Our flagship program will be a monthly lecture series, Exploring Animal Minds, in New York City, which will bring the latest scientific research to the public in an exciting and lively series of lectures, debates, panel discussions, and children's activities. This 10 month series will include renowned scientists in the fields of cognition, ethology, comparative psychology, communications, biology, evolutionary behavior, and neuroscience, and is designed to enlighten and inspire the audience with what scientists now know about the ways animals think and behave. It will afford members of the public unique and entertaining opportunities to learn about animal intelligence and the roots of our own behavior, and to be inspired to participate in fostering the conservation and well-being of other species.
Despite an enormous interest in animals, opportunities for the public to participate in meaningful dialogue on the subject of the capabilities of other species remain limited. Our goal is to take the discussion of animal intelligence out of the realm of the anecdotal, provide a scientific basis for what is known, and bring the discussion into a larger evolutionary context. Topics will cover a broad range of issues, including communication, perceptual capabilities, sociality, spontaneous creativity, and the question of animal self-awareness. All lectures will be aimed at a general audience, enabling all individuals to expand their understanding and appreciation of these subjects.
Recognizing that a solid relationship with nature and animals is often fostered during childhood, Thinking Animals is planning a variety of children's activities through out the year, including a series of conversations with scientists, allowing children to hear first-hand recollections from professionals in the field, and to learn how their own actions can have a direct impact on the lives of animals. In addition to the annual Exploring Animal Minds lecture series, Thinking Animals is planning a year-round schedule of small dinners to educate targeted audiences and the general public about new research and issues related to animal intelligence and behavior. These salon-type lectures will include opportunities for the public to meet and speak directly with the scientists who are involved in this work.