Scholars Gild September 2016

The Role of the Modern Zoo

Tuesday, September 20

Lower Arden Gild Hall

7:30 PM

The role of the zoo has evolved to prioritize research, education, and conservation. Some people still condemn the existence of zoos a form pure entertainment. While It is true that zoos started as menageries and amusement parks, they have come a long way. Currently, laws protect wild animals and guarantee their welfare (e.g., Animal Welfare Act, Endangered Species Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act). Accreditation bodies make sure zoos and aquariums offer great care for their animals. Zoos have been responsible for large amounts of knowledge to the scientific community on species health, reproductive behavior, life cycles and more which has played a critical role in saving animals both in captivity and in the wild. In addition zoos promote species conservation through well managed species plans which in many cases have led to species reintroduction back into the wild as well as educating the millions of visitors who come through the gates annually.

At our September Scholars Gild discussion, Gene Peacock, Director at the Brandywine Zoo, will lead our discussion on the role of the modern zoo and specific information about the programming and activities at the Brandywine Zoo. All are welcomed at Scholars Gild discussions. There is no fee to attend; please consider making a donation at the door to help cover the costs of putting on these events and to support the Arden Club.

Brief bio

Gene Peacock, Director at the Brandywine Zoo, has been involved in zoos, museums and park management since the late 1980s. Over the course of his career he has worked with a wide variety of fauna at several zoological institutions, managed major natural and cultural conservation projects, as well as overseeing operations in several parks and zoos. Since taking over as the Director at the Brandywine Zoo in early 2013, he has worked to revitalize Delaware’s only AZA accredited facility, leading to a successful accreditation inspection in 2016. During his tenure, zoo attendance has increased by 15%, major updates have taken place that include facilities and exhibit upgrades, new visitor service amenities and a complete overhaul of the zoos educational programming to focus on species conservation and to align with STEM initiatives. Gene has a BA in Anthrophony from UNC Greensboro, a Masters in History and Museum Studies from Oklahoma City University and is All But Dissertation on a PhD in Museum Studies from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK. Gene, his wife Deanna and two daughters live in north Wilmington where they enjoy outdoor activities, travel and martial arts as a family.

June 2016 Scholars Gild Discussion

The History and Future of the Wilmington Waterfront

Tuesday, June 21
Lower Arden Gild Hall
7:30 PM

Sally O’Byrne

Sally O'Byrne

Sally O’Byrne

The final Scholars Gild discussion of the season will be lead by Sally O’Byrne, author and longtime city activist. This discussion will focus on the historical role of the Wilmington waterfront in the development of the City of Wilmington into the city of today. We will use this rich history to lead into a discussion of the future of the city’s relationship to the waterfront, the role of the Riverfront Development Corps (RDC), the money being spent in support of the RDC vs. downtown Wilmington, and other topics impacting the future of the city and the waterfront. All are invited to attend and join our discussion about the Wilmington waterfront history and the potential role of the waterfront in the future.

There is no fee to attend Scholars Gild discussions; please consider making a donation at the door to help cover the costs of putting on these events and to support the Arden Club.


A lifelong Delawarean, Sally O’Byrne has lived in the City of Wilmington since 1977, when she and her husband Terry were awarded an urban homesteading house in the Cool Springs Neighborhood. After earning a Masters in Regional Planning, Sally became very interested in urban issues, becoming president (circa 1980 – 85) of Cityside, Inc, an organization dedicated to living in the city. Her interest in the rivers of the city go back to that time, when, in 1979, Cityside was awarded a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation under their Maritime Preservation funds, to do an inventory of waterfront properties.

Still living in downtown Wilmington, Sally has also pursued her lifelong interest in natural history as a teacher/naturalist for over 25 years for the Delaware Nature Society. She coordinated the avian survey at the Russell Peterson Wildlife Refuge in 2000 and is currently working on bird issues in the state and region. Sally is past president of the Delmarva Ornithological Society and has served on the Boards of both Hawk Mountain Sanctuary and Delaware Nature Society.

May 2016 Scholars Gild Discussion

The Concept and Inspiration at the Foundation

Tuesday, May 17
Lower Arden Gild Hall
7:30 PM

Rick Rothrock, Sculpture

The Ardens have a history rich in the arts and crafts, theater, music, and a love of nature. Adding to this history, on May 14, a carved marble sculpture by Rick Rothrock will be unveiled in the Moonlight Theater at the Arden Gild Hall. This new sculpture, a gift from Sally and Aaron Hamburger to the community, is made of stone from the same quarries that provided the marble for the National Archive Building, the Jefferson Memorial, and the White House.

On Tuesday evening, May 17, at the Scholars Gild discussion, Rick Rothrock will describe his art practice, the concept and inspiration for making the new piece, and the relationship between the piece and the surrounding environment. All are invited to attend and join in what promises to be a very interesting discussion. There is no fee for attending Scholars Gild discussions; please consider making a donation at the door to help cover the costs of putting on these events and to support the Arden Club.

Rick Rothrock’s Bio
Rick Rothrock ( holds a B.S. in Education, a M.F.A. in Sculpture, studied stone carving at Pelicani Blasco Studios in Italy, and teaches stone carving at the Carving Studio and Sculpture Center in Vermont. He has been active in the arts for over 40 years , participating in symposiums and exhibiting internationally. He received the Christy Award for Outstanding Achievement as an Artist, was awarded the Delaware Masters Fellowship Award in Visual Arts, and was a Delaware Ambassador of the Arts in China. He is represented in various corporate, public, and private collections and has designed and installed exhibits for the Franklin Institute, the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences, and the Minnesota Museum of Science and Technology. Rick initiated the establishment of the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts.

The Scholars Gild
The Scholars Gild discussions are held at 7:30 PM on the third Tuesday of the month (except July and August) in the lower Gild Hall. If you would like to receive email notifications and reminders, contact the Scholars Gild via Title your email “Scholars Gild Request” and include your name, comments, and request in the body of the email.