IDS 369:
Internship in Conservation Leadership

Overview (print)
Curriculum (print)
Legal and formal issues (print)
Access to Workspace

Courses: IDS 369 (CRN 34940), GRAD 569 (CRN tbd); class 3 credits
Course title: Internship in Conservation Leadership
Instructors: Dr. Hans-Peter Plag,
Office Hours: On request.
Dr. Eddie Hill
Office Hours: On request
Term: Summer 2019, July - August
Time: Variable (appointment based)
Location: Varible


The course is a mandatory course for the Minor in Conservation Leadership. The interships in this course are conducted either as part-time of full-time internships. The intership mandates 300 hours at the host institution. Each student was required to submit an individual application to ensure that the student could be matched to requirements of a particular internship. After submission of the application and resume, an interview was scheduled with the advisors to ensure that there is an optimal match between the host, project, location, etc., and the student's interests and qualifications.

Each internship will focus on a wicked problem related to a "real-world issue" that constituted a leadership challenge in conservation. The student is expected to use the concepts of adaptation and sustainability science to analyse the wicked problem and to develop options of how to tackle this problem. The MARI case study template will be used for that. Each student will be mentored in the context of the course and will have a dedicated supervisor at the host institution. Weekly reports (bi-weekly for part-time internships) and weekly conversations of mentor and student will ensure that the mentor can provide guidance and support the student when needed. All submissions of reports and other documents have to be made in the workspace.

Experiences of Students

James McCann

Elton van Buskirk

  • Research Report: Sustainable strategies for the maintenance of grassland in the Rappahannock NWR under climate change.
  • Promotional Presentation
  • Video

Tianna Williams

Alexa Zwicker

Orientation Workshop

Prior to starting the internship, participation in an Orientation Workshop is mandatory. During this workshop, the students are introduced to working at the host institutions. The ethics and value system guiding the host institution are discussed. Participants in previous courses who have finished the Minor will participate and reflect in their experience. The students will present their case study and their plans of how to address the wicked problem they are challenged to consider. The detailed program of the workshop is available below.

Participants of the Orientation Workshop. Back row from left: Christopher Zajchowski, Mamie Parker, Amanda Devleeschower, Lexi Watson, Tianna Williams, Amy Perez, Elton Van Buskirk, Shanna Rockett, Anthony Desocio, Hans-Peter Plag. Front rwo from left: Alisa Rawlins, James McCann, Eddie Hill, Alexa Zwicker.

ODU and US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Partnership
Internship Program Orientation Workshop
Old Dominion University
July 1-2, 2019

July 1, 2019

08:30 - 09:00:Mamie Parker, FWS Consultant/Program Mentori: Introductions, Icebreaker and Ground Rules
09:00 - 09:15:Eddie Hill: Group exercises - Getting to Know each other
09:15 - 09:45:Alisa Rawlins, FWS Headquarters, and Hans-Peter Plag, ODU: Focus on the FWS Future Workforce and Continuing Partnership of FWS and ODU (Plag presentation)
9:45 - 10:30:Eddie Hill (Moderator): Panel Discussion - State and Non-Governmental Organization Conservation Efforts with Karen Forget, Lynnhaven River Now, and Brock Environmental Center
10:30 - 10:45:Coffee Break
10:45 - 12:00:Mamie Parker (Moderator): Panel Discussion: U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Program Priorities: Lauren Mowbray, Back Bay NWR, Lauren Cruz, Rappahannock River NWR, Albert Spells, FWS Virginia Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office, Charles City
12:00 - 12:45:Lunch: Walk to Broderick Dining Hall
12:45 - 13:00:Eddie Hill: Group Exercises - Recovering from Lunch
13:00 - 13:30:The 2019 Students: The 2019 Cohort Group Project - A Reflection on the Case Study in Puerto Rico (presentation)
13:30 - 14:15:Panel: Brooke Base, Kayla Berger, Nikolai Karlov, Angela Kennedy, Alissa Ralston, Kahlil Scribner; Moderator: Hans-Peter Plag: Reflections from the Past: The 2017 and 2018 Cohort
14:15 - 15:00:The 2019 Students: Presentations on Internship projects with live Feedback
15:00 - 15:15:Break
15:15 - 16:00:The 2019 Students: Presentations on Internship projects with live Feedback
16:00 - 16:45:Aaron Bunch, Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries: Managing Fisheries in a Changing World (presentation)
16:45 - 17:25:Albert Spells, FWS Virginia Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office: A Discussion: Journey of a Fishery Biologist (presentation)
17:25 - 17:30:Wrap-up for the day

July 2, 2019

08:30 - 08:45:Eddie Hill: Group Exercise - A Fresh Start.
08:45 - 09:30:Eddie Hill, Hans-Peter Plag, ODU: Leadership Core Values Conflict-Challenge Course
09:30 - 10:30:Jill Bieri, Director of Virginia Coast Reserve: An Overview of the The Nature Conservancy’s Global Work and the Long-Term Ecological Research at the Virginia Coast Reserve (presentation)
10:30 - 10:40:Coffee Break
10:40 - 12:00:Mamie Parker, Program Mentor : Planning a Successful Internship with Emotional Intelligence Awareness (presentation)
12:00 - 12:50:Lunch: Walk to Broderick Dining Hall
12:50 - 13:40:The 2019 Students: Individual Exercise — Visioning a Successful Internship and Conservation Career (Coat of Arms)
13:40 - 14:20:Hans-Peter Plag: Being a Conservation and Sustainability Leader in a Changing World: A Conversation
14:20 - 14:40:Shanna Crockett, ODU, and Alison Sasnett-FWS representative: Documenting and Sharing the Experience of the Internship Project
14:40 - 15:00:Break and Picture
15:00 - 16:20:Alison Sasnett, FWS, Eddie Hill, ODU: Setting the Stage for a Successful Internship (Hill presentation)
16:20 - 16:30:Reflections, hopes and fears, burning questions and answers, parking lot items, moving forward.
16:30:Closing Remarks and memory moments