University of Wisconsin–Madison
Photos: Felix Cybulla

Conservation Essentials: Vital Skills for Implementing and Managing Conservation Projects

Make a positive impact on conservation efforts! Gain critical skills in planning and managing conservation projects. The Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation (or Conservation Standards) provide a set of best practices to select strategies, test assumptions, adapt and improve conservation actions, share learning, and be more effective in an increasingly complex world.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, in collaboration with conservation specialists from Foundations of Success (FOS), the Conservation Measures Partnership (CMP), and the Conservation Coaches Network (CCNet), is now offering a course on Step 3. Implement of the Conservation Standards.

How well-regarded is this course in the conservation community?

The Conservation Measures Partnership (CMP), a partnership of leading conservation-oriented NGOs, government agencies, and funders (including, for example, WWF, TNC, USAID and the Jane Goodall Institute), has endorsed the course and given it an “excellent” rating. The course, designed by conservationists steeped in the Conservation Standards, has been enthusiastically received by the Conservation Standards community.

Register now

We will launch our first course for the general public on Monday, August 31.

View the course brochure (pdf)


Gain skills needed to be successful in conservation, using the Conservation Standards

Learn how to be more effective at project planning, management, and fundraising

Expand professional networks by interacting with other conservation practitioners and learning from their projects

Gain a competitive advantage in applying for jobs or advancing within your organization

Photos: Ashleigh Baker (top) and Felix Cybulla

Three Reasons to Consider Conservation Essentials


Conservation Essentials is endorsed by the Conservation Measures Partnership (CMP), a partnership of more than 20 leading conservation organizations.


The course offers a flexible online platform to fit into busy schedules.


The course supports learning from leaders in conservation and direct interaction with the course instructor.

Photo: Felix Cybulla

The Details

Suggested Prerequisites

This course assumes that students are familiar with strategic planning as covered under Steps 1 and 2 of the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation.

This course complements existing Nelson Institute conservation planning courses. The Environmental Conservation MS degree curriculum includes a semester-long conservation planning course in Steps 1-2 of the Conservation Standards and a five-week course in Steps 3-5 of the Conservation Standards.

Who will benefit from this course?

  • Graduate students in Environmental Conservation and related fields
  • Conservation practitioners wishing to increase their expertise in advanced steps of the Conservation Standards
  • Conservation organizations wishing to train their employees in advanced steps of the Conservation Standards

Team, Instructors, Partners

  • Content developers: Felix Cybulla, Marika Suval, and Foundations of Success (FOS)
  • Developers of the course are members of the Teaching Adaptive Management (TAM) Network, a Conservation Coaches Network (CCNet) community of practice focused on developing and administering Conservation Standards-based strategic management courses.
  • CCNet aims to improve conservation by empowering people to develop, implement, evaluate, adapt and share effective strategies that achieve tangible conservation results benefitting both people and nature all over the world.
  • This course is supported by the Conservation Measures Partnership (CMP), a partnership of conservation-oriented NGOs, government agencies, and funders that work collectively to achieve greater conservation impact.

Felix Cybulla (co-lead)
Independent Consultant for Conservation Planning and Adaptive Management, Conservation Standards Coach

Marika Suval (co-lead)
Communications and Strategic Planning Consultant, Conservation Standards Coach

Ashleigh Baker
Program and Communications Officer at Foundations of Success (FOS)

Karl Didier
Director of Science and Monitoring at Rainforest Trust

Arlyne Johnson
Senior Program Officer at Foundations of Success (FOS)

Caroline Stem
Program Director at Foundations of Success (FOS)

Armando Valdés-Velásquez
Senior Program Officer at Foundations of Success (FOS)

Course Registration and Costs

To register for this 12-week course, submit your application online. We are limiting the size of our course to 20 people for the remainder of 2020, and registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

Register now

Course Cost

$1,500 USD, which includes a $250 deposit due at registration. The remaining $1,250 in tuition needs to be paid by the start of the course. A credit card is required for registration. If paying by credit card is not possible, please email for alternative payment options.

Financial Assistance

Those with a demonstrated financial need can submit an application for a financial award that reduces the cost of the course.

Apply for financial assistance

Frequently Asked Questions

Visit the UW-Madison website
Visit the Conservation Measures Partnership website
Visit the Conservation Coaches Network Teaching Adaptive Management website
Visit the Foundations of Success website