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.

View the course brochure (pdf)

Benefits

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

1

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

2

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

3

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. Registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

Course Cost

“$1,500 USD, to be paid in full at registration. A credit card is required for registration. If paying by credit card is not possible, please email csmanager@nelson.wisc.edu for alternative payment options.

Financial Assistance

Those with a demonstrated financial need can submit an application for a financial award that would provide a partial reduction of the total cost of the course.

Apply for financial assistance

Frequently Asked Questions

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Which specific aspects of the Conservation Standards will I learn in this course?

This course focuses on the implementation phase of the Conservation Standards (Step 3. Implement). It covers:

  • How to use the Conservation Standards to develop a work plan, timetable and budget
  • How to apply for funding and make critical budget decisions
  • How to set up structures for monitoring and reporting progress, including how to store and manage data

How will this course help me in my career?

You will:

  • 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 and learning from other conservation colleagues and their projects
  • Gain a competitive advantage in applying for jobs or advancing within your organization

What pre-knowledge of the Conservation Standards do I need to bring to the course?

The course assumes pre-knowledge of Steps 1 and 2 of the Conservation Standards and Miradi software. Students who need additional review are provided with resources such as the self-taught online course covering Steps 1 and 2 of the Conservation Standards at ConservationTraining.org (search "Conservation Action Planning"):

How much should I anticipate to work each week on course assignments?

Students should expect to work from 8 to 13 hours per week on course assignments. This includes reviewing lectures and readings, completing assignments, conducting peer reviews of assignments, and participating in group discussions.

How will I interact with and receive feedback from the course instructor?

The course instructor will hold two weekly, live, one-hour check-in meetings using the university online collaboration platform (e.g. Blackboard Collaborate). Students may ask course-related questions regarding logistics, technical questions, and processes via an online forum.

For personal questions related to grades and attendance, students may contact the instructor directly.

How will I interact with other students in the course?

This course places a high emphasis on group interaction and discussion. For example, assignments are designed to foster peer-to-peer review and group discussion via a virtual discussion board.

How will the course be graded?

The course consists of six modules. Students are expected to achieve a minimum score of 80 percent on each module assignment and to regularly participate in module discussions to receive a certificate of course completion.

Will I receive a certificate of completion once I complete the course?

Yes, all students who complete and meet the minimum requirements of the course will receive a certificate of completion.

I do not have the funds for this course. How can I request a scholarship?

For those who have a demonstrated financial need, please submit an application to be considered for a financial award that would provide a partial reduction of the total cost of the course.

What happens if I need to cancel my registration?

The $250 registration fee is not refundable, but it can be applied to future course enrollment. If you need to cancel your registration, please email csmanager@nelson.wisc.edu to be placed in the next available course.

What type of internet/technology access is required for participating in the course?

Please see this Technology Guidance page for details.

Whom do I contact if I am having technical problems with the course website?

Students receive detailed guidance for technical setup and have free access to UW-Madison's Information Technology (DoIT) helpdesk. If you experience any problems, a recommended first step is to consult the DoIT Knowledge Base.

How often is the course offered and when?

The goal is to offer the course four times per year.

Will you accept more students in each course starting in 2021?

Yes. We hope to accept more students in each course beginning in 2021. Our goal is to manage the number of enrolled students to ensure strong learning and outcomes.

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