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Tuesday, February 7 • 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Poster Display. Partnering with Graduate Programs for Conservation

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AUTHORS: Vicky J. Meretsky, School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University; Robert L. Fischman, Maurer School of Law at Indiana University.

ABSTRACT: Graduate programs related to environmental sciences and policy and to natural resource management can be valuable partners for conservation agencies and organizations. Indiana University's School of Public and Environmental Affairs requires graduate students to complete capstone courses that undertake semester-long projects for client organizations. Capstone classes work with nonprofit organizations including the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA), as well as for agencies including the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Working with client representatives, students have assessed State Wildlife Action Plans, reviewed national wildlife refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plans, provided groundwork for AFWA's blue-ribbon panel on fund-raising for nongame wildlife, provided recommendations for evaluating the National Water Quality Initiative, and assessed state capacity for imperiled species recovery. Whereas agencies often look to academic programs at land-grant universities that require theses and dissertations, capstone classes from professional programs provide groups of students that can approach projects from several angles simultaneously. Any single class can include students with advanced training in ecology and conservation, environmental management and policy, statistics, nonprofit management and philanthropy, program evaluation, and policy analysis. Students in these programs are usually trained to work with clients, to manage projects, and to synthesize information and communicate results to client-specified audiences that are more often managers and policy makers, not the researchers who are the usual audience for theses and dissertations. Working together, with client guidance, student groups can undertake projects that agencies and organizations list as high priorities but must forego due to staffing and financial limitations. In our experience, conservation agencies and organizations are unaccustomed to reaching beyond land-grant universities to take advantage of students in professional programs. We summarize relevant projects and provide guidelines for success in these promising partnerships.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm CST
Lancaster Ballroom

Attendees (1)