Science Café – Conserving Nature’s Keystone: The Gopher Tortoise

On Thursday, March 5, 2020, the Greensboro Science Center (GSC) is hosting a free Science Café in its Science Advancement through Innovative Learning (SAIL) Center. Dr. Christopher L. Jenkins, CEO of The Orianne Society, will present Conserving Nature’s Keystone: The Gopher Tortoise. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. and the talk begins at 6:30 p.m. This event is free to attend.

The gopher tortoise is a prehistoric animal that still roams the Coastal Plain of the Southeast, but populations have declined to the point of endangered species status. These animals are critical to the success of the ecosystem as their burrows are used as a habitat for more than 300 other species. Without gopher tortoises, many of these species’ populations would decline as well.


About the Presenter
Dr. Jenkins is the founding Chief Executive Officer of The Orianne Society. He also was the founding chairman of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Viper Specialist Group and the Georgia Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. He has served in leadership roles in Partners for Reptiles and Amphibian Conservation and Gopher Tortoise Council. Dr. Jenkins has also worked with Wildlife Conservation Society, United States Forest Service, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, University of Massachusetts, University of British Columbia, and National Geographic. Dr. Jenkins received a B.S. and M.S. from the University of Massachusetts in wildlife biology and wildlife conservation, respectively. He received his Ph.D. in biological sciences from Idaho State University.

About The Orianne Society
Established in 2008, The Orianne Society is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to the conservation of rare and imperiled reptiles and amphibians. Orianne promotes the conservation of these species through scientific research that informs on-the-ground conservation actions and managing habitats to promote robust reptile and amphibian populations. Currently, Orianne administers three large-scale conservation initiatives across the eastern United States, focusing on key landscapes that support high diversity and rare species: the Longleaf Savannas, Appalachian Highlands, and Great Northern Forests.

Pajama Jam Tickets On Sale Now

Pajama-Jam-Image-for-Solar-TreeTickets are now on sale for the Greensboro Science Center’s (GSC) annual family-friendly conservation fundraiser, Pajama Jam. The event will take place on Saturday, March 30, 2019. This after-hours pajama party designed for families with children ages 12 and younger features crafts, games, live music by Big Bang Boom, face painting, and refreshments courtesy of Chick-fil-A. Attendees are encouraged to wear family-friendly pajamas to the event.

Two ticket options are available for Pajama Jam:

Regular Ticket(includes event activities and light refreshments – nuggets, fruit and a cookie – from 6:00pm – 9:00pm)

GSC Member (ages 1+): $10

Non-Member (ages 1+): $12

Under Age 1: FREE

VIP Experience(includes seated dinner – sandwich, fruit and a cookie – with the Chick-fil-A cows from 5:30pm – 6:00pm, plus event activities and light refreshments from 6:00pm – 9:00pm)

GSC Member (ages 1+): $13

Non-Member (ages 1+): $15

Under Age 1: FREE

VIP Experience is limited to 100 guests.

Proceeds from Pajama Jam support the GSC’s conservation fund, which aim to preserve species and habitats through on-site programs, community awareness, field studies and fundraising for local and global conservation efforts.

Living the Mission: GSC Staff Awarded Conservation & Research Grants

This year, the Greensboro Science Center provided staff a brand new opportunity to apply for what is known as the Conservation and Research Grant. This annual grant offers GSC staff the opportunity to pursue a conservation or research project. Eligible proposals can range from pursing a professional development opportunity, facilitating an existing field project (like mussel surveys or bat acoustic work), creating a conservation project (like a stream clean-up or butterfly garden), or taking on a new research question. After undergoing an extensive assessment by our staff Research Committee, this year’s recipients have been announced.

Shannon Anderson, Zoo Keeper: SANCCOB’s Keeper Exchange Program

Penguin DivingShannon will travel to South Africa to work with SANCCOB staff to refine her skills in bird care and chick rearing; Shannon’s knowledge and passion for penguins led her to pursue this program. On this trip, she’ll have the opportunity to work with field biologists, conservationists and sea bird specialists to expand her knowledge and will share her experience with staff at a presentation following her time in South Africa.

Rachel Rogers, Aquarist: Mote Marine Coral Restoration Workshop

coral 02Rachel, the GSC’s coral aquarist, has a passion for propagating and conserving coral species. At the workshop, she’ll learn the micro-fragmenting techniques used to propagate staghorn and elkhorn corals. She will also visit coral nurseries in the Florida Keys to gain knowledge on the best methods for growing and reproducing coral. She, too, will share her experience with staff at a presentation following the workshop.

Sam Beasley, Vet Tech: Sea Turtle Care Center at the South Carolina Aquarium

Sam Beasly | 36 | EditSam works alongside veterinarian Dr. Sam Young to care for the animals in our collection. Sam has a lifelong passion for turtles and rehabilitation of sea turtles. She will work with the vets and technicians at the Sea Turtle Care Center to rehabilitate sea turtles and care for injured turtles. There, she will learn new skills and receive hands-on training that will benefit her vet career. Sam will also be sharing with staff her experience when she returns.

We’re thrilled to have a team of staff who supports our mission of conservation by putting the “hands” in “hands-on.” Return to our blog in the near future for updates on the good works these team members will be doing!