North American Workshop: Bridging Science and Management, Maintaining Relevancy through Organization Transformation and Professional Development

North American Workshop: Bridging Science and Management, Maintaining Relevancy through Organization Transformation and Professional Development

The 2017 North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference will host a workshop titled “Bridging Science and Management: Maintaining Relevancy through Organization Transformation and Professional Development,” organized and sponsored by The Wildlife Society, the American Fisheries Society, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the USGS Cooperative Research Units, and the Wildlife Management Institute. This workshop will build upon the discussions of the successful 2016 workshop, “Barriers and Bridges in Connecting Natural Resource Science and Management,” which was organized by the same coalition of sponsors. Scheduled for Tuesday, March 7 from 1 to 5 p.m., this workshop will focus on the many social, demographic, and resource changes facing organizations in the years ahead, and prospects for transformation to sustain organization relevancy and effectiveness through workforce training and professional development.

Buffleheads taking flight.

Agency relevancy is a key concern of the Blue Ribbon Panel as it works to secure $1.3 billion to fund the state wildlife action plans. There is broad recognition that agencies are facing ever-expanding demands for expertise in public communication, team-building, conflict resolution, organization leadership, new and constantly evolving scientific understanding and management approaches, and other issues as they confront social, environmental, and resource changes. At the same time, educators are struggling with how to meet expanding education needs while also retaining core biological and resource curricula in an era of shifting university priorities and available resources for natural resource education programs. Professional societies and associations are themselves evolving in their focus on these issues as they attempt to provide support for professional development and continuing education for agency biologists and managers.

The 2017 workshop will focus on these issues through a series of presentations and follow-up panel discussions with audience engagement. The workshop will lead off with a discussion of the transformations needed to maintain agency relevance, to be followed by presentations on this theme by four state directors. There will be time set aside during these presentations for audience participation on issues that are raised. Then state, federal, and non-governmental leaders will discuss future challenges and opportunities in developing programs to sustain relevancy. Finally, some themes from the presentations and discussions will be explored with the audience.

Expected outcomes of the workshop will be the identification of key challenges in sustaining relevance in the future, along with potential approaches to meet these challenges through professional training and development, and next steps in building the necessary institutional, social, and educational linkages to secure relevancy through science-based decision making.

Photo Credit
Peter Pearsall, USFWS
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February 15, 2017