Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders’ sixth class graduated in December 2016. The 2015/2016 EWCL class included twenty-four impressive up-and-coming leaders in the wildlife conservation field, with representatives from organizations within the United States, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, India, and Malaysia. The participants were chosen from a highly competitive pool of over 150 qualified applicants.

Training topics were presented by specialists in the conservation and leadership field at three training sessions. At the final D.C. session a luncheon for DC-based conservation colleagues and EWCL alumni was held, focusing on a round-table style Leadership Luncheon. Six conservation leaders with diverse expertise, joined as guest speakers, leading roundtable discussions focused on the topic “Tools and Audiences-How to Reach People”.

In addition to the formal training sessions, participants were provided with networking and mentoring opportunities through formal and informal mentoring sessions with members of the EWCL Board of Directors, EWCL alumni, and EWCL guest presenters, as well as the opportunity to be paired with a member of the EWCL Alumni Advisory Group as mentors for the full two-year program.

In addition to the training, participants all worked to design, implement and evaluate a wildlife conservation campaign. EWCL Class 6 undertook four hands-on conservation projects benefiting imperiled wildlife, focused on the following issues: (1) Increasing the coordination of monarch conservation stakeholders, creating partnerships with local governments, and providing milkweed seedling grants resulting in the increase of monarch butterfly habitat along the I-35 flyway migration route; (2) Creating a global network that provides trail cameras to field biologists in Southeast Asia to increase the research capacity of clouded leopards, and other rare and endangered small felids in the region; (3) Creating a media campaign and associated materials, and first ever international trade assessment of giraffe, to increase the global awareness of the conservation threats facing giraffe for use with the 2016 IUCN giraffe up-listing announcement; (4) Establishing a training program and data collection standards to collect and disseminate information on the impacts of, and local response to, global warming effects in coastal communities of Belize, to result in the development of response plans to reduce human impact on coral reefs and coastal environments. Through these projects the EWCL Class directly raised $30,600 for conservation, and $4,450 of additional in-kind support for these wildlife programs.