Hannah Phillips is the Manager of Docents and Interpreters at the Saint Louis Zoo. She is passionate about meeting people "where they are at" to inspire curiosity, empathy and action for the natural world.
When I learned the Saint Louis Zoo was joining The National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation network (NNOCCI), I was excited. As I knew from my previous position at another institution, NNOCCI works with zoos, aquariums and national parks by providing tools for communicating productively about climate change. I theorized such a training program could make a difference in the climate-related conversations I was having with Zoo guests, family and friends — and I was right!
As an NNOCCI member, the Zoo is part of a nationwide community of solutions-minded people, giving us access to a diverse set of resources. For example, we constructed our Climate Change Position Statement through the support of NNOCCI colleagues across the country. It also motivated us to create our own group of committed Zoo employees and volunteers to work toward climate solutions. This group met monthly and established goals including educating zoo staff and volunteers, bringing concerns of climate change to the forefront, identifying initiatives and increasing awareness.. It also motivated us to create our own group of committed Zoo employees and volunteers to work toward climate solutions. This group met monthly and established goals including educating zoo staff and volunteers, bringing concerns of climate change to the forefront, identifying initiatives and increasing awareness.
Within two years, the Saint Louis Zoo hosted its first Climate Solutions Day. The event featured experts from 13 St. Louis-area conservation organizations, who engaged in discussions with our Zoo audience around community solutions to climate change.
We have also started monthly webinars. Our first in the series, "Climate 101," took place on Sept. 9 and featured an introduction on how to have hopeful conversations about climate change. These webinars will take place on the second Thursday of each month. You can sign up for our newsletter to be notified when registration for each webinar goes live.
Also, mark your calendar for our Climate Solutions Week! On Sept. 20-23, the Zoo will host four virtual speakers presenting community climate solutions at 5:30 p.m. They'll offer suggestions on how to work with your schools, churches and neighbors to have the greatest impact. Then at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 26, all presenters will gather for live question-and-answer sessions with participants.
Our hope is to broaden our community of citizens who care about climate change. Joining others in conversation — among other actions — can have a powerful, positive effect. We look forward to having you part of our growing community!
Hannah is a Certified Interpretive Guide and Trainer through the National Association for Interpretation and a certified trainer for the NNOCCI network. She has been working with zoos and aquariums for over 20 years.