2016 speak

2016 Nature-Based Therapeutic Conference
A Kinship of All Creatures: Broadening our Knowledge of Human-Animal Interactions

Wednesday, October 26, 2016 
8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
MacMillan Auditorium, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum directions

Speak! is about our human partnership with animals, the natural world and the way in which positive interactions with animals increases individual health and community well-being. This conference will provide participants with a new understanding of animal intelligence and how the knowledge will advance the field of human-animal interactions. It is an opportunity for professionals, academics, and practitioners within schools, social services, healthcare clinics, community-based organizations and families to exchange ideas, discuss and collaborate in animal intelligence.

The purpose of Speak! is to:

  • Broaden our knowledge of animal intelligence
  • Deepen our understanding of animal feelings
  • Transform the way we view non-human animals
  • Apply practice skills and methods with animal emotions in mind
  • Inspire and delight the audience with new sounds and information


8:00 - 9:00

9:00 - 9:30


9:30 - 11:00 
"The Inner Lives of Animals" (View the video)
Hear the latest information pertaining to animal's emotional intelligence. Dr. Balcombe will prepare the audience for the day with an overview of animals' emotional and cognitive worlds, and what this means to us a society (includes time for Q&A).
Jonathan Balcombe, Ph.D. is an ethologist (animal behavior) scientist, and passionate advocate for animals. He has written extensively about animal pleasure and his latest book explores the lives of fishes. Learn more from this interview Dr. Balcombe does with NPR about the inner lives of fish.

11:00 - 11:15

11:15 - 12:15
"Becoming a Solutionary" (View the video)
Understand how you can become a force for positive change for animals, people, and the environment that sustains us
     Zoe Weil is the co-founder and president of the Institute for Humane Education and author of over six books. Her life's work has been to create informed, conscious and caring citizens who will make the world a hopeful and peaceful place for all human and non-human animals to live.

Multi-Media Musical Performance with a focus on human, animal and earth relationships (View the video)
    Reb L. Limerick is a performance artist and MFA Candidate at the University of Minnesota in Experimental and Media Arts.

12:15 - 1:30


1:30 - 3:00
"Creature Comforts: Ours or theirs?"  (View the video)
Drill down deeper into strategies and applications integrating animal emotional intelligence into the practice of animal-assisted interactions.
     Ann Howie is a clinical social worker and author of training books on handler skills and animal-handler evaluation methods. She has been integrating animals in her clinical practice and training others to promote animal skills through positive reinforcements since 1987.

3:00 - 3:15 


3:15 - 4:15

"Through a Dog's Ear: "Canine and Feline Sound Therapy for Improved Health and Behavior" (with live piano demonstrations) (View the video)
Lisa and Joshua will provide a unique demonstration of how music appeals to the soul of the animal (two and four-legged). They will give us the opportunity to digest and synthesize the information learned during the day.
     Lisa Spector is a concert pianist, a Julliard graduate, and canine music expert. She co-founded "Through a Dog's Ear" (a clinically tested musical method to relieve canine and feline anxiety) helping dogs/cats in animal shelters, rescue organizations, veterinary hospital's and homes worldwide.
     Joshua Leeds is a music producer, composer, educator and researcher specializing in psychoacoustics and bioacoustics - the study of how music and sound affect the human and non-human nervous system.

4:15 - 4:30



* Please Note:
While we love our four legged friends, we ask that participants not bring their animals. (With the exception of personal service animals and those appointed teams working with the conference will be allowed on site.) Thank you. If you have further questions, please contact Dr. Jean Larson at: larso095@umn.edu



If you are interested in the Speak! Conference, consider attending these additional programs!

Arrive before the "Through a Pet's Ear" concert to also experience:

Jonathan Balcombe Book Signing and interview
"What a Fish Knows" 
Thursday, October 27th 3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
University of Minnesota Coffman Memorial Union, #324

NO REGISTRATION! This is a FREE event...just show up! See you there!

For more information:
Listen to a recent INTERVIEW
Fish Have Feelings, Too: The Inner Lives Of Our 'Underwater Cousins' - Minnesota Public Radio
Check out the BOOK
What a Fish Knows - New York Times Best Seller

Interview facilitated by Tane Danger. 

Tane Danger 
 is the co-creator of the civics-inspired improv show, The Theater of Public Policy, which brings issues of policy, politics, and science to life on stage through entirely unscripted comedy theater. He and his co-founder Brandon Boat have been described by national press as the “Gen-Y answer to Stewart and Colbert.” 

In 2014 his work connecting audiences to public policy conversations through humor and theater won him a fellowship from the St. Paul-based Bush Foundation. He used that fellowship to earn a Master’s of Public Policy from the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs. His research  focused on how improv theater can help leaders better engage the public and how it can help anyone in public service be more collaborative, creative, and connected. Follow him on Twitter at @TaneDanger. 


Image credit: Taborsky/shutterstock

Through a Pet's Ear:
Music to improve animal health and behavior

Thursday, October 27th, 2016, 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
University of Minnesota - Ted Mann Concert Hall


  • FREE (Students with ID)
  • $10.00 Advance Registration
  • $15.00 at the door

Package Both SPEAK! Conference and Through a Pet's Ear Live Piano Performance
 • $160.00 Arboretum Members & Conference Affiliates

 • $175.00 General registration                 

WOW! Save an additional $10 off this conference+concert package! Use Coupon CodeSPECIAL at checkout.   

Live Piano Performance Overview

Sound researcher, Joshua Leeds and Concert pianist, Lisa Spector are the co-founders of Through a Dog's Ear and Through a Cat's Ear, music clinically shown to relieve canine and feline anxiety. This special performance will highlight their bioacoustic arrangements of classical piano compositions designed to calm dogs and cats.

Following the demonstration, Spector will perform works of Chopin, Schumann, Debussy and Rachmaninoff.

Through a Dog's Ear and Through a Cat's Ear soundtracks are used in 100,000+ homes, shelters, and veterinary centers around the world. Since their soothing music affects both ends of the leash, they will also be discussing ways to improve your human soundscape that benefits 2-legged animals as well as 4-legged animals.

Presented by the University of Minnesota's Nature-Based Therapeutic Services, a shared initiative with the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and the Center for Spirituality and Healing to further the understanding of how nature heals. 

For more information on this conference or on Nature-Based Therapeutics Services, please contact Dr. Jean Larson: larso095@umn.edu


Consider attending these additional programs!

"What a Fish Knows" Author Jonathan Balcombe

Thursday, October 27, 3:30-4:30 p.m.
University of MN Coffman Union, Room 324
$FREE! No registration,
just show up
Interview Facilitated by
Tane S. Danger
The Theater of Public Policy

Through a Pet's Ear: Music to improve animal health and behavior

Thursday, October 27, 7 p.m.
University of MN Tedd Mann Concert Hall
$10 Advance Registration/$15 at the door

Man's Best Friend...Really!
Artist Kari Maxwell's playful interpretations of the animals in our lives.
October 1 - October 30, 2016
Cafe Gallery, MN Landscape Arboretum
FREE with Arboretum admission! No registration, just show up


Online, click on the green "Register" button listed with the conference.
Or call 612-301-1210 to register by phone. 

Call 612-301-1210
or email: ArbEdu@umn.edu

Cancellation Policy
Registration cancellations must be made two weeks prior to class date in order to receive refund. A $5 processing fee will apply.

Become a Conference Sponsor




Become an Endorsing Organization

Animal Inspirations, LLC
Boynton Health Services

Brill Publishing
Chuck & Don's
Doggone Good
Goldwood Kennels/Pet Air America
Living Well Disability Services
Make time to PAWS
Mom Enough®
North Star Therapy Animals
Paws & Effect
P.E.A.S.E Academy
People and Pets Together
R.E.A.D. Dogs MN
River Valley Riders
The Gryphon Press
Touchstone Mental Health
Total Dog Company
University of Minnesota School of Music

Whisker Fabulous