Natural Resource Leadership Institute To Kick Off Fourth Year Of
April 10, 2003 --
A successful program to help Virginia’s leaders
address difficult environmental and community issues will kick off
its fourth yearlong program this fall.
Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute trainspeople
from industry, businesses, local and state government, and the environmental
community. VNRLI is a partnership between the University of Virginia’s
Institute for Environmental Negotiation, Virginia Tech’s Center
for Economic Education and the Virginia Department of Forestry.
of the institute give the program rave reviews. Ed Daley, Winchester
city manager and a 2001 fellow, said the program offers “powerful
tools” to those seeking to improve their effectiveness as
a participant and mediator of community conflict. "[I left]
the program with an expanded toolbox of dispute-resolution and leadership
skills and a broader understanding of the environmental issues confronting
us at the community and global levels."
in September, the institute will launch its fourth series of six
seminar workshops, held throughout the year in various locations
across the state. Participants accepted into the program attend
all six workshops, which generally run from Wednesday through Friday.
Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute is encouraging applicants
from business and industry; state, local and federal government;
American Indian tribes; environmental and civic organizations; African-American
and Latino communities; as well as individuals who are involved
in some capacity with natural resource issues and are catalysts
in their communities.
new class is limited to 30 people.
will gain personal skills in leadership and collaborative problem
solving, with a goal of being better able to both convene and engage
in collaborative problem solving and consensus building. Each session
offers interactive exercises that focus on a topic such as conflict
resolution, facilitation, consensus building, interest-based negotiation,
mediation, environmental justice and special group processes.
addition, participants will gain deeper understanding of key environmental
issues in Virginia and discover opportunities for dialogue and collaborative
problem solving. The overall focus for the 2004 program is land
use, and each session will offer panel discussions and field trips
associated with issues such as open space conservation, smart growth,
environmental justice, water quality, Superfund site cleanup and
redevelopment, and sustainable agriculture and forestry.
many workshops that may have short-lived effects, the institute
appears to have long-term impacts. One year after graduating, a
2001 fellow noted that the institute “sharpened my negotiating
skills and mediating skills. [It] provided me greater insight into
how people form opinions that sometimes become the basis of personal
missions [and] increased my awareness of tactics used to sway public
others, the institute has also been life-changing. Gavin Sanderlin,
a watershed protection specialist and organic farm manager, credits
the institute with “giving me the courage to take on projects
that I could not predict the outcome of, but doing so while living
by my ethics. [It] exposed me to tools that I can use to move through
conflict, not only with other individuals or at the group level,
but also within myself.”
Virginia Department of Forestry is eager to see the institute thrive.
“The demands and pressures on our resources are becoming greater
every day” said Mike Foreman of the Department of Forestry.
“We need to develop new, innovative approaches to doing business.
One way to do that is to build an understanding of each other and
of the issues.”
Ellerbrock, director of the Virginia Tech Center for Economic Education,
one of the program’s co-sponsors, said one goal is to bring
people together who normally don't have the opportunity to interact
on an informal, friendly basis. “The institute does not try
to convince anyone of any particular solution or outcome, but it
does aim to help people gain insight into different perspectives
about the same issue”
for the yearlong course is $1,600, excluding travel, lodging and
deadline for applications is May 30, and those accepted will be
notified by June 25.
pleased to be able to offer scholarships to the next class,”
said Tanya Denckla, senior associate with U.Va.’s Institute
for Environmental Negotiation. “We want to make it possible
for people to participate without a cost barrier.” She urges
people to apply even if they’re not sure they can afford the
entire registration fee.
an application, contact Tanya Denckla or program manager Caroline
Brennan at (434) 924-1970 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The application
is also available on the institute‘s Web site: http://www.virginia.edu/~envneg/VNRLI_home.html.
leadership program is supported, in part, by the U.S. Forest Service,
the Urban and Community Forestry Grant Program and a grant from
the Chesapeake Bay License Plate Fund.
Jane Ford, (434) 924-4298