Orlando Science Center's Inspiring Innovation Gala honors hometown hero

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Orlando Science Center hosted its inaugural Inspiring Innovation Gala on October 13 to honor hometown hero Dr. Peter Pritchard, who has been recognized worldwide for his achievements in turtle and tortoise conservation.

Funds raised from the sold out event will support both Orlando Science Center and Dr. Pritchard’s own Chelonian Research Institute. Funds will also go towards a new program initiative at Orlando Science Center in Dr. Pritchard’s name.

The formal event included cocktails, live music, photo opps with live giant Galapagos tortoises and other turtles, a silent auction of original paintings created by the turtle artists of the Chelonian Research Institute, and dinner. 

The evening program was a tribute to Dr. Pritchard’s life and work, emceed by Carolyn Fennell and including remarks by his wife Sibille Hart Pritchard, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, Orlando Science Center President and CEO JoAnn Newman and Entrepreneur and Conservationist Eric Goode, a close personal friend of the Pritchards and founder of the Turtle Conservancy. 

Artist Rock Demarco completed one of his “speed paintings” during the event that was included in the live auction hosted by Alan Ginsburg that wrapped up the evening program. Then guests proceeded to the “Playing with Light” exhibit on the floor below for a vibrant after party with food, cocktails and live entertainment. 

Dr. Pritchard’s tireless work on behalf of the world’s turtles and tortoises has taken him to over 100 countries. The Discovery Channel recognized him as “Champion of the Wild,” TIME magazine named him a “Hero of the Planet,” and he has been declared “Floridian of the Year” by Orlando Sentinel.

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