Conservation Lecture Series

Sponsored by



2018-19 Dates

From the prairies of Big Cypress National Preserve to the rainforests of Madagascar, Naples Zoo and its staff engage in long-term efforts to conserve rare plants and animals. To better connect zoo members and visitors with these projects, the zoo welcomes researchers, directors, and biologists to present their work at the Conservation Lecture Series offered in the evenings during the winter months. Along with seeing a formal presentation in the Safari Canyon theater, guests mingle with these experts and ask questions to better understand the complexities of conservation and how each of us can contribute to making our world a better place for wildlife and people. 

Thursday, January 17, 2019
Black Bears in Naples
Meet FWC Bear Biologist Mike Orlando

With over 1,000 black bears in Southwest Florida, what should you know about living with these large animals? 

Bears are amazing! They can climb a 100' tree in 30 seconds and even clamber up rock walls. They can run 35 mph - about as fast as a deer. Bears are also reported to have the best sense in the animal kingdom with a sense of smell estimated at 7 times better than a bloodhound!

Bears are also coming back in numbers in Florida. After dropping to just a few hundred bears in the 1970s, there are now more than 4,000 in the state. Join us to learn the best ways we can live together with these large carnivores from one of the leading experts in the state. Visit the Naples Zoo bear page to see how you can help in your neighborhood today.

Gather under the pavilion from 6 to 6:45 p.m. as we review recent events and their safety and financial implications for residents and HOAs. Then we'll step into Safari Canyon open-air theater from 7 until 8 p.m. for Mike's presentation and Q&A. Please dress comfortably for this evening outdoors. 

About Mike Orlando
Mike serves as the Assistant Coordinator of the Bear Management Program for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. For the past twenty years, Orlando has studied the behavior of the Florida black bear. He earned his BA degree in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Florida and a Masters in Forest Ecology at the University of Kentucky.

Cost: General Public: $10 | Naples Zoo Members: Free | TICKETS HERE!

Thursday, February 28, 2019
Coexistence: Panthers & People
Meet USFWS Florida Panther Coordinator David Shindle

As the panther population returns from the brink of extinction, their conservation success brings both controversy and new challenges.  To navigate some of the nuanced issues surrounding this iconic cat and explore the prospects of the expanding breeding population beyond South Florida, Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens is welcoming David Shindle, Florida Panther Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, for this evening lecture. 

The formal presentation will begin at 7 in the Safari Canyon open-air theater. 


About David Shindle
David Shindle is a Certified Wildlife Biologist with over 20 years of field experience involving the survey, capture, and handling of endangered cat species.   From 1998-2005, David served as the Florida Panther Capture Team Leader for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and was the lead field biologist responsible for coordinating panther captures, research, and monitoring associated with the Florida Panther Genetic Restoration and Management Project.  From 2005-2015, as a Senior Wildlife Biologist with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, David provided contracted scientific expertise on highly controversial and complex research and monitoring projects relating to the recovery, conservation, and management of the Florida panther.  David is currently the Florida Panther Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  

Cost: General Public: $10 | Naples Zoo Members: Free (but please RSVP for space) | Reserve Your Tickets Here!

Thursday, March 21, 2019
Cracking the Code: Finding Florida's Hidden Pythons
Meet Wildlife Biologist Ian Bartoszek

The first wild Burmese python in Florida was documented in 1979. In the past decade, however, their numbers appear to have skyrocketed. The negative impact on native wildlife populations is just beginning to be understood. Worse yet, except when they're basking on roads or levees these giant snakes are notoriously difficult to find. 

Join Ian Bartoszek, biologist at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, to hear what he's learned from challenging years of research on the pythons of Collier County and possible paths forward for residents and land managers in dealing with this new member of the ecosystem. Naples Zoo is one of the funders of this important research.

Gather at the python exhibit for an informal mixer from 6 to 7 p.m. followed by his presentation and Q&A in the Safari Canyon open-air theater until 8 p.m. Please dress comfortably for this evening outdoors.

About Ian Bartoszek
Mr. Bartoszek has a degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Science from the University of Arizona.  Ian Bartoszek has been with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida for the past 17 years. He spent ten years as the primary field biologist for Everglades restoration wildlife studies in eastern Collier County. He is currently the Environmental Science Project Manager and the project lead on the Burmese python research and removal study.  He has been the primary field biologist on a radio-telemetry study tracking Burmese pythons in Collier County since January 2013. If you told him ten years ago that he’d be chasing giants snakes around southwest Florida he would have thought you were crazy.

Cost: General Public: $10 | Naples Zoo Members: Free (but please RSVP for space) | Reserve Your Tickets Here!


Many thanks to SOME OF OUR RECENT inspirational speakers:
Buy Tickets