IDS 369/CL 668:
Internship in Conservation Leadership

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Courses: IDS 369 (tbd)/CL 668 (CRN tbd); class 3 credits
Course title: Internship in Conservation Leadership
Instructors: Dr. Hans-Peter Plag,
Office Hours: On request.
Term: Summer 2023, 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 of Students

Blaizen Bloom

    Rocco Boyd

    Meagan Duncan

    Ashawne Edwards

      Tinamarie Haskell

      Alivia Markham

      Adelle Novak

      Elaine Walters

      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 did not take place. 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. The feedback from the 2022 interns indicated that they would have very much appreciated to have the experience of the orientation workshop. Therefore, an orientation workshop will take place on May 11-12, 2023.

      The 2023 Orientation Workshop is jointly organized by Hans-Peter Plag and Mamie Parker. Mamie Parker has been supporting the Sustainability and Conservation Leadership program at ODU from the start in 2017. Her contribution to the workshop as modertaor and speaker are very much appreciated by the students. Mamie Parker was the Former Head of the US Fishe and Wildlife Resources Fisheries and she is the Chair of the Student Conservation Association Board and the Department of Wildlife Resources Commission.

      Agenda for Orientation Workshop, Thursday, May 11, 2023 and Friday, May 12, 2023

      Thursday, May 11, 2023, 1:00 pm - 6:00 pm, Ground Floor, Innovation Research Park II, 4211 Monarch Way, Norfolk

      1:00 pm - 3:30 pm:The Sustainability and Conservation Leadership Program
      1:00 - 1:20:Mamie Parker, Hans-Peter Plag (MARI, ODU): Introductions, Icebreaker and Ground Rules
      1:20 - 1:40:Hans-Peter Plag (ODU): Focus on the Future — The Sustainability and Conservation Leadership Program at ODU (presentation)
      1:40 - 2:25:Environmental Conservation Work: Current Practices and Challenges — a Conversation. Panelists: Karen Forget (Lynnhaven River Now), Lauren Mowbray (Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge), Larry Lappel (Paradice Creek Nature Park), Leah Schwartzentruber (Edisto Beach State Park, South Carolina), Eddie Hill (Weber State University. Utah); Moderator: Hans-Peter Plag
      2:25 - 2:50: Amanda L. Gonzales, International Affairs Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Conservation Leadership: Lessons learned while working in Latin America and the Caribbean (slides)
      2:50 - 3:50:Panel Discussion - Priorities for Conservation in a Changing World. Panelists: Jennifer Allen (Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources), Ashley Morgan (Hoffler Creek Wildlife Preserve), Steven Traylor (City Norfolk), Samantha Pettit (Edisto Beach State Park, South Carolina); Moderator: Mamie Parker
      3:50 pm - 4:00 pm:Coffee Break
      16:00 - 18:00:Stakeholder Meeting: Preparing the Built Environment in Grenada for Sea-Level Rise and Heavy Precipitation
      16:00 - 16:05:All: Round of Introduction
      16:05 - 16:20:Hans-Peter Plag: A Template for Transdisciplionary Participatory Case Studies of Wicked Problems
      16:20 - 17:20:Blaizen Bloom, Rocco Boyd, Meagan Duncan, Ashawne Edwards, Jai Lewis, Alivia Markham, Adelle Novak: Preparing the Built Environment in Grenada for Sea-Level Rise and Increased Heavy Precipitation (slides)
      17:20 - 17:40:All: Questions and Answers
      17:40 - 18:00:All: Discussion on Further Development of Service Learning as a Cornerstone of the Program

      Friday, May 12, 2023, 8:30 am - 4:15 pm, CCPO, Innovation Research Park I, 4111 Monarch Way, Norfolk

      08:30 am - 10:00 am:Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future
      08:30 - 08:45:All: Reflections on the Previous Day
      08:45 - 09:30:Hans-Peter Plag (Moderator): Panel: Reflections on the Past Experience — With students from previous Cohorts: Kimberly Allen, Elton van Buskirk, Kelly Jones
      09:30 - 10:20:Mamie Parker: Emotional Intelligence Awareness (slides)
      10:20 am - 10:30 am:Coffee Break
      10:30 am - 12:15 pm:The 2022/2023 Students: Internship Presentations and Feedback:
      • 10:30 Blaizen Bloom: City of Norfolk: City Forestry (slides)
      • 10:30 Meagan Duncan: Back Bay NWR (slides)
      • 10:45 Ashawne Edwards: Hoffler Creek Wildlife Reserve
      • 11:00 Rocco Boyd and Alivia Markham: Lynnhaven River Now (slides)
      • 11:30 Adelle Novak: Paradise Creek Nature Park (slides)
      • 11:45 Elaine Walters: Edisto Beach State Park (slides)
      • 12:00 Discussion and Reflections
      12:15 pm - 1:15 pm:Lunch Break
      1:15 pm - 4:15 pm:Preparing for the Internships
      1:15 - 1:45:Hans-Peter Plag: Knowing Your Values
      1:45 - 2:00:Mamie Parker and Hans-Peter Plag: Visioning a Successful Internship (slides)
      2:00 - 3:00:The 2022/23 Students: Individual Exercises: Legacy Sketch and Coat of Arms (slides)
      3:00 - 3:15:Hans-Peter Plag: Building the Sustainability and Conservation Leadership Community
      3:15 - 4:15:All: Reflections, Hopes and Fears, Burning Questions and Answers, Parking Lot Items, Final Thoughts and Moving Forward.