Leadership Project

The Environmental Conservation MS program culminates with an applied conservation project with a leading organization. This is your program for your professional goals. Therefore, we don’t have a limited set of organizations or projects from you to choose from. Instead, we learn your background and understand your professional aspirations.

Together, we identify relevant organizations and through conversations develop a unique and meaningful project that meets your goals and supports the organization’s ongoing work.

Watch this video to hear directly from students about their projects.

Leadership Project Examples

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Rwanda
A student standing in an African prairie, with giraffes in the background

Forest restoration in Rwanda

  • Background: BS biology and environmental science; four years of professional experience focused on project management
  • Partner: IUCN-Rwanda
  • Location: Kigali, Rwanda
  • Implemented evaluation metrics to measure success and better understand what works in large-scale forest restoration
Networks
A field of native prairie plants just before sunset

Strategies for Engaging and Maintaining Long-Distance Networks

  • Background: BS psychology; six years of professional experience focused on public education
  • Partner: Aldo Leopold Foundation
  • Location: Baraboo, Wisconsin
  • Developed system to facilitate and maintain the growing long-distance network of Land Ethic Leaders training participants, establishing recommendations to engage their network more effectively
National Parks
A geyser erupting while a large group watches

Documenting visitor use in critical national park ecosystems

  • Background: BA English language and literature; joined program directly from undergrad
  • Partner: National Park Service Social Science Team
  • Location: Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park
  • Worked with social science team to document and monitor visitor use patterns at high profile, critically important tourist sites to better inform management practices
Wolves
Close-up view of a gray wolf staring back at the camera

Reducing Human-Wildlife Conflict: Wolves in the Classroom

  • Background: BA elementary education, three years of professional experience focused on teaching
  • Partner: Timber Wolf Alliance
  • Location: Wisconsin
  • Developed toolkit website complete with educational resources aligned with state standards with overarching goal of reducing impacts of human-wildlife conflict
Cities
Wide-angle view of ivy-covered high-rise apartments against a blue sky

Scaling sustainable cities development

  • Background: BS environmental science, joined directly from undergrad
  • Partner: WWF-Cities
  • Location: Lund, Sweden
  • Researched and scripted content for massive online open course (MOOC) focused on sharing best practices of sustainable cities development
Collaboratives
Scenic view of a lavender field with trees and mountains in the background

Partner engagement in landscape conservation collaboratives

  • Background: BS psychology/sociology, MEd counseling, eight years of professional experience focused on advising, counseling and outreach
  • Partner: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Location: Portland, Oregon
  • Fully designed new partner engagement strategy for the Cascades to Coast Landscape Collaborative, conducting complete re-branding process, developing a style guide, relevant infographics and new website
Elk
Close-up view of an elk standing in a lush forest

Elk herd management and monitoring

  • Background: BS genetics, joined directly from undergrad
  • Partner: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
  • Location: Madison, Wisconsin
  • Monitored ecologically and culturally important elk distribution throughout the state to better inform management decisions and communicate with the public, mapping ranges, positions, and associated habitat
Waste
Group photo of four students posing next to a lake, with canoes in the background

Ocean debris reduction through island waste management

  • Background: BS biology, one year of professional experience in aquarium education
  • Partner: IUCN-Asia
  • Location: Kao Yao Yai, Thailand
  • Designed evaluation for island waste management and conducted extensive community-use surveys, informing community engagement strategy for marine debris reduction
Flood
Aerial view of a flooded city

Flood resilience in the face of climate change

  • Background: BS environmental studies, four years of professional experience focused on IT Administration
  • Partner: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
  • Location: Throughout Wisconsin
  • Developed mitigation strategies in response to increased flooding events, furthering the development of a key tool in assessing flood resilience in rural communities
Landscape
Forest and mountain landscape

Evaluating large landscape conservation efforts and metrics for success

  • Background: BFA dance, eight years of professional experience focused on development and operations
  • Partner: Yellowstone to Yukon
  • Location: Purcell-Cabinet Mountain Corridor (Missoula, Montana to Central Canadian Rockies)
  • Evaluated the collaborative efforts in large landscape conservation, reassessing the metrics used to measure success with the goal of better demonstrating effectiveness
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