“EWCL has exceeded my expectations. I love the network, the board and the trainings. I love the design and the process. Having the ability to work on a real project has truly allowed me to apply the skills I’m developing in a way that will stick.”
“I have loved the program, my teammates, the trainings and the mentors I’ve gained through this experience. I’ve learned so much and I look forward to staying involved in the future.”
“EWCL is a life-changing event. I have become more confident with my role in the conservation world. The networking aspect is phenomenal. All of the information is useful.”
“The contact with young conservationists, EWCL members and speakers was a wonderful opportunity for professional and personal growth. The topics presented gave me a lot of new information and also made me think about new issues. It was also a great opportunity to increase my networking and to possibly do new partnerships!”
These are just some of the statements from participants in the second training of the 2011/2012 Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders (EWCL) class, held March 19-22, 2012 at the White Oak Conservation Center in Yulee, Florida. EWCL is a collaborative project between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wildlife Conservation Network, International Fund for Animal Welfare and the White Oak Conservation Center, designed to build capacity for wildlife conservation within existing conservation organizations and entities. This is accomplished by providing training in leadership and campaign skills, offering networking and mentoring opportunities, and facilitating tangible, on-the-ground conservation projects that benefit imperiled wildlife.
The 2011/2012 EWCL class is comprised of 22 carefully selected up-and-coming leaders in the wildlife conservation field. Class members include individuals from a wide variety of not-for-profit, private, and government groups, as well as four international participants. This group gathered at White Oak for their second training -- three days of intensive skills and leadership workshops, along with mentoring and discussions about their professional growth and career direction.
The training included formal lectures, discussions, and exercises taught by EWCL board members, all seasoned wildlife conservation professionals, as well as one EWCL alumni who shared her expertise on using media to maximize conservation impact.
Session topics included:
- Cross cultural and diversity training
- Using media to promote conservation programs
- Crucial conversation skills
- Maximizing partnerships
- The role of advocacy
- Conducting international conservation work
- Strategic process
- Public speaking
- Professional networking
- Climate change
In addition, the four conservation project groups gave updates on their efforts and activities to date, including their accomplishments, remaining goals, fundraising, partnerships status, timeline, and evaluation plans. All four projects continue to move forward nicely, with successful fundraising and on-the-ground activities. The four projects are:
- Writing and promoting vital guidelines for sustainable guano harvesting to protect bat populations in Southeast Asia, while providing economic benefits to local communities;
- Developing husbandry training workshops, educational materials, and communications outreach materials to protect imperiled radiated tortoises in Madagascar;
- Creating a website and locally-lead citizen science project to identify and protect lions in northern Kenya; and
- Providing training for law enforcement officers in Thailand to fight the illegal and damaging exotic pet trade in slow lorises.
In addition to the trainings, experiential activities and project discussions and planning, each participant was given a 45 minute, one-on-one mentoring session with a board member or other visiting conservation professional. These sessions are carefully designed to pair participant interest with the appropriate mentor, and sessions focus on where participants hope to be in five, ten and fifteen years in their careers and lives, as well as what steps they are or could be taking to ensure reaching these goals.
The next, and final, training for this class will take place in Washington, DC on December 5th and 6th, 2012. There will be a 90-minute presentation by the participants on their conservation projects for EWCL sponsors, alumni and other colleagues on December 5th (mid-day), so please save the date. We will notify you of the specific time and location in the fall.
If you have any questions about the Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders program, please contact EWCL Board Co-chairs Jeff Flocken (703-536-1904) or Nina Fascione (512-809-9847).