SCCS-NY 2016 at a Glance

The Center for Biodiversity and Conservation's (CBC) seventh annual Student Conference on Conservation Science (SCCS-NY) took place at the American Museum of Natural History, October 20-22, 2016.

Over 330 students, postdocs, and early-career scientists, representing 31 countries and 40 U.S. states, convened at the Museum to take part in the only international series of conservation conferences featuring students. SCCS-NY provides opportunities for emerging scientists to present and get feedback on their work, gain experience, and make contacts to help launch their careers.

Student Presentations

Students from a variety of disciplines presented their research in 22 talks, 21 speed talks, and 39 poster presentations.


11 awards were distributed to outstanding student presentations. Learn more about this year's award winners!


Plenary Talks

Plenary talks delivered by leaders in the conservation field are a cornerstone of SCCS-NY, bringing dynamic, innovative perspectives on contemporary conservation issues.

This year’s captivating plenary by Dr. Nalini Nadkarni explored examples of synergistic public engagement between her own work in forest ecology and underserved audiences. Commissioner Rose Harvey shared lessons she has learned in her career at the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, where she encourages people to visit parks and open space, while emphasizing responsible stewardship for critical natural resources.


Special Evening Event:

System-Wide Approaches to Primate Conservation 

Introduced for the first time, this year’s conference included a special public event featuring an evening of cocktails and conversation about primate conservation in the Museum’s Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Hall of the Universe.

A panel of experts joined CBC Director, Ana Luz Porzecanski to discuss the social, economic, and cultural factors surrounding primate conservation today. Environmental activist Farwiza Farhan was awarded the 2016 Whitley Award in Ape Habitats for her work to save the rainforest in Sumatra by opposing illegal oil palm plantations, tackling poaching, and empowering local communities. Stanislaus Kivai from Rutgers University and the Institute of Primate Research, Kenya, studies the nutritional ecology of the highly endangered Tana River Mangabey. Nora Bynum, Director of the Keller Science Action Center at the Field Museum in Chicago, provides leadership for the conservation activities of the Field Museum, incorporating new sites and initiatives with the goal of generating large-scale advances in conservation and cultural understanding.

Farwiza and Nora actively participated as mentors throughout the conference, and Stanislaus presented his research in a talk.

This free public event was made possible thanks to support from the Arcus Foundation and the Whitley Fund for Nature.


Every year, SCCS-NY gives participants the option to attend in-depth interactive workshops on a variety of conservation topics. This year’s workshops spanned from planning careers in the conservation field to incorporating biocultural perspectives into conservation projects. 

Collection Tours

A highlight of SCCS-NY are the behind-the-scenes tours of Museum collections. This year, participants could choose among a collection tour of the ichthyology, herpetology, entomology, ornithology departments or the Sackler laboratory.



Established conservation professionals provided mentoring through group discussions and personalized feedback on students' research throughout the conference, including 40 mentor-hosted lunch tables. 


Resource & Career Fair

Conference participants had the opportunity to meet with 23 leading U.S. and international conservation and environmental organizations, academic programs, fellowships, and publishers at the Resource and Career Fair. The fair is designed for students, postdocs, and early career professionals to network and learn more about future careers and opportunities in conservation science.

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Exhibitor at the SCCS-NY 2016 Resource and Career Fair. ©Roderick Mickens/AMNH

Participant Voices

Participant responses showed that SCCS-NY 2016 was a big success. Below is a selection of quotes from our post-conference evaluation survey:


Participants shared their thoughts and experiences from the conference via Twitter. Overall, more than 400 tweets with the official conference hashtag #SCCSNY2016 were used to cover presentations and events, share inspiration, and connect with other conference participants and those following from afar.