Aviva Rossi; The Gulch Environmental Foundation;; Katie Smith, John Cleckler

Many federal and state environmental protection laws were passed in the 1970s, and with new regulations arose a burgeoning field of regulatory staff and environmental consultants. Collaboration between government agencies, NGOs, and consultants is now necessary and common. Trust and professional reputation between individuals in these organizations is crucial for effective implementation of regulatory programs, and ultimately for conservation. However, there is often mistrust between regulators, environmentalists, industry, and consultants. There are a number of factors that have led to this atmosphere. We explore the possibility that typical US university programs for the wildlife, conservation, or environmental sciences majors do little to prepare students to understand the roles, restrictions, and regulations guiding different sectors. We also propose that many of the apparent ethics issues and violations that arise come not from intentional deception, but from biologists, in all entities, working in positions where they aren’t trained in all of the regulations, protocols, and permits that are now part of this work. Moving forward, we see solutions for this through improving undergraduate preparation for the modern job market (e.g. exposure to regulations, value of different types of roles), improving professional certifications, and improving cross-entity team-building at professional societies.

Symbiosis - Collaboration  Zoom Presentation