BCI’s Dr. Kristen Lear part of innovative exhibit at Central Park Zoo


A statue of BCI’s endangered species interventions specialist Dr. Kristen Lear will be on display in New York City’s Central Park Zoo from August 17 – October 31, 2020 as part of the innovative new exhibit #IfThenSheCan.

3D printed statues of six real women who work in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) will be displayed at the zoo as part of a preview for the full exhibit, which includes 122 women who work in STEM and serve as AAAS Ambassadors. The full exhibit was originally scheduled to take place in Dallas earlier this year, but COVID necessitated schedule adjustments, so it is now planned for Dallas in 2021.

Lyda Hill Philanthropies put the exhibit together with the goal to advance women in STEM by empowering and inspiring women and girls. The exhibit will be the largest collection of statues of real women ever displayed in one location at a single time. Each statue depicts a real woman who works in STEM, including women of diverse ages and backgrounds.

Dr. Lear’s participation in the project heralds her work in bat conservation. She is a former BCI student scholar, NatGeo Explorer, bat conservationist, and educator, who has loved bats since she was a child. She recalls being inspired by night hikes in Girl Scouts, where she was enthralled by the winged mammals flying overhead. When she was 12, she opted to build and install bat houses as her Silver Award project for Girl Scouts.

“I hope young people who see the exhibit walk away with their curiosity piqued and a sense that there is a place in STEM for everyone,” Dr. Lear says. “And, of course, I hope that some of them will be inspired to learn more about bats and maybe even explore a career in bat conservation.”