Preparing the future environmental stewards in the Caribbean

Preparing the Future Environmental Stewards in the Caribbean
Tuesday, 15 May, 2012
Washington, D.C.

From May 1 through May 4, the first training session of the pilot Caribbean Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders (C-EWCL) class was held in Antigua. The seventeen carefully selected participants from the Caribbean islands and Central American Caribbean coast gathered for three days of intensive skills and leadership training, as well as mentoring and discussion about their professional choices and future career direction. 

Trainings included formal lectures, discussions and exercises taught by seasoned wildlife conservation professionals from the Caribbean and around the world. In addition to project selection and planning, as well as training in leadership and campaigning skills, the participants were encouraged to strategize on their career trajectory and opportunities for professional growth. Each participant was given the chance to spend one-on-one mentoring time with two different C-EWCL Board Members.

“The Caribbean has an exceptionally rich array of biodiversity, and C-EWCL was designed to help build capacity for tomorrow’s leaders to engage in even more effective conservation of wildlife in the region today,” said Beth Allgood, C-EWCL Director and Campaigns Managers at IFAW. “Not only are these up-and-coming leaders acquiring the skill sets they need for their future, they are facilitating tangible on-the-ground conservation projects that benefit imperiled wildlife.”

C-EWCL participants chose to work on the following issues:

  • Marketing the Caribwhale network of responsible whale watch operators and strengthening the Caribwhale membership benefits package, thereby encouraging more responsible whale watch operators to become certified;
  • Decreasing sea turtle poaching in Limón, Costa Rica and supporting rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife though community outreach and education;
  • Reducing illegal wildlife trade in the Caribbean by educating customs and other enforcement officials about the most traded species in the region; and
  • Conserving the St. Vincent Parrot by improving census taking techniques, training the rangers and evaluating the results to determine if it this method could be used to conserve other parrots in the region.  

Over the next two years the participants will continue to work on their conservation projects, come together for a virtual training in 2013 and another in-person training session in 2014, while continuing to explore opportunities for professional networking and personal growth. 

A collaborative project between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW;, C-EWCL is based on the successful Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders program in the United States. The mission of EWCL is to facilitate cross-organizational networking for emerging environmental leaders while conducting training and guiding concrete innovative conservation projects on a bi-annual basis. As the first regional program based on this model, C-EWCL continues the same mission, fostering wildlife conservation benefits by nurturing future leaders, stimulating information sharing and idea exchange amongst conservation entities, and the tangible conservation products generated as part of the group campaign exercise.

About Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders
The goal of the Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders program is to facilitate cross-organizational networking and mentoring for emerging wildlife conservation leaders while conducting training and guiding concrete innovative conservation projects. For more information, please visit Wildlife Leaders.

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Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
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