For Immediate Release:  Wed., Jan. 15

Contact: Joe Reed | Director of Marketing and Communications
412-622-6915, ext. 3801 | jreed@phipps.conservatory.org

Phipps Conservatory to Hold First Nature of Place Symposium
Phipps Presents Discussion of the Many Ways Humans Are Connected to Nature on Wed., Feb. 19


Pittsburgh, PA — Leaders from across disciplines will gather at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens on Feb. 19 – 20 for the first ever Nature of Place Symposium, discussing the importance of biophilia — our innate human connection to nature — and incorporating that connection into their work. This event will invite attendees to explore how the human-nature bond can be strengthened and nurtured to create a more sustainable, healthy and thriving human experience.

Whether we realize it or not, we as humans are still a part of nature, and we innately are drawn to reconnect with the wild world. The Nature of Place Symposium is an opportunity to explore the  both the intangible emotional and spiritual side of human experience in nature and the concrete scientific evidence of how our need for nature plays out in society—from our physiological responses to the outdoors to changes in social dynamics from the presence or absence of green space in cities. This interdisciplinary exploration will allow us to use our collective knowledge and experiences to initiate positive change which will impact the future. Join Keynote Speaker Michelle Kondo, Ph.D., as well as several other leading professionals as they discuss biophilia and the potential it holds in their field of study.

Additional featured speakers include:

  • Will W. Adams, Ph.D. – Associate Professor of Psychology, Duquesne University
  • Timothy Beatley, Ph.D. – Professor, School of Architecture, University of Virginia
  • Sonja Bochart, IIDA, LEED AP BD+C, WELL AP – Principal, Biophilic Design Consultant, Shepley Bulfinch
  • Plaxedes T. Chitiyo, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor, Environmental Science, Center for Environmental Research and Education, Duquesne University
  • Hanareia Ehau-Taumaunu, M.S. – Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology, Pennsylvania State University
  • Rebecca Kiernan, MSPPM, LEED Green Associate – Principal Resilience Planner, City of Pittsburgh
  • Vivian Loftness, FAIA, LEED AP, CPHC – University Professor, School of Architecture, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Katilyn Mascatelli, Ph.D. – Ecopsychology Research Scientist, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

This event will bring different audiences together in an effort to find similar points of interest and bring action across fields. Engineers, professors, designers, scientists, creatives and more will partake in a two-day event that will delve into the connection between people, plants, and the planet. It will highlight biophilia’s importance as both a study and a topic of conversation. The need for green spaces, biophilic design and personal encounters with nature are just some of the topics to be discussed.

The Nature of Place Symposium begins on the evening of Wed., Feb. 19 with an opening reception and keynote speaker address, followed by a day of presentations and panels on Thurs., Feb. 20. Registration includes both lunch and light refreshments.

Tickets are available for purchase online now at phipps.conservatory.org. General registration tickets for the symposium and reception are $85 until Fri., Jan. 17 and $99 afterwards. Guests can register for the symposium only for $74 and the reception only for $25. Students with a current student ID register at a discounted price. Visit phipps.conservatory.org for more information.


About Phipps: Founded in 1893, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, PA is a globally recognized green leader with a mission to inspire and educate all with the beauty and importance of plants; to advance sustainability and promote human and environmental well-being through action and research; and to celebrate its historic glasshouse. Encompassing 15 acres including a historic 14-room glasshouse, 23 distinct indoor and outdoor gardens and industry-leading sustainable architecture and operations, Phipps attracts more than half a million visitors annually from around the world. Learn more at phipps.conservatory.org.