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The zoo is open! All visitors will require free entry passes and be required to follow safety measures. Free timed-entry Asia Trail/Panda Passes are required for the giant panda viewing.

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Tom Akre, Ph.D.

Program Scientist, Working Land and Seascapes
Ph.D., George Mason University

Tom Akre is the program scientist for the Working Land and Seascapes action area of the Smithsonian Conservation Commons and founder of the Changing Landscapes Initiative. Working Land and Seascapes seeks to understand and integrate the needs of people and nature, using sound scientific and socio-economic research to drive action and develop sustainable solutions for biodiversity conservation. 

As the program scientist for VWL, Akre is responsible for the scientific direction of the program. He ensures that the baseline biodiversity and ecosystem information needed to understand land and seascapes is developed, while also working with internal and external partners to employ the socioeconomic approaches that result in durable conservation solutions.

Prior to his current position, Akre was the director of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s Virginia Working Landscapes program. The program brought local landowners and citizen scientists together with Smithsonian scientists and students to understand best practices for ecosystem and biodiversity conservation on public and private lands in Virginia.

Akre earned his Ph.D. in environmental science and public policy from George Mason University. He completed his postdoctoral training at the Savannah River Ecology Lab at the University of Georgia. Akre has published more than 30 peer-reviewed, popular articles and book chapters on amphibian and reptile ecology and conservation. He maintains long-term research on endangered turtle populations in two working landscapes in Virginia and Mexico.

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