More than a decade ago, while in Australia for a koala conservation workshop, the two of us initiated a conversation about the challenges faced by early career wildlife conservation professionals. We believed that individuals entering the wildlife conservation field had enthusiasm and book learning, but sometimes lacked the opportunity to get basic skill sets and networking opportunities necessary to successfully advance in the profession. That discussion lead to the creation of the Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders program, fondly referred to as EWCL by the many who have been participants in –or sponsors and instructors for –this unique leadership training program. EWCL is now in its seventh year of training and boasts 60 graduates with an additional current class of 22 trainees.
After being housed for years by supportive host organizations like Defenders of Wildlife and the International Fund for Animal Welfare, we are very excited to announce the launch of the first independent Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders website. It was created as an in-kind donation by the very talented web designer and animal-lover Kevin Powers. The website contains information about EWCL and the on-the-ground conservation projects completed (and on-going) by EWCL participants. It also contains summaries of the different training sessions and bios of the current and past participants, the Board, and the Alumni Group.
Also on the site is a new EWCL informational video created by long-time EWCL supporter and talented videographer Lisa Hugueley – another in-kind gift. The new Caribbean EWCL training (for which we will be accepting applications this month) is being introduced on the site for the first time as well.
We hope you enjoy learning more about EWCL and the important conservation projects it supports. Creating and working on EWCL for the last ten years has been a labour of love for us both, and we’re looking forward to many more years working with the Board, the funders, the speakers, the alumni, and the future leaders in wildlife conservation who will be part of this exciting effort.
-Jeff Flocken & Nina Fascione