Zoo Story: Meet Keynote Speaker Temple Grandin

Among the highlights from Day 2 of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' annual meeting: Livestock expert and autism figure Temple Grandin, the hustle and bustle on the conference floor, and a fashion statement.

Traffic Jam (top): Since 2000, the Phoenix Convention Center has hosted more than 650 meetings and more than 2 million attendees. A $600 million expansion project tripled its size and added a ­symphony hall.

The Voice: “You always check your slides,” says keynote speaker and renowned scientist Temple Grandin, just before going onstage to a packed ballroom to discuss animal behavior. “I once saw a woman make a presentation, and every third slide was missing.” (Grandin’s slides are in order. Phew.)

I once saw a woman make a presentation, and every third slide was missing.

The Delivery: Fans of Grandin, who was diagnosed with autism as a child and was the subject of a recent HBO movie starring Claire Danes, include Heather Lerner. “I have a kid with autism, so this is special for me,” says the executive director of a fundraising organization with the Happy Hollow Park & Zoo in San Jose, California.

Grub! Setting up for lunch, where vegetarian options abound for this crowd.

Zoo Tram: Need a better way to get around your zoo or aquarium space? Rob Remund (right) and Leah Munoz would love to chat about the quick and energy-sipping options.

Media 101: Mike Golay, camera operator for Integrated Event Management, tapes a meeting segment.

Washed Ashore: Exhibitor shows how her group teaches environmental issues through art.

Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’: All of the exhibitors ship their moving parts to Paramount Convention Services, which oversees setup and breakdown. This year, 3,000 pounds of freight was delivered to the expo hall. Tony Shackleford (left) and Shaun Spink do the lifting.

Animal art: Poster-area browsing by Constance Woodman (right), director of butterfly education at Brigham Young University, and Robert Hilsenroth (far left), executive director, American Association of Zoo Veterinarians.

Fashion Cause: Judy Wheatley, a trustee of the Zoological Society of San Diego, wears a hand-painted silk tunic that announces a passionate cause. “I’m supporting Okapi Conservation Project in the Congo, started by my friend John Lukas,” she says. “It’s an amazing organization.”

(Photographs by Cody Pickens)

Monica Corcoran

By Monica Corcoran

Monica Corcoran’s work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles magazine, and InStyle, among other national publications. MORE

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