Building the Future Leaders in Conservation

Project Team
Statement of Needs
Goals and Objectives
Park Services prepare for climate change
FWS Climate Change Update Newsletter

Project Period: July 2015 - December 2019.

Based on a Memorandum of Understanding between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS) and MARI at ODU, an undergraduate Minor and a graduate Certificates in Conservation Leadership have been implemented. A research agenda in conservation under climate change and sea level rise has been co-designed by FWS staff and MARI. In carrying out the project, MARI drew on expertise in a number of colleges and departments at ODU.

Project Summary

The Mitigation and Adaptation Research Institute (MARI) at Old Dominion University (ODU) carried out activities in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) that lay the basis for a long-term sustainable program of service learning, internships, and leadership certificates. This program facilitated 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. Emphasis was on the development of a new leadership capable of addressing the challenges posed by climate change and sea level rise. Leadership in conservation is particularly challenged by the need to review underlying paradigms and to initiate paradigm shifts where needed. MARI and ODU are addressing this challenge through the development of novel curricula, new forms of service learning, and leadership certificates tailored to meet the needs of agencies engaged in conservation. In the project, conservation curricula for certificates at undergraduate, graduate and continuing education levels, including leadership certificates, were developed in collaboration with the FWS and implemented and evaluated. In coordination with the FWS, a service learning program was defined that includes service at FWS facilities as part of the course work. Supervised internships were established for students to earn academic credits for practical work experience, both inside the service learning and certificate programs, and outside of these. The project assisted and coordinated with the FWS to recruit students for employment opportunities that provide practical work experience in conservation biology and knowledge of administrative support functions. The project worked with the FWS to co-design a research agenda that identified research needs in conservation, relevant environmental issues, and biodiversity in general with particular focus on climate change and sea level rise impacts. This research agenda contributed to the formation and development of curricula and service learning programs.

Transdisciplinary Minor in Conservation Leadership

In the frame of the project, a transdisciplinary Minor and a graduate Certificate in Conservation Leadership have been established and are available to student since the Fall term of 2016. For more information on the minor, see the web page. For detailed information on the graduate Certiciate, see the web page.

Research Agenda

As part of the project, we are compiling a research agenda to address knowledge gaps related to conservation under climate change and sea level rise. If you are an expert and would like to contribute to co-design this research agenda, please use the Write a Comment function to submit your input.