Overview of EWCL Project Component

EWCL helps jump-start early career conservation professionals through a combination of skills training, networking opportunities with peers and established practitioners and the completion of a global wildlife conservation project. Throughout the two-year program, participants work in small teams to develop, implement and evaluate wildlife conservation projects.

For each class of participants, EWCL seeks four partner organizations to collaborate with trainees on an important wildlife conservation project (visit the 'Class Projects' page to see all past EWCL projects). Potential partners are invited by EWCL board members to submit brief concepts to the EWCL board describing their project idea, goals and potential roles for EWCL participants. Projects are typically 18 months in duration and may have multiple objectives. There is no projected cost to partner organizations, but assets in the form of guidance, materials, contacts or other resources to ensure the success of the proposed project are very important. Examples of EWCL partners and their projects include:

  • IUCN Saola Working Group: The EWCL Saola Team worked to improve snare removal in saola habitat, increase awareness about the plight of the saola, generate financial support for its conservation and provided capacity for the IUCN Saola Working Group (SWG).
  • FREELAND: With this Thai nonprofit organization, the EWCL Slow Loris Team carried out an investigative training program for Thai and Lao law enforcement to combat the rampant illegal trade of the slow loris species in Southeast Asia.
  • Painted Dog Conservation & Painted Dog Research Trust: The EWCL Painted Dog Team increased international awareness and conservation support of painted dogs while re-designing and raising funds to manufacture effective anti-snare collars for in-situ use by Painted Dog Conservation & Painted Dog Research Trust.
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service & National Wildlife Federation: The EWCL Monarch Team provided critical assessment of conservation resources along the U.S. I-35 monarch butterfly migration corridor and increased monarch habitat through planting incentives and formal commitments of local community leaders.

For more information visit our Class Projects

Who will be part of the EWCL team that works with each organization on their project?

EWCL class members come from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences in the conservation field. While there is no age requirement or experience ceiling for participants, participants will have at least three years’ experience in conservation. EWCL project teams typically comprise six individuals. Most participants are US citizens, but some teams may include one or two members from other countries. Because EWCL participants are encouraged to expand their knowledge beyond their comfort zone, participants are discouraged from joining projects for species with which they have significant experience. Each EWCL team and partner organization works with at least one EWCL board member. Board members who have appropriate subject matter expertise will help facilitate the experience between EWCL project teams and partner organizations.

What makes a good EWCL project?

EWCL’s main objective in working with partners is to provide participants with opportunities to apply best practices in the development of an impactful wildlife campaign for imperiled species. Partner organizations will of course have their own objectives in working with a EWCL team. In general, project concepts should meet the following guidelines:

  1. Involve a target imperiled species or taxa.
  2. Have clearly articulated conservation goals and anticipated outcomes with measures that can be achieved within 18-21 months.  Project outcomes may evolve in the early stages of the project period depending on skills sets and new ideas that EWCL participants may bring.
    • Note: Projects should not have fully developed plans of action with detailed action items, prescribed duties for participants and timelines set for deliverables. Project implementation details are developed in collaboration with EWCL participants and board member(s).
  3. Have an assigned liaison from the partner organization who can work with EWCL participants on a regular basis for the duration of the project. (Project liaisons provide an active role in the proposed project; attend regular calls and check-ins, and advises the group in order to ensure appropriate/greatest conservation outcome.)
  4. Projects may be stand-alone initiatives or may be a part of a larger existing effort.

How are EWCL project concepts developed and selected?

  • Board members reach out to a variety of potential partners for project ideas – a form will be provided for you to complete and return if you are interested in having your project considered. Through discussion and evaluation both parties determine if the idea moves to next step – a call with the EWCL Conservation Training Coordinator.
  • The Conservation Training Coordinator may request additional information on project scope, timeline, advisor, imperiled species, or other characteristics that will define a successful project.
  • Project concepts are reviewed by the Board and, if there are more than 4 concepts under consideration, they are evaluated based on fit, diversity in taxa, potential for funding as well as Board member interest in providing mentorship for each potential project.
  • Board members and/or the Conservation Training Coordinator will follow up with selected partner organizations by early January to provide information on next steps.
  • In March or April, the EWCL class is introduced to the project concepts during their first training session. Participants select from the four concepts based on their own interests and expertise they can provide, forming project groups of 5-6 individuals.
  •  After EWCL project teams are identified, liaisons from partner organizations work with their respective teams to fully develop the project. Liaisons from partner organizations should plan to attend by video or conference call, or in person if possible.  Board advisors are also encouraged to attend the first training to meet with teams and project liaisons and plan next steps.

Post-Evaluation of Projects is an important component.

A EWCL project’s success is evaluated within the following framework:

  • For Participants:  

    • Did they gain knowledge regarding the issues and potential solutions surrounding an imperiled species or critical conservation challenge?
    • Did they obtain experience in planning, implementing and evaluating a conservation project?
    • Did they work within a project team framework and navigate inter-group dynamics and challenges in order to successfully produce a final outcome?
    • Did they accomplish their goal?
  • For Partner:  

    • Was the partner satisfied with the experience and outcomes?
    • Was communication successfully maintained throughout the project?
    • Did the group accomplish what the partner had hoped they would?
  • For Conservation:  

    • Were their measurable conservation results for the project outcome?
    • Was the targeted species conservation status or habitat improved?
    • Did an identified need for the species get addressed?

Interested Organizations and Projects

If you have a project that fits these guidelines and you are interested in partnering with an EWCL class, please email Laura Gruber at Training@white-oak.org for more information.