IDS 369/CL 668:
Internship in Conservation Leadership

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

Courses: IDS 369 (CRN 33920)/CL 668 (CRN 35588); 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 2021, May - August
Time: Variable (appointment based)
Location: Varible


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

Michala Hendrick

Keigan Thornton

Kimberly Allen

Morgan Thomas

Jack Saladino

    Orientation Workshop

    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 in their experience.

    The 2021 Orientation Workshop was held on May 11, 2021 as a virtual Workshop.

    Agenda for Orientation Workshop, Tuesday, May 11, 2021

    08:30 - 10:15:Part 1
    08:30 - 08:50:Mamie Parker, Hans-Peter Plag (MARI, ODU): Introductions, Icebreaker and Ground Rules
    08:50 - 09:10:Eddie Hill (ODU): Group exercises - Getting to Know Each Other
    09:10 - 09:45:Alisa Rawlins (FWS), Hans-Peter Plag (ODU): Focus on the Future — The FWS and ODU Partnership (presentation Plag)
    9:45 - 10:30:Eddie Hill (ODU, Moderator): Environmental Conservation Work and the Relationship of the People to Nature: What we learned from the Pandemic — a Conversation. Panelists: Lary Lapell, PCNP; Jennifer Huggins, FLSP; Karen Forget, Lynnhaven River Now
    10:30 - 10:40:Coffee Break
    10:40 - 12:00:Part 2
    10:40 - 10:50:Amy A Pokempner: FWS Activities in Africa
    10:50 - 11:30:Mamie Parker (Moderator): Panel Discussion - Priorities for Conservation in a Changing World. Panelists: Judy Dunscomb, TNC; Bridget Nelson, THESCA; Margaret Whitmore, DWR; Lauren Cruz, USFWS.
    11:30 - 11:50:The 2021 Students: Reflections on the Group Case Study on the Regeneration of Piney Run At Kings Eye, Baltimore County, MD
    11:50 - 12:00:All: Discussion on Further Development of Service Learning as a Cornerstone of the Program
    12:00 - 12:30:Lunch — Join us for a viewing of Louie Schwartzberg’s TED Talk: Nature. Beauty. Gratitude. (12:20 pm)
    12:30 - 15:00:Part 3
    12:30 - 12:40:Eddie Hill: Group Exercise - Reset Body and Mind After Lunch
    12:40 - 13:15:Hans-Peter Plag (Moderator): Panel: Reflections from the Past — With students from the 2020 Cohort: Christianna Morton, Dylan Lawson, Kelly Jones, Daniel Martin
    13:15 - 13:45:Mamie Parker: Emotional Intelligence Awareness (presentation Parker)
    13:45 - 14:45:The 2021 Students: Internship Presentations and Feedback:
    • 13:45 Kimberly Allen: Virtual Community Center (Lynnhaven River Now)
    • 14:00 Jack Saladino: Oyster castles (The Nature Conservancy)
    • 14:15 Morgan Thompson: Controling Snakeheads (VA Department of Wildlife Resources)
    • 14:30 Shawn McCarren: Controling invasive Species (Paradise Creek Nature Park)
    14:45 - 15:00:Tea Break
    15:00 - 15:45:The 2021 Students: Internship Presentations and Feedback:
    • 15:00 Tiffany Wood: American Crocodile (TBD)
    • 15:15 Keigan Thornton: Prescribed Burns (Great Dismal Swamp National Wild Life Refuge)
    • 15:30 Michala Hendricks: Prescribed Burns (Great Dismal Swamp National Wild Life Refuge)
    • 15:45 Discussion and Reflections
    16:00 - 17:30:Part 4
    16:00 - 16:20:Mamie Parker: Visioning a Successful Internship (coat of arms, goal poster)
    16:20 - 16:40:Hans-Peter Plag: Knowing Your Values
    16:40 - 17:00:Eddie Hill: Setting the Stage for a Successful Internship (presentation)
    17:00 - 17:30:Alisa Rawlins, Mamie Parker: Tools for Success
    17:30 - 17:45:All: Reflections, Hopes and Fears, Burning Questions and Answers, Parking Lot Items, Final Thoughts and Moving Forward.