IDS 369/CL 668:
Internship in Conservation Leadership

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

Courses: IDS 369 (CRN 33763)/CL 668 (CRN 35251); class 3 credits
Course title: Internship in Conservation Leadership
Instructors: Dr. Hans-Peter Plag,
Office Hours: On request.
Term: Summer 2022, May - August
Time: Variable (appointment based)
Location: Variable


IDS 369 and CL 668 are mandatory courses for the Minor in Sustainability and Conservation Leadership (IDS 369) and for the graduate Certificate in Conservation Leadership (CL 668). The interships in these courses are conducted either as part-time of full-time internships. The internship mandates 300 hours at the host institution.

Prior to being admitted to the courses, 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 and/or sustainability. 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 and Outputs of Students

George Bonsall

  • Tackling the Wicked Problem of a Desirable Future for the Back Bay NWR facing the Challenges of Climate Change and Sea Level Rise
  • Promotional Presentation

Rebecca Boyd

Benjamin Leonard

Catie Sauer

Orientation Workshop

In the past, prior to starting the internship, participation in an Orientation Workshop is mandatory. During this workshop, the students were introduced to working at the host institutions. The ethics and value system guiding the host institution were discussed. Participants in previous courses who have finished the Minor participated and reflected on their experience in the program and the value of the program for their career plans.

The 2022 Orientation Workshop has been postponed. Instead, preparatory meetings took place with the instructor meeting with individiual students and discussing a notebook prepared by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.