Palm Beach Zoo Announces 2015 Conservation Leadership Lecture Series

The Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society is announcing the 2015 Conservation Leadership Lecture Series, generously supported by presenting sponsor Bank of America.  All lectures will occur from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Zoo’s Tropics Café. Guests are invited to enjoy cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and Zoo animal encounters from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. before the lecture presentation.

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Seating for the Conservation Leadership Lecture Series is limited. Tickets are $20.00 per person per event, or a series package can be purchased for $55 per person. Cocktails & passed hors d’oeuvres will be served. To purchase your tickets online, visit If you have any questions about the event, please call the Zoo at (561) 547-WILD ext. 285.

January 29, 2015: “Mermaids & Manatees: 40 Years of Manatee Research” by James “Buddy” Powell, Ph.D., Executive Director, Sea to Shore Alliance — For more than 40 years, James “Buddy” Powell, Ph.D., has worked to conserve manatees and other endangered species around the world, and his efforts have resulted in coastal protected areas in Florida, West Africa, Central America, and now Cuba. His approach integrates science and education to unlock solutions to conservation issues.

In the 1970’s, Dr. Powell worked for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service as a biologist and manatee specialist. In 1986, he moved to West Africa, where he studied manatees and forest elephants for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and was pivotal in establishing several coastal protected areas.

In 2008, Dr. Powell founded Sea to Shore Alliance, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that works to protect and conserve our world’s fragile coastal ecosystems and the endangered species that call them home. Dr. Powell received his B.Sc. from the University of Florida, his M.M.A. from the University of Washington, and his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in England. He was the recipient of the prestigious Pew Award in Marine Conservation in 2000, has been featured on “Champions of the Wild” and National Geographic’s “Wild Chronicles” documentaries, and has been honored with multiple awards and certificates. Dr. Powell has authored two books – “Manatees: Natural History & Conservation” published by Voyageur Press, and the “National Audubon Society’s Guide to Marine Mammals of the World,” as well as numerous scientific publications and popular articles.

February 26, 2015: “An Unexpected Connection: Wildlife Conservation & Urban Agriculture” by Dr. John Zahina-Ramos, Founder of Casa Jardin Co. — Dr. John Zahina-Ramos is a noted scientist who is at the forefront of research into the benefits of urban agriculture. He holds a M.S. degree in the biological sciences and a Ph.D. in geosciences. His dissertation research was focused on the attitudes and perspectives of urban residents to home food growing. Dr. Zahina-Ramos is an adjunct professor at Palm Beach State College, teaching courses in environmental mapping. He is the president of Casa Jardin Co., a consulting firm whose services are focused on urban agriculture and environmental issues. He is an avid backyard food grower, and he founded the Just One Backyard web resource to promote the practice of sustainable food growing, particularly in cities.  His latest book, scheduled for release in January 2015, chronicles the change from local food production to dependency on the industrial agricultural system in place today. It also details the results of his five-year backyard food growing study, and documents the wide range of benefits that can be realized from sustainable urban food production.

For more than sixteen years, he was a professional environmental scientist with the State of Florida. He also worked on Everglades research with the Duke University School of the Environment for seven years. He has authored numerous peer-reviewed publications, technical documents, book chapters and conference presentations on the topics of soils, ecological modeling, historic vegetation mapping, and the impacts of water withdrawals on wetlands, food sustainability, the benefits of urban agriculture and the potential productivity of urban agriculture.

April 16, 2015: “From Glades to Gulf: 1,000 Miles in 100 Days, a Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition” by Carlton Ward Jr. and Mallory Lykes Dimmitt with the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition — Carlton Ward, Jr. is a conservation photographer and eighth-generation Floridian focused on Florida’s living heritage. His work is exhibited widely and published in magazines including Audubon, Smithsonian, Geo and Nature Conservancy. He began his career with seven expeditions to the Congo rainforests of Gabon with the Smithsonian Institution, resulting in his award-winning book, “The Edge of Africa,” with a foreword by Colin Powell presidential exhibit with the United Nations in New York. While remaining engaged internationally, Ward’s primary purpose is to protect Florida’s nature and culture through art. His 2009 book, “Florida Cowboys,” won a silver medal in the Florida Book Awards, and Popular Photography Magazine featured him for working to save vanishing America. Ward is a founding member of the International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP) and president of the Florida-based Legacy Institute for Nature & Culture (LINC). He a National Geographic Explorer for the Florida Wildlife Corridor project, which included a 100-day, 1000-mile trek in 2012 from Everglades National Park to the Okefenokee Swamp in southern Georgia.

Mallory Lykes Dimmitt is a seventh generation Floridian whose childhood was partly spent exploring the lands and waters of central Florida. She pursued her passion for the outdoors by receiving her B.S. in Natural Resources from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. She was also awarded a Doris Duke Conservation Fellowship at Duke University’s Nicholas School of Environment, where she earned a Master’s of Environmental Management.

Some of Mallory’s projects include protecting river corridors and large landscapes in Colorado with The Nature Conservancy, research in Sri Lanka for the International Water Management Institute and strategic planning and organizational development with LINC.

May 21, 2015: “Florida’s Solar Economy” by Commissioner Ronald Brisẻ — Ronald A. Brisé was appointed to the Florida Public Service Commission by Governor Charlie Crist in July 2010, and was reappointed by Governor Rick Scott for a term through January 2018. He served as Commission Chairman in 2012-2013. Commissioner Brisé is a member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) and previously served on the NARUC Task Force on Federalism and Telecommunications.

Before this appointment, he represented District 108 in the Florida House of Representatives for four years. During his tenure, Commissioner Brisé was named Democratic Whip and served as Vice Chairman of the Florida Conference of Black State Legislators.

Commissioner Brisé received a bachelor’s degree in biology education from Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama and received M.B.A. degrees in management and marketing from American Intercontinental University in Illinois. Upon graduation from college, Commissioner Brisé taught science at his alma mater, Miami Union Academy. He eventually became responsible for the school’s development and fundraising operations. In 2005, he became the Chief Operating Officer at a VoIP telecommunications carrier.

Commissioner Brisé began his career in public service in North Miami as a member of the North Miami Planning Commission. His civic engagements include Board Member of the North Shore Hospital and past president of the Albert C. Pierre Community Center. He is a member of the NAACP, Leadership Florida, and he serves on the Board of Directors of the Haitian-American Chamber of Commerce of Florida. 


The Zoological Society of the Palm Beaches exists to inspire people to act on behalf of wildlife and the natural world. We advance our conservation mission through endangered species propagation, education and support of conservation initiatives in the field. Our commitment to sustainable business practices elevates our capacity to inspire others.

The Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society is located at 1301 Summit Boulevard in West Palm Beach, Florida. The Zoo is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, except Thanksgiving and Christmas. For more information, visit


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