September 20-22, 2019 / Seattle, WA


Discover the glass box party of the year.

Realizing that it's typical for hobby practices to plateau and fall into formulaic techniques and unquestioned dogma, the goal of MICROCOSM is to keep focusing our attention toward the horizon, examining approaches to vivarium culture and the keeping of flora and fauna that oftentimes go undetected.

MICROCOSM delves more deeply into these environmental and creative landscapes, showcasing some of the planet's lesser seen and underappreciated ecosystems as well as introducing you to innovative and artistic approaches to their re-creation...all without spilling a single drop of beer.


September 20-22, 2019


Seattle, WA




MICROCOSM celebrates the natural world and our understanding of it through the creation of naturalistic microcosms (terrariums, aquariums, etc.). Through events and presentations we explore themes of conservation and sustainability as they apply to nature-based hobbies, as well as consider novel and innovative approaches to enclosure design and captive husbandry.

Over the course of the 3-day event there is plenty of time for socializing, as well as buying/selling plants and animals through our Expedition Tables and live auction.  MICROCOSM is a one-of-a-kind experience that seeks to raise the bar in how we practice and approach vivarium culture and, ultimately, the world in which we live.


2019 Presenter


(Not Twan.)

From a young age on, Twan Leenders has been fascinated by tropical rainforests and the exotic plants and animals that inhabit them. Growing up in a small town in the Netherlands, he devoured every relevant book his local library had to offer. While finishing up his degree in Biology and Animal Ecology at the University of Nijmegen in the early 1990s, Twan spent six months in the rainforest of Costa Rica to study coral snake mimicry and survey the herpetofauna of the rainforest canopy – from that point on there was no turning back…

After a stint in Germany, at the Senckenberg Museum, and several years of living and working in various parts of Central America, Twan moved to the U.S. in 2000 where he worked as a researcher in the Division of Herpetology and Ichthyology of Yale University's Peabody Museum of Natural History. Since then, he has worked as an Assistant Professor of Biology at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT, and returned to the trenches of conservation research and outreach while leading the Science and Conservation Office of the Connecticut Audubon Society. As President of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History (RTPI), he now applies his experience to Western New York and develops new conservation research and education initiatives that aim to spark increased interest in the area’s unique natural history while providing economic incentives to promote good environmental stewardship. However, the reach of RTPI’s conservation programs extends well beyond that region and Twan returns to Costa Rica and Panama regularly, with or without student researchers in tow, to band migratory birds on their wintering grounds and to study some of the planet's most threatened amphibian populations, including two species of Atelopus. 

Based on the notion that all stewardship starts with education, Twan has always been keenly interested in sharing his experience and knowledge. He has authored three books and numerous magazine and journal articles on the wildlife of Costa Rica, including the very first field guide to amphibians and reptiles for that country in 2001. His new field guide to the amphibians of Costa Rica was released last November and he is working hard to complete the companion reptile guide by the end of this year. As an avid photographer and wildlife artist, his images adorn the pages of these books. However, Twan's images have also appeared in many publications by the National Geographic Society, GEO, Dorling Kindersley, and numerous other magazines and books. His field guide illustrations are currently in use for educational purposes and displays at the Royal Ontario Museum, Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, the California Academy of Sciences and Smithsonian’s new ‘BioMuseo’ in Panama City, Panama.

In 2013, Twan joined the 'Meet your Neighbours' Global Biodiversity Project as a contributing photographer and administrator. Contributors to this project use striking high-key photography to draw attention to the plants and animals living in their backyards – wherever on the planet these backyards may be. Combining his love for photography and his work at RTPI, Twan follows in the footsteps of the Institute’s namesake, Roger Tory Peterson, to provide the general public with the tools and knowledge to better understand – and hopefully protect – the fascinating biodiversity that surrounds us. 

2017 Sponsors

BUSINESSES & Organizations:

INDIVIDUALS ($100+ level)

Steve Waldron
Rob Mohr
Chris Anderson
Sarah Smeltz
Anthony Mazeroll
Tor Linbo

INDIVIDUALS ($200+ level)

Gabriel Wauson
Jonathan Garrett

Pacific Northwest Vivarium Society (PNVS)