U.Va. enters environmental
help Virginia's community leaders in the public, private and non-profit
sectors resolve conflicts over environmental issues, U.Va., Virginia
Tech and the state Department of Forestry have formed a partnership
to create the Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute.
VNRLI plans to bring together community, business and environmental
leaders to learn principles and strategies for resolving conflict
over natural resources. In September, it will kick off its first
program, a series of six seminars to be held throughout the year
in various locations across the state.
program -- designed to be experiential, interactive and challenging
-- will expose participants to a variety of ideas and values in
a fair and balanced manner, and speakers and panelists will be
selected to represent different perspectives. Seminar topics include:
leadership and relationship building, processes and strategies
for conflict resolution and problem solving, personal communication,
public policy and decision-making, Virginia natural resource issues
and case studies and field trips.
course will be limited to 30 participants and is open to anyone
involved in natural resource issues, whether in small business,
industry, local government, community or civic engagement, environmental
activism, academia or state government.
"Our hope is to have a class of participants with diverse
interests," said Mike Ellerbrock, director of the Virginia
Tech Center for Economic Education. "We envision about one-third
coming from business and industry, one-third from state and local
government, and one-third from the community, civic and environmental
interests. The goal is to have people gain better understanding
of each other and the issues, not to convince anyone of a particular
will delve into some of the more demanding challenges being faced
in Virginia today: water quality and supply; waste management,
including biosolids; urban and rural forestry; tobacco growing
communities; chip mills and coal mining; large-scale animal operations;
growth and land use; and Superfund and Brownfield sites. Other
kinds of natural resource management will be woven into the course,
including wildlife management, land conservation, and rare and
endangered species preservation.
are social and practical costs for failing to address these kinds
of environmental conflicts in a proactive manner," said Frank
Dukes, associate director of the U.Va. Institute for Environmental
Negotiation. "Too often we see neighbors and communities
torn apart by conflict that goes unaddressed and unresolved."
The cost for the year-long course is $1,600, excluding travel
hope to be able to have scholarship money available," said
program coordinator Tanya Denckla, senior associate with U.Va.'s
for Environmental Negotiation. "We would like to make
it possible for people to participate without a cost barrier."