Friday, February 4th, 2011...5:49 pm

5th Annual Conservation Leadership Practicum Wraps Up

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The 2011 Conservation Leadership Practicum ended successfully on January 21 after two busy weeks. This year’s group of 26 enthusiastic Conservation Leaders included participants from the Bhutan Trust Fund for Environmental Conservation, the Land Trust Alliance, and the Scripps Institution for Oceanography in San Diego, along with recent graduates from Middlebury College, a group of outstanding MIIS students, and a few professionals in the midst of a career change.  We were proud to celebrate with Dr. Lam Dorjj when he received news that his organization, The Royal Society for the Protection of Nature, received a $350,000 grant from the MacArthur Foundation to continue its important work in Bhutan.

During the ten-day course, the students interviewed several local conservation executives including Julie Packard of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Christina Fisher of the Nature Conservancy, Carol Bernthal from NOAA, and Mark Silberstein from the Elkhorn Slough Foundation. Field visits to successful conservation sites included the private Dorrance Ranch, the Elkhorn Slough and ALBA’s Triple M Ranch. The stunning Monterey coast was in all its glory during the practicum, offering sunny skies and temps near 70 degrees! Due to the clear skies, from the top of a mountain on Dorrance Ranch participants saw the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevadas. On another field visit, the CLP group spotted migrating grey whales as they made their way towards Mexico for the winter.

Core instructors included MIIS’ Dr. Jeff Langholz, Dr. Richard Margoluis of Foundations of Success who joined us from Costa Rica and Guillermo Rivero of Root Change from Washington D.C. Dr. Langholz, who has served as the CLP Academic Coordinator for five years, noted, “This unique course continues to attract incredible participants from around the world. They come to Monterey, acquire the skills and knowledge leaders need most. It changes lives and catapults careers.”

The talented participants left CLP with skills to plan and execute successful conservation projects in the U.S. and beyond. Skills acquired included: use of Miradi project management software, financial management, cultivating major donors, conflict resolution, media relations, and avoiding ethical pitfalls.

Participants honed their new skills by creating plans for seven of the world’s newest conservation projects. Prior knowledge and expertise, combined with skills learned during CLP assisted the participants in creating comprehensive strategies to conserve:

  • Penguins in Isla Pinguino National Park, Argentina
  • Tigers in Banke National Park, Nepal
  • A Coral Reef ecosystem in St. Maarten’s Marine Protected Area, St. Maarten
  • Sea Turtles and archaeological artifacts in Ussangoda National Park, Sri Lanka
  • Virgin Boreal forest in Mealy Mountains National Park, Canada
  • Reefs, recreation, and fishing in Southern California Marine Protected Areas, USA
  • Elephants in Mount Cameroon National Park, Cameroon

The field-based final exam took place at one of California’s most complex conservation project sites and required students to apply knowledge and skills they had acquired during the practicum.

Stay tuned to the CLP blog for announcements regarding the next CLP and complete an interest survey so you can take part in next year’s exciting Conservation Leadership Practicum!

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