2016 Conservation Science and
Leadership Course Overview
We are thrilled to report that our recently-concluded Conservation Science and Leadership Course was a great success! PBI and the North Cascades Basecamp hosted thirteen eager young conservationists representing four countries, and seven U.S. states. Their university studies focused on wildlife ecology, botany, environmental education, conservation, evolutionary biology, microbiology, and fine arts. Their common language was conservation science and they all shared an interest in becoming the next generation of conservation leaders.
The four-week-long course content focused not only on local and regional ecology and environmental issues, but also on global issues and solutions. Climate change was a prevailing theme throughout the course, from the first week’s discussions of large carnivore conservation and wide ranging species, to alpine habitats and pollinating insect ecology.
Students continued their studies of global climate change on fire-adapted and forest ecosystems while participating in a three day field trip involving two nights of camping in the heart of the Carlton Complex Fire area where PBI is studying ecosystem recovery after wildfire. Discussions continued about water conservation, climate change impacts to river and wetland ecosystems, protection and restoration of endangered fish populations, and conservation solutions to enhance watersheds in a changing environment.
Student-led research projects were also a highlight of the course, where students were able to use the ‘backyard’ of the North Cascades Basecamp as their study site. Together in small teams and independently, students collected, processed, and analyzed ecological research on birds, small mammals, general wildlife, and vegetation biodiversity. Each group presented an in-depth presentation of their research methods and results to their peers and PBI staff, and they wrote a scientific paper on their research project.
You can learn more about the course activities and impact in various student writings, here, or watch a short video here. As one student wrote, “This course was exactly what I needed. It was an experience, a new way of learning, and an adventure.” Another student explained, “… this course left me eager, eager to dive into the world, to fight for conserving nature on the planet, to better the environment.” This is exactly what we hoped to hear from the students about their experience and the impact that the Conservation Science and Leadership course had on them.
Another student wrote, “I can honestly say that I will treasure these moments for the rest of my life,” while another stated, “This was one of the best learning experiences I have ever had. I met amazing people and learned so much, about myself, about ecology, about conservation, and about the career paths of a biologist. I am really grateful I got this opportunity and I am really glad you guys made this course, and you should keep it going.” We could not ask for a more glowing assessment of the course, and we hope to continue this far into the future for an even greater impact on young conservation leaders.
The course was made possible through grants from the Mountaineers Foundation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Washington Fish and Wildlife Office, and the Washington Foundation for the Environment. Donations from individuals helped us to be able to offer partial scholarships to two students, to help with their food and lodging costs. We are also grateful to the many environmental leaders and professionals who shared their expertise with the students.
We are currently planning for the next round of the course, and we hope you’ll consider making a donation to support PBI’s ongoing conservation education through our Conservation Science Internship Program, and the Conservation Science and Leadership Course. This is an opportunity to make a tremendous investment in conservation and young leaders. Your contribution can result in students who say, as one did after the course was over, “Thank you everyone for the best month of my life!”
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PO Box 298, 517 Lufkin Lane
Winthrop, WA 98862 509-996-2490