Congratulations to Forrest Cobb on his acceptance as a 2018 James Teer Conservation Leadership Institute Fellow! His application was accepted because of the leadership potential he's demonstrated through professional endeavors and commitment to improving the natural resources of Texas.
Dr. James G. Teer was a founding member of The Texas Chapter of The Wildlife Society and served as the first President of the Chapter in 1965. He developed his love of the outdoors by participating in traditions such as hunting and fishing, but his career followed a path that took him around the world to work for wildlife conservation and management. In 1989 he served as President of The Wildlife Society and in 1994 he received their highest award – the Aldo Leopold Memorial Award.
His academic training taught him the importance of science‐based wildlife research and management techniques. But it was his real‐life, on‐the‐ground experiences that taught him how to solve tough conservation issues. He emphasized that solutions to such issues involved not only academic skills, but also leadership skills. Many of us chose a career in natural resources because of our love of wildlife and the outdoors. Like Dr. Teer, our formal education trained us in field techniques and science‐based research and instilled in us the desire to conserve wildlife and their habitats.
The reality is that after a few years, many conservation professionals begin to move into leadership roles where they spend less time in the field, and more time working with people to solve the difficult conservation issues of the day. Yet the reality is that most conservation professionals receive little to no leadership training to address the political, social, and economic dimensions of natural resource management challenges. The James G. Teer Conservation Leadership Institute (JGTCLI) was designed to fill that gap and provide valuable leadership and management skills to natural resource professionals.
The JGTCLI Mission
The mission for the James G. Teer Conservation Leadership Institute is to ensure a future legacy of well‐ trained conservation leaders by providing professional training in leadership skills and contemporary conservation issues for today’s wildlife biologists and conservation professionals.
JGTCLI Early Career Professional Training
The JGTCLI seeks early‐career professionals 1 to 10 years out of college who are working full time in a natural resource‐related field and have demonstrated leadership potential. Professionals from diverse natural resource fields are welcome to apply. These fields include federal and state natural resource agencies, environmental and conservation organizations, educational institutions, natural resource policy development, private consultants and individuals from other natural resource programs.
The JGTCLI Early Career Profession Training Goals
The Texas Chapter of The Wildlife Society recognizes the need for leadership training throughout a professional’s career. Although leadership programs exist around the country, the JGTCLI, believes there is a current need for a Texas‐based leadership program that not only meets the needs of biologists and conservation professionals, but also focuses on the unique issues associated with Texas’ private lands.
The JGTCLI has developed a program for those individuals in the early stages of their careers. The goals are to ensure:
- Early career conservation professionals develop the personal and interpersonal skills necessary to enhance their professional and personal lives.
- Early career conservation professionals acquire the development skills necessary to enhance their abilities to successfully interact and network with other individuals and groups in professional settings.
- Early career conservation professionals are knowledgeable of conservation concepts and contemporary conservation issues so they may successfully understand and manage Texas’ wildlife and natural resources.
- This leadership training program remains contemporary, effective and pertinent to early career professionals by continuous use of evaluation and assessment tools throughout the program.
The JGTCLI Early Career Profession Training Objectives
Highly recognized and influential resource professional will serve as instructors in the JGTCLI. Participants will receive theoretical and hands‐on instruction in current issues surrounding natural resource conservation. Additionally, they will develop leadership skills through individual and group work, case studies and field trips. More specifically, participants will:
- Increase their self‐knowledge about what motivates and stresses them, how they respond to conflict and solve problems, and how they can work more effectively within a team.
- Learn leadership proficiencies that will enable them to have greater influence with their peers, leaders, and constituents.
- Learn communication and networking skills that will allow them to become effective and engaging communicators.
- Learn the collaborative skills necessary to work effectively within a team.
- Learn the importance of diversity in the workplace and the skills necessary to attract future conservation leaders from different constituencies.
- Learn the top conservation issues currently affecting wildlife and natural resources.
- Understand that science must serve as the underpinning for all conservation efforts.
- Learn strategies to understand and navigate conservation politics through review of historical and contemporary natural resources issues and participating in policy review and development.
- Assist with improvement of the leadership training program by thoughtfully evaluating and providing feedback on the various activities and lessons in which they participate.