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Smithsonian Convenes First Earth Optimism Summit

April 20, 2017

On Earth Day weekend, the Smithsonian will convene the first Earth Optimism Summit, a three-day event that will highlight what is working in conservation and how to scale up and replicate it. More than 150 scientists, thought leaders, philanthropists, conservationists and civic leaders are participating in the summit, which will be held April 21–23 in Washington, D.C. The summit is organized by the Smithsonian Conservation Commons, a team of experts within the Smithsonian that tackles complex conservation problems on a global scale.

Earth Optimism: Change is Positively Possible   

Earth Optimism: Learning from nature 

Earth Optimism: Frogs

Summit logo
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Earth Optimism Summit: Logo

Earth Optimism Summit logo

On Earth Day weekend, the Smithsonian will convene the first Earth Optimism Summit, a thr

Earth Optimism: Black-footed ferret

Photo of black-footed ferret

Smithsonian's National Zoo

Black-footed ferrets―North America’s only native ferret species― were thought to be extinct until a small population of 18 individuals was discovered in 1981. Luckily, the species has rebounded from the brink of extinction thanks to successful breeding programs, including at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va.

Earth Optimism: Coral

coral reef

Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Threatened coral reefs have a protector in the Smithsonian. Scientists there have created a world-class genomic library and frozen repository that includes 16 coral species from two of the world’s major oceans.

Earth Optimism: Frogs

bright yellow frog against whit ebackground

Brian Gratwicke / Smithsonian's National Zoo

Amphibian populations are rapidly declining due to habitat loss, climate change and pollution. However, for the critically endangered Panamanian golden frog, the deadly amphibian chytrid fungus is largely to blame.

Earth Optimism: Galearis Orchid

Purple and white wild orchid blossoms

Melissa McCormick, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

North America is home to more than 200 orchid species, like this Galearis spectabilis in Maryland. However, more than 50 percent of these orchids are listed as threatened or endangered in parts of their range. But there is hope.