Panel to Explore Use of Arts and Pop Culture to Promote Wildlife Conservation

Panel at Vermont Law School will discuss how visual arts and popular media can help promote environmental stewardship and wildlife conservation

How can arts and pop culture help advance the causes of environmental advocacy? A panel of artists, conservationists, and policymakers will discuss the importance of visual arts and popular media in promoting environmental stewardship and wildlife conservation. The panel will be held on Thursday, July 12 at 6:30pm in the Chase Center at Vermont Law School, and is free and open to the public and press.


Don Baur, a partner with Perkins Coie and VLS Adjunct Professor on Ocean Law and Animal Law, will be moderating the panel. “The power of visual media for driving an advocacy agenda has been demonstrated time and again across all fields of public policy and law,” said Baur. “The speakers in this program have extraordinary backgrounds in a broad range of methods of visual communication, and they will share their work and experiences on how to advance environmental objectives through images and the messages they convey.”

The panel includes:

  • John Bockmier, Acting Director for Communications of the U.S. Department of the Interior (invited);
  • Mark Brownlow, producer of the BBC series Blue Planet II (invited);
  • Asher Jay, designer, artist, conservationist, and National Geographic Emerging Explorer;
  • Julie Phillips, Vice President of Herschend Studios, producers of Splash and Bubbles for PBS;
  • Zack Rago, coral reef expert, featured in Chasing Coral;
  • Dr. Heather Rally, wildlife veterinarian with the PETA Foundation and Oceanic Preservation Society, featured in Racing Extinction;
  • John Tartaglia, puppeteer, actor, and comedian, featured in Sesame Street, and Splash and Bubbles.

Each speaker will showcase and discuss examples of their art and media work.

“Film, media, and other forms of visual art speak to our hearts and our souls,” said Rally. “They have the power to transcend language barriers and transform audiences by captivating, educating, and instilling compassion. As such, film and media are among the most powerful tools for spreading widespread awareness and creating large-scale social change.”

For Jay, her work aspires to construct “unique connections between seemingly disparate concepts,” using “multimedia compositions in an interdisciplinary, emotionally intuitive manner that enables a wild future for us all.”

Baur added, “We live in an age of social media, where policy and decisions at the highest level are driven by messages on Twitter. This program will serve as a forum for experts in visual communication to have an energetic discussion among themselves and with the audience on how advocacy goals can be advanced in this arena.”

Light refreshments will be offered before the panel discussion and a reception will follow after in the Chase Center at VLS. The event is co-sponsored by the VLS Animal Law Society, and Environmental Law Center. For more information, email or visit the event page on Facebook.