn-Grant has developed key points for emerging communicators to hit in order to reach diverse audiences, yet remain true to their own identities.

11:45 a.m.

Brown Bag Lunch
Bring your own lunch or purchase one in the Garden View Café.

1 p.m.

Media Relations and a Botanist on Mars: How to Get More Than 20 Strangers to Hear About Your Latest Research 

Chris Martine, Ph.D., David Burpee professor of plant genetics and research, Bucknell University

Using case studies based on recent attempts to promote new findings through multiple tiers of media, this talk will suggest a strategy that any working scientist might employ when hoping to spread the word about their research outcomes. While taking on the job of promoting your own work might seem like a daunting (or even painful) task, the payoffs ideally include increased reads and citations, advantages in seeking jobs, tenure, or promotion, expanding the reach and impact of your work, and building public enthusiasm for science.

1:45 p.m.

Beyond Beauty: New Plant Poetics in Contemporary Art

Giovanni Aloi, Ph.D., editor and lecturer

Recently, contemporary art has become a productive multidisciplinary space in which to rethink our relationship with plants. Challenging the long-standing importance of botanical illustration, some artists strive to engage with plants beyond their aesthetic beauty for the purpose of understanding vegetal organisms from new perspectives. This talk focuses on two examples in which new poetic approaches to plants combine art, philosophy, science, and technology in innovative ways.

2:15 p.m.

Stretch Break

2:30 p.m.

Art Revealing Local Ecosystems: Up Close and Personal

Vaughn Bell, artist

Vaughn Bell will speak about her interactive artworks that involve living plants. These installations respond to local ecologies and are created in collaboration with scientists and community members. She will share details on the process of designing and installing an artwork for the Chicago Botanic Garden in partnership with Garden scientists.

3 p.m.

Working at the Intersection of Art and Science

Ben Whitehouse, artist, founder and executive director of SkyDayProject

Climate change is a serious problem. It is also seriously difficult to talk about, especially to the kids. It isn't exactly good dinner conversation, which, given that this next generation will likely experience the full brunt of climate change in their lifetime is not a good situation from any point of view. How can I, an artist, use whatever talents I've got to help? How can I help change the dynamic of the conversation, open it up, and connect the next generation across cultures and borders in a new spirit of collaboration, empathy, and ecological citizenship?

3:30 p.m.

A Cat as Big as a Cat: The Intersection of Science and Poetry

Sam Illingworth, Ph.D., senior lecturer in science communication, and Dan Simpson, poet

Stories, poems, and songs are an incredibly effective form of communication. They have long been humanity's primary method of transmitting knowledge. What can science learn from the literary arts? This is an exploration of the relationship between science and poetry, and how the two disciplines can work together to develop effective and powerful dialogue around scientific topics.

4:15 p.m.

Discussion and Q&A



The Janet Meakin Poor Research Symposium is partially endowed by the friends of Janet Meakin Poor, a Chicago-area conservationist and landscape designer dedicated to preserving natural habitats. This symposium is developed in a long-standing partnership between the Plant Science and Conservation department and the Joseph Regenstein, Jr. School of the Chicago Botanic Garden.


Symposium Location

The symposium will be held in the Alsdorf Auditorium of the Regenstein Center at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, Illinois. Directions to the Garden can be found here.



The Regenstein School of the Chicago Botanic Garden recommends the Renaissance Chicago North Shore Hotel for accommodations.