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Building Conservation Leaders

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Goals and Objectives

MARI and ODU will engage in activities in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) that facilitate the development of the next generation of conservation professionals with the goal to enable these professionals to address conservation under changing climate and rising sea levels. The specific goal is to prepare students for practical work experience in conservation biology and to support the FWS in recruiting qualified students for related employment opportunities.

The project will lay the basis for a long-term sustained teaching program tailored to meet the needs of federal agencies engaged in conservation in terms of conservation professionals, including those at leadership levels. The teaching program will include service learning components and internships to ensure a high level of practical experience. The teaching program will be linked to a research program in conservation to ensure state-of-the-art teaching contents.

To achieve these goals, the project has four main objectives:

  1. Develop curricula for conservation-related undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education certificates, including leadership certificates, with a strong focus on required job qualifications for conservation and environmental fields as part of the federal work force and international development agencies, including future leaders and the continuous education of current leaders.
  2. Define and implement a service learning program that includes service at FWS facilities as part of the course work and integrate service-learning components into the curricula for the certificates.
  3. Develop an internship program that will assist the FWS to recruit students for employment opportunities that provide practical work experience in conservation biology and knowledge of administrative support functions.
  4. Co-designed with the FWS a research agenda to meet the practice-relevant knowledge needs arising from the impact of climate change and sea level rise on the federal work carried out by the FWS.