2015 BGCI Congress Speakers & Conveners
Monday, April 27

Dr. Peter Wyse-Jackson Dr. Peter Wyse Jackson
President, Missouri Botanical Garden
Dr. Peter Wyse Jackson is the president of the Missouri Botanical Garden and George Engelmann Professor of Botany at Washington University in St. Louis. In 1987, he joined the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), where he helped to establish the international network organization for botanical gardens that became Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI). In 1994, he was appointed secretary general of BGCI, and in 2005 he returned to Dublin as director of the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland. In 2010, he was appointed to his present position at the Missouri Botanical Garden. As one of the world’s foremost and best known botanists and plant conservationists, Dr. Wyse Jackson played a lead role in the development and implementation of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, adopted by the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity in 2002. He is chairman of the Global Partnership for Plant Conservation and the World Flora Online Consortium and has been a member of the boards of numerous botanical, conservation, and horticultural organizations around the world, including BGCI.

Dr. Paul Smith Dr. Paul Smith
Secretary General, Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI)
Dr. Paul Smith is the Secretary General of Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI). He is the former Head of Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank (MSB). During his nine years at the helm, seeds from more than 25,000 plant species were conserved in the MSB and, in 2009, the MSB achieved its first significant milestone, securing seed from 10 percent of the world’s plant species, prioritizing rare, threatened and useful plants. Since then, the MSB and its 170 partner institutions in 80 countries around the world have set themselves the target of conserving 25 percent of the world’s flora by 2020. During the last five years, Paul and his team promoted the concept of seed banks as a resource for human innovation, adaptation and resilience, and, today, seeds from the MSB and its partner seed banks are being used in agriculture, horticulture, forestry and habitat restoration. Paul trained as a plant ecologist, and is a specialist in the plants and vegetation of southern Africa.

Tuesday, April 28

Dr. Peter RavenDr. Peter H. Raven
President Emeritus, Missouri Botanical Garden
Dr. Peter Raven is one of the world's leading botanists and advocates of conservation and biodiversity. For four decades, he headed the Missouri Botanical Garden, an institution he nurtured into a world-class center for botanical research and education, and horticultural display. He retired as president in 2010 and assumed the role of president emeritus and consultant through 2014. Described by Time magazine as a "Hero for the Planet," Dr. Raven champions research around the world to preserve endangered plants and is a leading advocate for conservation and a sustainable environment. In recognition of his work in science and conservation, Dr. Raven is the recipient of numerous prizes and awards, including the prestigious International Prize for Biology from the government of Japan and the U.S. National Medal of Science, the country's highest award for scientific accomplishment. He has held Guggenheim and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation fellowships. Raven was a member of President Bill Clinton's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology. He also served for 12 years as home secretary of the National Academy of Sciences and is a member of the academies of science in Argentina, Brazil, China, Denmark, India, Italy, Mexico, Russia, Sweden, the U.K. and several other countries. The author of numerous books and reports, both popular and scientific, Dr. Raven co-wrote Biology of Plants, an internationally best-selling textbook, now in its sixth edition. He also co-authored Environment, a leading textbook on the environment.

Dr. Rebeca Quinonez-Pinon Dr. Rebeca Quiñonez-Piñón
Executive Director, La Cruz Habitat Protection Project
Dr. Rebeca Quiñonez-Piñón earned her Doctorate in Geomatics Engineering from the University of Calgary Geomatics Department, in Alberta, Canada, where she majored in Environmental Engineering and minored in Forest Hydrology, including the study of boreal, tropical and temperate forests. In 2010 and 2011, Dr. Quiñonez-Piñón led a project funded by the Ecosystems Network of CONACYT, whose main priority was to initiate the creation of a National Environmental Monitoring System in Mexico. Dr. Quiñonez-Piñón now serves on the evaluating committee of that project. Along her career, she has either led or participated in 14 research projects. She has fifteen years of experience as a University Professor at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana in Mexico City, and about three years of consulting experience, primarily for Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX). She resides now in Austin, Texas and is writing several journal papers and serving as a reviewer for the International Journal of Remote Sensing. In 2013, she became the Executive Director of La Cruz Habitat Protection Project where she focuses most of her efforts on increasing the forest restoration rates in the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve through the Forests for Monarchs program.

Catherine WernerCatherine Werner, JD, LEED AP
Sustainability Director, City of St. Louis Mayor’s Office
In 2009, Mayor Francis Slay appointed Catherine Werner as the first Sustainability Director for the City of St. Louis, leading numerous urban sustainability initiatives, including the development of an award-winning Sustainability Plan for the City of St. Louis and implementation of the Mayor’s Sustainability Action Agenda. Catherine possesses 20 years of experience in promoting and managing various sustainable development and conservation initiatives as well as handling diverse matters of environmental law and policy. She has worked as an environmental attorney, sustainability/green building consultant, natural resources specialist, and environmental educator. She has extensive experience in real estate and ecological/green residential design issues, and has worked on sustainable development issues in both a planning and implementation capacity. She served as the Director of Land Protection for The Nature Conservancy of Missouri and Program Coordinator for Chicago Wilderness, and founded a nonprofit organization to raise awareness of the significance of tall-grass prairies. Catherine has taught environmental courses at various institutions of higher learning, including “Environmental Law: Applications Toward Sustainability” at Washington University in St. Louis. Catherine is a LEED Accredited Professional, obtained her J.D. from Washington University School of Law, and her undergraduate degree from Duke University.

Wednesday, April 29

Dr. Akpezi OgbuigweDr. Akpezi Ogbuigwe
Anpez Center for Environment and Development, Nigeria
Dr. Akpezi Ogbuigwe, former Head, Environmental Education and Training (EET) at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and later on Coordinator, UNEP's Ecosystem Management Programme is currently a Reader at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Portharcourt, Nigeria and Founder, ANPEZ Center for Environment and Development where she works with schools, communities, government and the private sector on issues of environmental rights and development, human rights and the running of an environmental library. As Head, UNEP EET programme, she amongst others things midwifed the UNEP’s multistakeholders’ programme on Mainstreaming Environment and Sustainability in African Universities (MESA), the Global Universities Partnership for Environmental Sustainability (GUPES) and the student movement on Sustainability Generation. She was also UNEP’s lead focal point for the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. Prior to joining UNEP (2002–2014), she was a Reader and Dean at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Portharcourt, Nigeria.

Thursday, April 30

Dr. Rainer BussmannDr. Rainer Bussmann
Executive Director, William L. Brown Center, Missouri Botanical Garden
Dr. Bussmann will introduce the morning’s speakers and award the 7th William L. Brown Award for Excellence in Genetic Resource Conservation to Dr. Cary Fowler.

Dr. Bussmann is an ethnobotanist and vegetation ecologist. Before accepting the directorship of the Missouri Botanical Garden’s William L. Brown Center, he held academic appointments as Research Fellow in Geography and the Environment at UT Austin, Associate Professor of Botany and Scientific Director of Harold Lyon Arboretum at the University of Hawaii, and Assistant Professor at the University of Bayreuth in Germany. His work focuses on ethnobotanical research and the preservation of traditional knowledge in Bolivia, Peru, Madagascar, the Caucasus, and the Himalayas.

Dr. Cary FowlerDr. Cary Fowler
Global Crop Diversity Trust
Dr. Cary Fowler headed the International Conference and Program on Plant Genetic Resources at the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN), producing he first global assessment of the state of the world's crop diversity. He served as the chief author of the FAO’s Global Plan of Action for Plant Genetic Resources, and led the negotiations that led to its adoption by 150 countries in 1996. From 1996 to 2001, Cary Fowler represented the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) in negotiations for the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources, and in 2010, leading an international campaign, he organized saving one of the world's largest living collections of fruit and berry varieties at the Pavlovsk Experiment Station in Russia from urban development. From 2005 to 2012, Dr. Fowler led the creation and served as the Executive Director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust. The trust's mandate is to ensure "the conservation and availability of crop diversity for food security worldwide." He has served as a Special Assistant to the Secretary General of the World Food Summit, as a board member of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Mexico, and the National Plant Genetic Resources Board of the U.S.

Marly CornellMarly Cornell
Author, Seeds for Change: The Lives and Work of Suri and Edda Sehgal
Marly Cornell is a writer, artist, and social justice advocate with a BFA is from Moore College of Art in Philadelphia and an MA from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota. For thirty years, she worked in the corporate nonprofit sector in healthcare, mental health law, behavioral services, and physician recruitment. Her books include Walks on the Beach with Angie, The Able Life of Cody Jane, Seeds for Change: The Lives and Work of Suri and Edda Sehgal, and Together We Empower: Our First Fifteen Years in Rural India.

Dr. Bernadette LynchDr. Bernadette Lynch
Dr. Bernadette Lynch is an academic and museum professional with 25 years’ experience in senior management in UK and Canadian museums. Formerly Deputy Director at the Manchester Museum at the University of Manchester, she developed an international reputation for leading ethical, innovative participatory practice. In her research and consultancy work she specializes in public engagement and participation with diverse communities and in leading museum transformation and change. Her recent work has been very influential in raising debate on the impact of public engagement in museums, including the influential Whose Cake is it Anyway? that she wrote on behalf of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. She has extensive experience in leading in participatory action research across the UK’s cultural sector. She is frequently asked to lecture, advise, teach museum studies and mentor museum professionals internationally, and she publishes widely. She is Honorary Research Associate at University College London (UCL) where her on-going research relates to public participation, democracy, dialogue, debate and organizational change in the cultural sector.

Friday, May 1

Dr. Joe E. HeimlichDr. Joe E. Heimlich
Principal Researcher – Center of Science and Industry, Columbus, Ohio
Joe E. Heimlich, Ph.D. is a Principal Researcher with the Lifelong Learning Group at COSI where he works on an array of projects focusing on informal learning in, and capacity building for zoos, nature centers, parks, gardens, science centers, and other museums. He is also Professor Emeritus with Ohio State University where he was an Extension Specialist in museums and organizational capacity building, served as Leader, Environmental Science for OSUE, and held appointments in the School of Environment and Natural Resources, the Environmental Science Graduate Program, and the College of Education and Human Ecology. Joe has been engaged in the arena of environmental free-choice learning for 34 years and is the author of over a hundred academic journal articles, chapters, and books, and has written more than 300 evaluation and research reports and popular publications.

Dr. Gil PenalosaGil (Guillermo) Penalosa, MBA, PhDhc
Founder and Chair of the Board, 8–80 Cities
Gil Penalosa is passionate about cities for all people. Gil advises decision makers and communities on how to create vibrant cities and healthy communities for everyone regardless of social, economic, or ethnic background. His focus is on the design and use of parks and streets as great public places, as well as sustainable mobility: walking, cycling and public transit. Gil is Founder and Chair of the Board of the successful Canadian non-profit organization 8–80 Cities. The organization was created based on a simple philosophy; if you create a great city for an 8-year old and an 80-year old, you will create a successful city for all people. Over the past 8 years, Gil has worked in over 180 different cities across six continents. Prior to his work with 8–80 Cities, Gil served as the Commissioner of Parks, Sport and Recreation for the City of Bogota, Colombia. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of City Parks Alliance, USA, and is a Senior Advisor to StreetFilms in NYC, American Trails and America Walks. Gil holds an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, where he recently was selected as one of the “100 Most Inspirational Alumni” in the school’s history. He holds a Doctorate Honoris Causa from the Faculty of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning at University of Sweden SLU, and recently he received the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal and was named one of the “Top 10 Most Influential Hispanics in Canada.”

Botanic Gardens Conservation International, the world’s greatest force for plant conservation, is co-organizing its 9th Education Congress in partnership with Missouri Botanical Garden.
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2015 BGCI Education Conference Logo
April 26–May 1, 2015
Missouri Botanical Garden
St. Louis, Missouri