The Children & Nature Network is inspiring the global movement to increase equitable access to nature so that children - and natural places - can thrive.

The C&NN International Leadership Summit will engage 400 people in productive working sessions in six action areas: Green Schoolyards, City Government, Next Generation Leadership, Grassroots Leaders, Healthcare Providers, Nature-based Learning Research. Summit participants will work over two days to develop shared goals, action agendas and explore methods for measuring progress in their Action Areas.

Since you are participating in a specific Action Area, your schedule will be completed for you-- this means that you will not need to sign up for any Summit sessions in Sched. By the beginning of May, we will link your Sched profile to your Action Area.  
avatar for Debra M. Erickson, M.A.

Debra M. Erickson, M.A.

San Diego Zoo Global
Director of Marketing, Communications and Interpretation
Debra Erickson describes her work to develop and launch the San Diego Zoo Kids broadcast channel as one of the most important and emotionally uplifting projects she has undertaken in her role as the Director of Marketing, Communications and Interpretation for San Diego Zoo Global. Since 2014, she has personally devoted thousands of hours to creating this very unique outreach program, making the work of San Diego Zoo Global and other conservationists accessible to all children around the world.  With more than a hundred children’s hospitals and Ronald McDonald Houses including San Diego Zoo Kids programming in their facilities, information about the importance of connecting wildlife and children comes in with every parents’ story and every nurse’s anecdote.

“I get choked up when I talk about the emails and letters I receive from parents and caregivers all over the world,” said Debra Erickson.  “But each story has one thing in common, the magic that happens when you put children and animals together. I hear it everyday, in every story about a gravely ill child who smiled for the first time in weeks because they were able to watch a panda or a penguin or a meerkat on the TV in their hospital room.”

Erickson has been involved in the interpretation, marketing, communications, conservation, and education fields for 30 years. In addition to her work creating and building the San Diego Zoo Kids outreach program, she has also been instrumental in creating educational programs and displays that further the conservation of endangered species around the world.  Her most recently completed project, a display about endangered African wildlife, opened to an eager public in Loisaba, Kenya in late 2017.

In addition to her work with San Diego Zoo Global, Erickson has worked for SeaWorld, Atlantis, Paradise Island, S.E.A. Aquarium and Busch Entertainment Corporation. Ms. Erickson’s previous positions include the Conservation Director/Executive Director of Orangutan Foundation International, where she developed the conservation plan for the organization and raised over $3 million dollars to implement it; Director of Marketing for ZiLOG, Inc., where she was responsible for product development, marketing and communications for the company’s line of Internet processors; Director of International and Environmental Communications for Anheuser-Busch Companies, where she was responsible for developing environmental communications and marketing programs as well as developing public relations and crisis communications strategies for the many countries where Anheuser-Busch conducted business.

In addition to her professional duties with San Diego Zoo Global, she is also the Executive Director of the Atlantis Blue Project Foundation.  

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Erickson received her undergraduate degree in Biology from Scripps College, one of the six Claremont Colleges, and her Masters degree in Educational Technology from San Diego State University.

The many awards Erickson has facilitated throughout her career include the Ron Brown Environmental Award, the National Corporate Conservation Achievement Award from the National Wildlife Federation, the Keep America Beautiful Award, the Exhibit of the Year and Significant Achievement in Education awards from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and the Brass Ring from the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. She has also received the YWCA Tribute to Women and Technology award.

Erickson is a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, The Alliance for Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums, the Consultative Group on Biological Diversity Marine Working Group, The Nature Conservancy, The National Association of Interpretation, and The Ocean Conservancy. She is currently the Vice President of the International Zoo Educators Association.

In addition to her professional duties with San Diego Zoo Global, she is also the Executive Director of the Atlantis Blue Project Foundation.

My Speakers Sessions

Tuesday, May 22

8:25am PDT