Archive for ‘Presentations’

August 8, 2014

Phipps Hosts 1st Annual Youth Garden Summit

by Melissa Harding

Youth summit 094

We recently hosted a gathering of youth from across the region who are working on food growing projects and education. It was an opportunity to share stories, eat food and collaborate towards growing the youth food movement in the Pittsburgh area. This cohort of over 50 students included our own 2014 high school interns, as well as students from the following summer youth programs: Bridge to College, the Grow Pittsburgh Urban Garden Project; Children’s Museum Food City Fellows; Braddock Youth Project, Grow Pittsburgh Braddock Farms Team; Braddock Youth Gardening Team; and The Women for a Healthy Environment Food City Fellows and Wilkinsburg Youth Project. They were enthusiastic and engaged, bringing a positive energy to the workshops. The day included team building, breakout sessions and reflective exercises designed to get everyone thinking about how best to move their respective programs forwards in the future.

The day started with a welcome from Phipps staff and several college interns from the Children’s Museum’s Food City Fellows. Then, each group gave a presentation about their program and what they learned. For lunch, each group contributed produce from their gardens and worked together to create a big, beautiful salad. After this communal meal, the students worked in breakout sessions, both with their own intern teams and in mixed groups. They looked deeply into their program and talked about the good and the bad, how they could be improved, and what impact the program had on the community and themselves. Finally, they reflected on their experiences in the form of a folding poem, sharing with the group what they were “taking home with them” from their experiences.

Youth summit 104

It was a wonderful day – thank you to all the students and group leaders who made this possible!

The above photos were taken by Science Education and Research staff.




June 16, 2014

Nepalese Students Visit Phipps!

by Melissa Harding


Several weeks ago, Phipps Conservatory was visited by the Nepali student delegation from the Magee Womancare International (MWI) program. The Youth Leadership Program with Nepal (YLP-Nepal) is in its fifth year of funding from  United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and is administered by MWI. All student and adult delegates are competitively selected based on a passion in environmental health and community service and their desire to develop youth leadership skills.  YLP- Nepal is a highly competitive two-way student leadership exchange program between Pittsburgh area (only) high school students and high school students from the Greater Kathmandu Valley in Nepal.  This year, MWI brought thirteen youths and two adult facilitators from Nepal to the United States for a 3-week exchange. The Nepal delegates spent 14 days in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and 7 days in Washington D.C. In August 2014, ten youths and two adult facilitators from Pittsburgh will travel abroad for a 3-week exchange in Nepal. These exchange programs are intensive, academic, and highly interactive.

We are so excited that the MWI program chose use to spend an entire day with their students! The Nepali students arrived early to explore the gardens and learn about our work in community outreach and sustainable design. They were met by a docent at the Center for Sustainable Landscapes for a tour of this remarkable building. The students learned how the building makes as little impact on the environment as a flower through its ability to generate all of its own electricity and treat all of the water onsite. They had time to investigate all the features of the building, from the computer-controlled windows to the reclaimed barn wood exterior, which make it so revolutionary and beautiful. Afterwards, the students met another docent to tour through our historic glasshouses. They were able to enjoy the beautiful flowers in the current summer show, as well as the butterfly forest and outdoor gardens.

After a lunch in our Phipps Café, the students met science educators Melissa Harding and Kate Borger for a short workshop about community development. Students learned about some of Phipps outreach programs, especially those with food-related missions, and how proper planning was crucial to their current success. Students then worked in groups to create a mock community engagement plan, step by step, starting with creating a map of community assets and ending with creating viable action items that correspond to measurable goals and objectives. We were so impressed with the students’ level of serious engagement in the process and are confident that they will do good work in their home communities. We had such a wonderful time with these remarkable students and were so glad that they were able to spend the day with us at Phipps!

 The above photo was taken by Kate Borger.


May 28, 2014

Melissa Harding Presents at American Alliance of Museums 2014 Annual Conference

by Melissa Harding


Last week,  Melissa Harding presented at the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) 2014 conference in Seattle, Washington. Melissa presented with colleagues from the Museum of Science Boston, Providence Children’s Museum and Phoenix Zoo on a panel entitled “Grown-ups Wanted: Inviting Adult Learners into Early Learner Spaces“. The presentation outlined the different ways in which these organizations reach an adult audience with their mission and message while simultaneously engaging young children. Melissa spoke about our Little Sprouts and Move with Me programs, which model techniques and provide resources that caregivers can use to interact with their children in the natural world at home and at Phipps.

The above photo was taken by Cory Doman.

May 1, 2014

Inspire Speaker Series, May 15 – Sustainability: An American Grand Strategy for the 21st Century

by Melissa Harding

Presented by Green Building Alliance and Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, the second year of this lecture circuit will continue to plant the seeds of inspiration throughout our community.  

Sustainability: An American Grand Strategy for the 21st Century

In July 2009, Admiral Mullen, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, asked Captain Wayne Porter (U.S. Navy) and Colonel Mark Mykleby (U.S. Marine Corps) to develop some ideas pertaining to a grand strategy for the nation in the 21st century.  By August 2009, the men wrote “A National Strategic Narrative,” a concept paper that offered sustainability as the organizing logic for an American grand strategy.

Such a central idea would establish the framework for converging and expanding U.S. domestic and foreign policy toward emerging opportunities, rather than exclusively on perceived threats and risks.  Now at New America Foundation, Mark is working to create the strategic construct to implement the concept of sustainability as the American grand strategic imperative for the 21st century.  Audience members at May’s Inspire Speakers Series will gain insight into an intriguing and sometimes overlooked perspective on sustainability and how it relates to the future of our country’s security.

More About Colonel Mark “Puck” Mykleby

  • Senior Fellow at New America Foundation
  • Graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, 1987
  • Masters of Military Studies and Masters of Strategic Studies
  • Read more about Mark here

Local Speaker: Bill Peduto

Who better to make the local connection to this topic than Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto?  Mayor Peduto has served Pittsburgh’s East End neighborhoods for over a decade and been integral in shifting the city’s economy toward education and medical technology.  He has been a champion of protecting and enhancing Pittsburgh’s recent reputation as a green initiative leader and helped create the city’s comprehensive Climate Action Plan.  Mayor Peduto is the ideal local voice to help celebrate the finale of this season’s Inspire Speakers Series.

PLUS: Since October 2012, the Founding Class of the Green & Healthy Schools Academy has been undergoing advanced professional development for how to integrate sustainability into the school buildings, curriculum, and culture.  Each school of this founding class will give a brief presentation on how they have applied their knowledge and work to a defining keystone project that emulates their school’s values and vision.

Come grab dinner and enjoy an opportunity for networking in Phipps Cafe starting at 5:00 p.m.  Inspire Speakers presentations will follow at 6:00 p.m.  Register here to join the speakers for dinner after their talks.

Check out the rest of this year’s Inspire Speakers presenters here!  GBA Members save $51 by purchasing the entire series!

April 1, 2014

Amanda and Kate Visit Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens in Coral Gables, Florida!

by Melissa Harding


Last week, educators Amanda Joy and Kate Borger attended a Fairchild Challenge summit at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens in Coral Gables, Florida. Home of the Fairchild Challenge, the FTBG invited Challenge facilitators from all over the country to meet and discuss ways to improve their institutions’ program. Participants learned how to effectively evaluate their program, how to successfully write grants and work with local partners, and how to incorporate new aspects of the Challenge into their existing programs. Now open to elementary-age children, there is a whole new audience of students who are able to participate. Additionally, the Challenge has gone global in its reach and offers programs overseas, having trained over 60 gardens all over the world to offer the Fairchild Challenge.

Amanda and Kate had a wonderful time learning and meeting new educators, exploring the beautiful gardens, and just plain seeing the sun. They are excited to use their new knowledge to take the Fairchild Challenge at Phipps to the next level!

This photo was taken by Amanda Joy.

March 31, 2014

Upcoming Lecture TODAY: Climate Policy as Wealth Creation

by Melissa Harding

climate change lecture

March 31, 2014
4:30 pm
University Club, Ballroom B
123 University Place, Pittsburgh, PA 15260

How well do you understand the science of climate change? Recent research shows that most people have a minimal understanding of the ins and outs of this important issue. In an effort to bring about awareness and increase scientific literacy on this topic, The University of Pittsburgh’s University Honors College (UHC) has initiated a series of lectures to educate students, faculty and staff, as well as others in the Pittsburgh community. To bring this series to a wider community audience, they are partnering with the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, and the National Aviary.

We need to drive investment in renewables and energy efficiency through economic signals, including carbon pricing as well as conventional environmental regulations. If and when we price emissions, via a carbon tax or a cap-and-permit system, a crucial economic and political question is: Who will get the money? Join us for the next Climate Change Lecture by energy economist James K. Boyce from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
A panel discussion will follow the lecture featuring:
Erica Cochran, Carnegie Mellon University
Paul Ohodnicki, National Energy Technology Laboratory
Stephen Rose, Carnegie Mellon Electricity Industry Center
Moderated by Christina Gabriel, University Energy Partnership

Click HERE to reserve your spot at the lecture today.
We hope to see you there!


March 27, 2014

Inspire Speaker Series, April 10: Spreading the Message of Sustainability Through Silence and Action

by Melissa Harding


Presented by Green Building Alliance and Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, the second year of this lecture circuit will continue to plant the seeds of inspiration throughout our community.  

Planetwalker: Spreading a Message of Sustainability Through Silence and Action

In this edition of the Inspire Speakers Series, audience members will feel fortunate to have the opportunity to hear ONE WORD from Dr. John Francis, not to mention an entire lecture!  That’s because he once went 17 years without speaking.  That’s right – 17 years!  When John was 26-years-old, he witnessed an oil tanker collision on San Francisco Bay.  He felt so disturbed (and partially responsible for his use of oil), that he decided to give up motorized vehicles – a decision which spurred so many arguments with friends and family members that he decided to stop talking.  This was the beginning of a 17-year journey that led him to be known as the Planetwalker.  During the nearly two decades that followed, John received a Master’s degree, a PhD, and founded the Planetwalk Foundation (a nonprofit environmental awareness organization) – all while spreading a silent message of sustainable living.

Ending his silence in 1990, Dr. Francis has spent his subsequent years carrying that same message across the country.  Trust us – you’ll be glad that John decided to start talking again – and that you have the chance to listen!

More About John Francis

  • Author of Planetwalker: 22 Years of Walking. 17 Years of Silence.
  • Author of The Ragged Edge of Silence: Finding Peace in a Noisy World
  • Read an article about John here
  • See John’s TED Talk here

Come grab dinner and enjoy an opportunity for networking in Phipps Cafe starting at 5:00 p.m.  Inspire Speakers presentations will follow at 6:00 p.m.  Register here to join the speakers for dinner after their talks.

Check out the rest of this year’s Inspire Speakers presenters here!  GBA Members save $51 by purchasing the entire series!


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