Expansion Of Curriculum To Meet Changing Needs

Curriculum for two of our main courses is expanding to meet the changing needs of our audiences!  Starting in in 2013, our Balancing Nature and Commerce course will be structured to meet the needs of ALL rural communities and landscapes (not only “Gateway Communities”) and will cover new topics including Alternative Energy and Food Security.  In 2012, we met the increasing demand for an advanced-level Green Infrastructure course in piloting our GI 201 course: “Implementing Green Infrastructure at Multiple Scales” – which provided the much-needed tools and techniques for green infrastructure practitioners to overcome challenges to implementation.

Balancing Nature and Commerce in Rural Communities and Landscapes

How do you define rural communities?  You could call up the Census Bureau for a fact-based definition or talk to a farmer about the sense of community.  Or you could look at a satellite photo of the U.S. at night.  Those images of the night sky show the concentrations of light across the country – with bright blots seen along the eastern seaboard and southern California as well as Florida and major cities throughout the Midwest.  Between those flashes of light lie two-thirds of our counties, the home to the rural communities and landscapes that make up 75 percent of the U.S. land area and house 49 million people.

It is this vast expanse of the American landscape that is the focus of the Conservation Leadership Network’s national course, Balancing Nature and Commerce in Rural Communities and Landscapes.  At our next course offering (February 4-6, 2013) teams from across the country will participate in a robust program designed to focus on the importance of community character, natural resources,  asset-based economic development, food security, alternative energy development, transportation planning and other  strategies for  ensuring that rural communities are “thriving, not just surviving”. 

Meeting the Demand, CLN Pilots Advanced Green Infrastructure Course

In July of 2012, The Conservation Fund’s Conservation Leadership Network delivered an advanced green infrastructure course, GI 201: Implementing Green Infrastructure at Multiple Scales.  For over a decade, The Conservation Fund has been highly successful and has received national acclaim for its introductory course, Strategic Conservation Using a Green Infrastructure Approach, which focuses on the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of green infrastructure planning.  In recent years, however, The Conservation Fund has observed that course participants were entering the program with a base knowledge of green infrastructure planning and were seeking more in-depth information on techniques and best practices for over-coming key implementation challenges, such as how to finance long-term implementation, how to develop shared-measureable objectives, and how to keep constituencies engaged over long periods of time.  Through engagement with past participants and instructors, we developed an advanced course that more thoroughly discusses these critical implementation issues.

The 2012 development and delivery of GI 201: Implementing Green Infrastructure at Multiple Scales was a successful pilot offering that accepted 23 participants from Florida to Minnesota, from urban Los Angeles to rural Campbell County, Tennessee—planners, transportation professionals, conservation specialists, and biologists—from local, state, federal governments and non-profit environmental organizations.

The mix of professionals, backgrounds, and current green infrastructure initiatives from around the country offered a truly unique dialogue between colleagues.  Course participant, Nicolas Tufaro, PP, LLA, RLA, a planner from Middlesex County, New Jersey recounted the course to be “an impressive lineup of speakers actively engaged in both the policy and implementation of the green infrastructure approach, supplemented by highly accessible resources and research documentation [that] made this the most valuable educational experience in my 35 year career.”

This course will next be offered on September 9-12, 2013.  Please note that participants apply to attend this course rather than register.  Watch for application packages in late spring.