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Welcome to the interactive web schedule for the 3rd Wildlife Viewing & Nature Tourism Academy! For tips on how to navigate this site, visit the "Helpful Info" section. To return to the WVNTA website, go to: https://www.wvntacademy.com.

Please note: this event has passed. The agenda from the 2020 Academy below is for reference only.

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Monday, February 17
 

7:00am EST

Field Trip: Explore the Natural Wonders of North Florida’s Biodiversity Hotspot
ADDITIONAL FEE: $75; Limited to 50 participants

Spend the day exploring a slice of the natural diversity of the Florida panhandle, one of the nation’s six richest biodiversity hotspots. This region is a far cry from theme parks, plastic flamingos and typical Florida stereotypes.

Tour three destinations to learn about unique habitats and the wildlife they support:
  • Ponce De Leon Springs State Park: Come see the crystal blue waters of one of Florida’s famous springs. Enjoy hiking the trails with a park ranger, or, if you are feeling bold, bring your swimsuit and take a dip in the 70°F spring!
  • E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center: Eat lunch at the state-of-the-art environmental education center that promotes conservation through hands-on experiences with nature. Staff will be giving presentations on birds of prey, reptiles and amphibians, and more – enjoy up close experiences with some of the Panhandle’s most interesting fauna.
  • Grayton Beach State Park: Coastal dune lakes are rare natural phenomena that only occur in a handful of locations around the globe, including New Zealand, Australia, Madagascar, and South Walton, Florida. Here you will learn about Florida beach mice and take a short hike through coastal hammock and upland habitats before strolling along the beautiful sandy beach.

Transportation, lunch, and snacks included in price of this field trip. Partners and spouses are invited to register for the pre-Academy field trip

Monday February 17, 2020 7:00am - 4:00pm EST
Offsite

9:00am EST

Registration Desk Open
Monday February 17, 2020 9:00am - 8:30pm EST
Pre-function Area

3:30pm EST

Exhibitor Set-up
Monday February 17, 2020 3:30pm - 5:00pm EST
TBD

6:30pm EST

Welcome Reception
The 2020 Welcome reception will be hosted by the Emerald Coast Convention Center and the Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida. Join our hosts for drinks, hors d oeuvres with a local flair and entertainment.


Monday February 17, 2020 6:30pm - 8:30pm EST
Convention Center across the street from hotel
 
Tuesday, February 18
 

6:30am EST

Guided Sunrise Beach Walk
Tuesday February 18, 2020 6:30am - 8:00am EST
Offsite

6:30am EST

Breakfast On Your Own
Tuesday February 18, 2020 6:30am - 9:00am EST
N/A

7:30am EST

Registration Desk Open
Tuesday February 18, 2020 7:30am - 9:30am EST
Pre-function Area

9:00am EST

Welcome Remarks
Tuesday February 18, 2020 9:00am - 9:30am EST
Aurora and Poseidon Rooms

9:30am EST

Plenary Session: Guiding our Way – The Fish and Wildlife Relevancy Roadmap
Urbanization and the increasingly diverse population of the United States are leading to greater complexity in America’s wildlife value orientations. These forces are also affecting how people spend time outdoors and their outdoor pursuits.  They also affect how much people engage in or think about conservation. In 2016 the Blue Ribbon Panel on “Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish and Wildlife Resources” made two recommendations to address these issues:      

  • Examine the impact of society changes on the relevancy of fish and wildlife conservation, and
  • Make recommendations on how programs and agencies can transform to engage and serve broader constituencies.

To begin implementing these recommendations and help more people connect to wildlife and meet the needs of changing societies, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Wildlife Management Institute convened a team and enlisted the help of over 60 individuals from state, provincial and federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, tribes, business, industry, academia, and private citizens. This group developed the Fish and Wildlife Relevancy Roadmap recently adopted by directors at the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies conference in September 2019. Join Elsa Haubold of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and a member of the coordinating team that led development of the roadmap as she guides us through the Relevancy Roadmap. Elsa will also lead us in an interactive discussion of how wildlife viewing and nature tourism is essential to transforming conservation organizations so they can achieve enhanced conservation through engagement with broader constituents.

Speakers
avatar for Dr. Elsa Haubold

Dr. Elsa Haubold

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Elsa is passionate about working with partners and stakeholders to find common ground and solutions to seemingly insurmountable conservation challenges, and her career path has reflected this.  She is a fish and wildlife administrator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the... Read More →



Tuesday February 18, 2020 9:30am - 10:30am EST
Aurora and Poseidon Rooms

10:30am EST

Break
Tuesday February 18, 2020 10:30am - 11:00am EST
Albatross Room

11:00am EST

Panel and Discussion
A Walk in Nature with Non-traditional Audiences 
Alix A. Pedraza, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources created a Diversity Outreach program, expanding opportunities for and participation in SCDNR programs to non-traditional audiences. With “Nature Walks” hosted by the SCDNR Diversity Outreach staff, the department introduces non-traditional audiences (mostly Hispanic) to the wonders and beauty of South Carolina. While walking in nature, participants learn about the agency, the different type of properties, and the wildlife and the history around the state. This presentation will highlight the initial steps taken to create the SCDNR Diversity Outreach Nature Walks, current elements of the program, lessons learned and future growth.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at National Audubon
Julie Wraitmell, Florida Audubon
Audubon was formed out of a grassroots effort to end the persecution of Florida’s wading birds for use in the plume trade. More than a century later, grassroots continue to be at the heart of our work, which makes it that much more important that our community reflects the demographics of the larger American society. While we have a long way to go, Audubon is pursuing equity, diversity and inclusion with great intentionality. Hear about some of our efforts, failures, successes and lessons learned as we work to own and grow a more representative grassroots conservation power.

Understanding Implicit Bias
Dr. Rosezetta Bobo, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Implicit and unconscious biases are in all of us. These unconscious beliefs and attitudes towards others form throughout our lives. These biases apply characteristics and qualities to all members of a group – in essence, stereotyping. They influence how we communicate with those around us. Furthermore, they can impact program development to the point where individuals may feel excluded. In this session, we will learn how to identify implicit biases and how to mitigate against them.

Speakers
avatar for Julie Wraithmell

Julie Wraithmell

Audubon Florida
Julie is Executive Director of Audubon Florida, Florida's oldest statewide conservation organization and the state office of the National Audubon Society. Prior to joining Audubon as a policy associate in 2005, she worked for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission as... Read More →
avatar for Dr. Rosezetta Bobo

Dr. Rosezetta Bobo

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Rosezetta is a nationally recognized expert with over 20 years of experience in mediation, cultural competence, diversity and inclusion, conflict resolution, restorative justice, and community engagement for a diverse range of organizations and community settings.  She has provided... Read More →
avatar for Alix Pedraza

Alix Pedraza

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
Alix serves as the Diversity Outreach Manager for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. She holds an Associate Degree in Wildlife Management and a Bachelor of Science in Biology. Originally from Colombia, South America, Pedraza facilitates SCDNR communication and education... Read More →



Tuesday February 18, 2020 11:00am - 12:30pm EST
Aurora and Poseidon Rooms

12:30pm EST

Lunch
Tuesday February 18, 2020 12:30pm - 1:30pm EST
Albatross Room

1:30pm EST

General Session: Using Bi-national Survey Results on Birdwatchers to Inform Wildlife Viewing and Nature Tourism Programs
Human-dimensions research plays a key role in making informed decisions about managing recreational experiences and developing strategic communication efforts. In 2017-2018 the North American Waterfowl Management Plan Human Dimensions Working Group conducted the first-ever bi-national, continental-scale human dimensions study of birdwatchers. Our survey of birdwatchers (n = 36,908) from the U.S. and Canada resulted in regional-level insights that can serve as an invaluable resource for wildlife viewing and nature tourism practitioners. The survey applied social science theories and perspectives to gather information about conservation attitudes, behaviors, identity, social networks, recreational experience preferences and funding mechanisms. Further, we conducted a complementary survey of hunters (n=9004) to allow for comparisons in responses of the two groups. This training session will provide human dimensions insights in five modules of 10 minutes, interspersed with two hands-on and discussion sessions of 15 minutes. The hands-on sessions will include activities and discussion prompts to ensure participants leave the session with specific ways they can apply the data in their current or future efforts to work with birdwatchers. A complete list of ideas for ways to utilize the findings will be generated and shared with participants following the workshop.

Speakers
avatar for Nicholas Cole

Nicholas Cole

U.S. Geological Survey
Dr. Nicholas Cole is a postdoctoral researcher in the Social and Economic Analysis Branch of the United States Geological Survey. There he assesses the human dimensions of wildlife-related outdoor recreation and natural resources. His scholarship highlights the complex relationships... Read More →
avatar for Ashley Dayer

Ashley Dayer

Virginia Tech
Ashley is an Assistant Professor of Human Dimensions in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation at Virginia Tech and Affiliated Faculty with the Global Change Center. Her conservation social science research focuses on conservation behavior of wildlife recreationists, habitat... Read More →
avatar for Howie Harshaw

Howie Harshaw

University of Alberta
Dr. Howie Harshaw is an associate professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport and Recreation at the University of Alberta. He examines the human dimensions of natural resources, with an emphasis on outdoor recreation in an effort to understand the relationships people have with... Read More →



Tuesday February 18, 2020 1:30pm - 3:00pm EST
Aurora and Poseidon Rooms

3:00pm EST

Break
Tuesday February 18, 2020 3:00pm - 3:30pm EST
Albatross Room

3:30pm EST

General Session: The Power of eBird: Relevancy through Quantifying Birders and Birding
eBird is a massive, unparalleled online database of birder checklists from across the world. Since its inception in 2009, eBird has grown to be the largest citizen science effort ever created. eBird gathers over 100 million bird records every year (and growing) and has begun to inform large-scale research and monitoring efforts. Birdwatching is one of the fastest-growing outdoor pursuits in the U.S. eBird is one of the only ways that any state or organization can quantify outdoor use, use of our public lands and wildlife-viewing use. Come and learn how your state or organization can harness this huge dataset to quantify birder use and birding activity to help further illustrate wildlife viewing's relevancy.

Speakers
avatar for Scott Anderson

Scott Anderson

North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission
Scott grew up in Texas, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Connecticut before attending University of Delaware and earning a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science. After spending three years working field jobs on northern goshawk, three-toed woodpecker, burrowing owl and marine... Read More →
avatar for Sarah Kendrick

Sarah Kendrick

Missouri Department of Conservation
Sarah is a Missouri native who earned a master’s degree in fisheries and wildlife from the University of Missouri, focused on eastern wood-pewee breeding demography and winter bird populations in the Missouri Ozarks. Sarah performed avian survey data analysis for publication after... Read More →


Tuesday February 18, 2020 3:30pm - 5:00pm EST
Aurora and Poseidon Rooms

5:00pm EST

Dinner On Your Own
Tuesday February 18, 2020 5:00pm - 7:00pm EST
N/A

7:00pm EST

IGNITE Session & Dessert Buffet
Ignite talks provide a great platform for people to quickly share project updates, notes from the field, or other important topics that don’t require a full 20-minute presentation. By automating slide progression and condensing the talk to 5 minutes, it provides a fun platform for both the presenter and audience!


Tuesday February 18, 2020 7:00pm - 8:30pm EST
Albatross Room
 
Wednesday, February 19
 

6:30am EST

Guided Sunrise Beach Walk
Wednesday February 19, 2020 6:30am - 8:30am EST
Offsite

6:30am EST

Breakfast On Your Own
Wednesday February 19, 2020 6:30am - 9:30am EST
N/A

7:30am EST

Registration Desk Open
Wednesday February 19, 2020 7:30am - 9:30am EST
Pre-function Area

9:30am EST

Manatee Manners – Managing Wildlife Viewing Opportunities
Millions of people visit Florida each year and many enjoy opportunities for up-close-and-personal experiences with wildlife. Getting on the water and seeing manatees in their natural environment is an exciting and memorable experience. But for wildlife managers, managing the humans who adore charismatic megafauna is where things can get tricky. Learn how the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and their partners, work to find a balance between promoting manatee viewing opportunities and preventing disturbance to manatees in critical habitats.



Speakers
avatar for Michelle Pasawicz

Michelle Pasawicz

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Michelle is the Manatee Rules Coordinator for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). Much of her work involves establishing regulatory protections, engaging stakeholders, community outreach, and data analyses primarily focused on the conservation of Florida’s... Read More →


Wednesday February 19, 2020 9:30am - 10:30am EST
Poseidon Room

9:30am EST

Streaming Wildlife Cams – An Overview
The focus of this talk will be to discuss and elucidate the various elements involved in planning, installing and maintaining a streaming wildlife cam. Costs, service providers and peripheral items to consider will be addressed. Managing the wildlife cams for the Arizona Game & Fish Department has given me some insight into the aforementioned processes with cams, including their successful use as an outreach and cost-recovery tool. We will also cover which social media campaigns have proved most effective in increasing out digital engagement numbers and donations, as well as provide a few things to potentially avoid when pushing your new cams.

Speakers
avatar for Jeff Meyers

Jeff Meyers

Arizona Game and Fish Department
Jeff grew up in western Massachusetts but has been a resident of Arizona for more than 25 years, where he attended Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University for his undergraduate and graduate degrees, respectively. It was during his undergraduate work studying physical... Read More →



Wednesday February 19, 2020 9:30am - 10:30am EST
Aurora Room

10:30am EST

Break
Wednesday February 19, 2020 10:30am - 11:00am EST
Albatross Room

11:00am EST

I Bird NY: Expanding Outdoor Recreation Opportunities through Wildlife Watching
I Bird NY was announced in the 2017 New York, State of the State and launched later that spring at the unveiling of a new observation viewing tower in the City of Utica, NY. The goal of I Bird NY is to bring new participants to outdoor recreation, specifically those close to urban and suburban areas, through birding. NYS is working to build on the increasing opportunities to access the state's vast natural resources through promoting birdwatching as a low-cost, accessible way to explore and connect with nature. As part of the implementation of I Bird NY, a multi-pronged initiative was launched, which includes development of new materials for beginner participants to get started bird watching; a central website with getting started resources; promotion of guided bird walks and experiences; and improvements to signage at priority Bird Conservation Areas near urban and suburban areas to better identify opportunities for the public to bird watch. After the initiative was announced, Adventure NY outreach staff worked with Division of Fish and Wildlife biologists to develop a birding challenge that encouraged New Yorkers from each region of the state to identify birds not only in their hometowns but to visit public lands and find new species. Participants in this session will learn how to run beginner bird-watching programs, identify simple ways to incorporate wildlife viewing in existing programming and how to collaborate across agencies, nonprofits, and other organizations to promote bird watching.

Speakers
avatar for Kayla Baker

Kayla Baker

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Kayla is a Public Participation Specialist with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Kayla joined DEC in 2017 as an Excelsior Service Fellow, working on Adventure NY – a multi-year initiative that supports improvements and enhanced access to recreational... Read More →


Wednesday February 19, 2020 11:00am - 11:30am EST
Aurora Room

11:00am EST

Public Education, Marketing and Tour Guide Training about Marine Protected Areas-Case Study
Frank and Miles will present an educational program and model used to improve resident, visitor and commercial-guide understanding of the relatively new Oregon Marine Reserve/Protected Area System and its component sites. Through a collaborative effort between Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Sea Grant/ Oregon State University Extension Tourism Program and the Oregon Coast Visitors Association, this unique educational program was developed. The program consists of six short (

Speakers
avatar for Frank Burris

Frank Burris

Oregon State University Extension & Sea Grant
Frank has served as Watershed Management Educator for the Oregon State University Extension Service and Oregon Sea Grant since 2000 and has been a county leader of the Curry County OSU Extension office since 2007. His interests include: water quality; wetlands and estuary education... Read More →
avatar for Miles Phillip

Miles Phillip

Oregon State University Extension & Sea Grant
Miles is on the extension faculty of the Tourism and Business Development College with Oregon State University and Oregon Sea Grant. He is in the OSU College of Business and currently works in supporting tourism with the “triple bottom line” along the coast of Oregon. He combines... Read More →



Wednesday February 19, 2020 11:00am - 11:30am EST
Poseidon Room

11:30am EST

Backyards and Beyond
A 2017 study, titled “The Nature of Americans,” identified back yards as a key place for people to connect with nature. For this reason, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission embarked on a campaign to connect people to our natural lands in Florida by first connecting them to their back yards. For over a year, staff in FWC’s Public Access Services Office gave workshops on the benefits of creating backyard habitat, set-up iNaturalist projects to facilitate people making species observations in their yards and partnered with many local organizations to spread the message throughout the Tallahassee region. This ambitious campaign met with many successes and some challenges as it sought to transition people from connecting with nature in their back yards to encouraging them to explore nature “beyond” just their yards. Judy Gillan, a section leader within the Public Access Services Office, will describe the program and offer tips for those seeking to do something similar in their regions.

Speakers
avatar for Judy Gillan

Judy Gillan

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Judy is an experienced conservation educator who has developed and implemented programs across several media platforms, topics and age groups. She graduated from the University of South Florida with bachelor’s degrees in biology and science education.  Judy’s first job was in... Read More →



Wednesday February 19, 2020 11:30am - 12:30pm EST
Aurora Room

11:30am EST

Immersive Wildlife Observation: Crafting an Experience of Response
Truly immersive “wildlife” experiences place visitors into the animal habitat they have travelled to observe. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for orchestrating such encounters – each must respond to the nuance of place, habitat, seasonality and the types of wildlife available to see in different seasons. The presentation team will discuss how designers can integrate site and structure to work together programmatically, structurally, ecologically and aesthetically to deliver an immersive experience rooted in the context of place. Hear how a nature center director has capitalized upon site and facility design opportunities to propel the organizational mission and reach new visitor groups.

Takeaway values include: design team collaboration; program integration; and owner perspective on the operations of such facilities. This presentation will further address the following: the Environment - Habitat and supporting ecotones; the Observer - Human Ergonomics; the Story - Understanding of larger context/migratory system; and the Experience Phenomena - How the wildlife informs the act of viewing

Speakers
avatar for Andrew Duggan

Andrew Duggan

studioOutside
Andrew is a landscape architect with Studio Outside and has been active in environmental education and nature center planning for 20 years. As a father of four, he is passionate about creating meaningful experiences for children of all ages out in nature. He has worked with numerous... Read More →
avatar for Chris Snyder

Chris Snyder

University of Southern Mississippi Marine Education Center
Chris has been the Director of the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory’s Marine Education Center since September of 2009. Chris previously held the positions of Public Information Officer for GCRL, Co-director of GCRL’s Summer Field Program, and Marine Education and Media Specialist... Read More →
avatar for Matt Wallace

Matt Wallace

Lake Flato Architects
Matt is co-leader of the Lake Flato’s Eco-Conservation studio, which fulfills his passion for championing projects that encourage environmental stewardship. He studied under Pritzker Prize Laureate Glenn Murcutt, who taught him the importance of sustainable practices. Since acquiring... Read More →



Wednesday February 19, 2020 11:30am - 12:30pm EST
Poseidon Room

12:30pm EST

Lunch
Wednesday February 19, 2020 12:30pm - 1:30pm EST
Albatross Room

1:30pm EST

Attracting New Users to Bird and Wildlife Trails with Grab-and-Go Print Marketing
Learn how to partner with other organizations to create marketing collateral that will compliment and promote your birding and wildlife trail programs. Texas, Virginia and Florida have found ways to leverage partnerships with outside organizations to create printed pieces that reach broader audiences and provide a springboard for beginners to discover their wildlife and birding trails. State birding and wildlife trails take many shapes and forms, but all have a shared goal: to make it easier for people to get outside to view and enjoy the wildlife around them. With printing costs on the rise, and budgets typically not increasing to match, it can be daunting to create new print pieces. Bringing in partners with shared goals can help offset costs and staff time, and lead to a mutually-beneficial piece. For Texas, Virginia and Florida, there was a need for a practical, "grab-and-go" wildlife-viewing piece that was free, easily accessible, and would offer tourists and locals all the information they need. The birding and wildlife trail coordinators of these states were able to utilize different methods to fill this need, creating either statewide or regional brochures. They will review their methods and offer replicable tools for your state and program.

Speakers
avatar for Brian Moyer

Brian Moyer

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
Brian currently serves as the Assistant Director of Outreach with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.  Prior to this position he served as the Recreation Program Manager where he was responsible for managing Virginia’s watchable wildlife program, public access... Read More →
avatar for Shelly Plante

Shelly Plante

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Shelly is the Nature Tourism Manager for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, working in the Marketing Group. She believes community-based conservation, education and partnerships are critical to the future of our natural resources, and works throughout Texas to connect people to... Read More →
avatar for Liz Schold

Liz Schold

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Liz is the coordinator of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, where she promotes and facilitates birding and wildlife viewing activities and education across the state. She has earned a bachelor’s degree in evolutionary... Read More →



Wednesday February 19, 2020 1:30pm - 3:00pm EST
Poseidon Room

1:30pm EST

Connecting People to Bats: Tools for an Immersive Experience
Bats worldwide face many threats, including habitat loss, hunting and anthropogenic disturbance. In North America, bats are additionally threatened by mining, wind turbines, climate change and diseases, such as white-nose syndrome. To face these challenges, any successful conservation effort requires the involvement of the community and education of the general public. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and Bat Conservation International will present our initiatives to create awareness, from traditional ecological education to a more personal experience, sparking a connection with bat conservation. Furthermore, we will discuss the use of newly-affordable technology to provide hands-on experiences that visualize the hidden world of echolocation. We will address how to scale these initiatives at both local and national level, and demonstrate how these initiatives provide everyone the opportunity to connect with bats.

Speakers
avatar for Megan O’Reilly

Megan O’Reilly

Montana Department of Fish Wildlife & Parks
Megan received her master’s degree in fish and wildlife management in 2012 from Montana State University where she devised methods for conducting occupancy surveys for mountain ungulates. Megan has worked in various parts of Montana, Antarctica and Africa. She is currently a wildlife... Read More →
avatar for Erin Cord

Erin Cord

Bat Conservation International
Erin joined the Bat Conservation International staff in 2019 and is thrilled to be coordinating BCI’s new Bat Walk Program. Erin double-majored in Wildlife Conservation and Entomology from the University of Delaware and received her Master of Science in Wildlife Ecology from the... Read More →
avatar for Melquisedec Gamba-Rios

Melquisedec Gamba-Rios

Bat Conservation International
Melqui has studied the ecology and conservation of bats for over 10 years. Originally from Colombia, Melqui conducted his undergraduate and most of his research work in Costa Rica. He recently completed his doctorate from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, where he investigated... Read More →



Wednesday February 19, 2020 1:30pm - 3:00pm EST
Aurora Room

3:00pm EST

Break
Wednesday February 19, 2020 3:00pm - 3:30pm EST
Albatross Room

3:30pm EST

Developing a State-wide Wildlife Viewing Plan through Stakeholder Engagement
The inclusion of the public in the planning processes of state and federal natural resource management agencies is increasingly necessary and. in many cases, required by law. Stakeholder engagement is believed to fulfill a normative imperative to include the public in the management of public resources; improve trust and understanding between agencies and their constituents; and produce more robust and informed decisions. However. planning mandates often provide little specific or practical guidance on how to design effective participatory processes (Brody et al., 2003). Additionally, a wide implementation gap exists between research on stakeholder engagement and the execution of engagement processes in practice (Talley, Schneider, & Lindquist, 2016). This gap represents a critical training need for natural resource agencies because when poorly implemented, stakeholder engagement can be counter­productive, resulting in disillusionment, entrenchment, and deeper mistrust on the part of both practitioners and the public (Reed, 2008). Strengthening agency capacity related to stakeholder engagement is particularly important as wildlife agencies turn their attention to groups of stakeholders they have not traditionally served. With R3 initiatives to recruit, retain and reactivate participants in outdoor recreation, state and federal wildlife management agencies have the potential to engage with new stakeholders in new ways. Given changing patterns in participation in wildlife recreation, birdwatchers and other wildlife viewers are key to growing constituencies for funding and otherwise supporting wildlife conservation. However, more actively engaging with and prioritizing the needs of these stakeholders challenges the norm of state agencies focused primarily on serving hunters and anglers. Effectively engaging with wildlife viewers will require creative thinking, new skills and collectively learning from experiences in other states. In this interactive training, participants will be introduced to a multi-faceted R3 planning effort with wildlife viewers in Virginia and will identify how insights from the process can be applied to their own approaches to stakeholder engagement.

Speakers
avatar for Ashley Dayer

Ashley Dayer

Virginia Tech
Ashley is an Assistant Professor of Human Dimensions in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation at Virginia Tech and Affiliated Faculty with the Global Change Center. Her conservation social science research focuses on conservation behavior of wildlife recreationists, habitat... Read More →
avatar for Brian Moyer

Brian Moyer

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
Brian currently serves as the Assistant Director of Outreach with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.  Prior to this position he served as the Recreation Program Manager where he was responsible for managing Virginia’s watchable wildlife program, public access... Read More →



Wednesday February 19, 2020 3:30pm - 5:00pm EST
Aurora Room

3:30pm EST

The City Nature Challenge: Exploring Urban Nature for Engagement and Conservation
The City Nature Challenge is a global, city-scale BioBlitz event hosted on iNaturalist that frames a biodiversity survey as a friendly competition between cities or metropolitan areas. This event provides a variety of opportunities for connecting people with nature in and around these areas, whether at local nature-tourism and wildlife-viewing venues or in their own back yards. Additionally, City Nature Challenge participants contribute to nature stewardship through collection of valuable citizen science data. This session will present two coordinators’ perspectives on the value of taking the City Nature Challenge: a statewide view of the event’s value to biodiversity monitoring across multiple, fast-growing metro areas in Texas and a focused look at lessons learned at the local level in Leon County/Tallahassee, Florida. We will discuss key outcomes from the event, ways it can build local partnerships and engagement with nature, and how the data generated can contribute to biodiversity conservation and resource management.

Speakers
avatar for Liz Schold

Liz Schold

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Liz is the coordinator of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, where she promotes and facilitates birding and wildlife viewing activities and education across the state. She has earned a bachelor’s degree in evolutionary... Read More →
avatar for Dr. Tania Homayoun

Dr. Tania Homayoun

Texas Parks & Wildlife
Tania is a Texas Nature Tracker Biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife. Through Texas Nature Trackers, she engages naturalists of all interests and ability levels in collecting citizen science and crowd-sourced data on Texas’ unique flora and fauna with a particular focus on species... Read More →



Wednesday February 19, 2020 3:30pm - 5:00pm EST
Poseidon Room

5:00pm EST

Time On Your Own
Wednesday February 19, 2020 5:00pm - 6:00pm EST
N/A

6:00pm EST

Wildlife Trivia Night (additional $15 fee to attend; includes dinner)
Join us in the hotel lounge for a wild night of trivia! Liz Schold and Peter Kleinhenz of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will be hosting four fun rounds of wildlife-themed trivia, challenging your knowledge of North American fauna. Questions will be about creatures from all over the continent, so we encourage you to team up with folks from a different region for a competitive advantage! Don’t miss this opportunity to meet and mingle with new people and compete for the glory of winning our grand prize. Additional $15.00 charge for pizza, salad, and snacks. Drinks will be available for purchase at the hotel bar.

Wednesday February 19, 2020 6:00pm - 8:30pm EST
Albatross Room
 
Thursday, February 20
 

6:30am EST

Breakfast On Your Own
Thursday February 20, 2020 6:30am - 9:30am EST
N/A

7:30am EST

Registration Desk Open
Thursday February 20, 2020 7:30am - 9:30am EST
Pre-function Area

9:30am EST

Advancing Resource-Based Recreation in Florida: A Tale of Trails, Parks and Economics
Florida is a paradise for wildlife watching and other forms of nature-based tourism. The Sunshine State’s network of parks, conservation lands, beaches, waterways and other protected areas, along with abundant fish and wildlife resources, make many forms of nature-based recreation possible. Nature-based recreation is a major driver of tourism in Florida. Because of Florida's climate, diversity of natural landscapes, and award-winning state parks and trails, the state offers a tremendous selection of outdoor experiences for residents as well as visitors. Linking these individual opportunities into a larger recreation and conservation system is essential to maximizing the value of our public lands. Learn about ways Florida’s State Park System is capitalizing on these nature tourists:

• According to Florida’s 2019 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan, wildlife viewing, hiking, fishing and visiting the beach are among Florida’s top outdoor activities. Results from the recent SCORP, as well as recommendations for recreation providers, planners, tourism professionals and land managers will be shared. Learn more about the SCORP, its partnerships, how to get involved, and the benefits of participating in plan development and implementation.

• The Florida Greenways and Trails System is an international attraction and an important foundation for connecting people with nature. The FGTS provides access to recreation hubs ranging from sizeable state and national forests to small community parks. Wildlife viewing, nature study, hiking, biking, horseback riding and paddling are some of the major outdoor activities enjoyed by FGTS users, activities that create jobs, support local communities and contribute billions to the state’s economy. The FGTS also contributes to conservation by protecting wildlife habitat and water quality, and by creating linkages between public lands. Come learn how the Florida Greenways and Trails System provides safe and unforgettable nature-based recreation experiences for residents and visitors to the state, which in turn results in economic growth, improved health, and wellness and more livable communities.

• Access to nature-based recreation experiences is not only parking spots, trailheads and restrooms, it is also programming that empowers first-time and casual recreators to become lifelong advocates of natural spaces. Florida State Parks has tailored programming and promotions to reach audiences who were not taught how to recreate and who do not feel comfortable in outdoor settings. Through the incorporation of technology, fitness and outreach, Florida State Parks has developed opportunities for people unfamiliar with outdoor experiences such as birding, fishing and paddling. Learn how staples of recreation were modified to include new and expanding demographics in the world of wildlife viewing and nature tourism.

Speakers
avatar for Doug Alderson

Doug Alderson

Florida Office of Greenways and Trails
Doug works as the assistant bureau chief for the Florida Office of Greenways and Trails, part of the Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Recreation and Parks, helping to coordinate the planning and promotion of non-motorized trails throughout the state. Prior to... Read More →
avatar for Robert Barrett

Robert Barrett

Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Rob has been the Interpretive Services Programs Manager for the Florida Park Service since August 2012 and has spent that time working with parks and partner organizations to create recreation, interpretive and professional development programs. A graduate of Florida State University... Read More →



Thursday February 20, 2020 9:30am - 10:30am EST
Poseidon Room

9:30am EST

Diverse Programming to Ecotourism, Wildlife Viewing and Environmental Education in Nature: Texas Tech University Llano River Field Station
Texas Tech University Llano River Field Station in Junction, Texas lies and serves as a destination for scientific land/water research, nature and ecotourism, watershed management, and education programs. In 2011, LRFS developed 3.2 miles of land trails bordering a 4-mile paddle trail that highlight different habitats of the Hill Country. The Discovery Point Trail, in partnership with National Park Service's RTCA, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, public/private stakeholder groups, is an interpretive experience: 1) through demonstrations of BMPs: native plant gardens, brush control, wildlife guzzlers, invasive-species management, riparian restoration and renewable energy technologies; 2) integrating K-12 watershed education with research programs at LRFS; and 3) educating about plants, bird, wildlife, invasive and trust species in the context of BMPs and demonstration projects. Future projects are prescribed burn and plant restoration/succession areas, riparian improvement projects and butterfly/Monarch gardens. The trail benefits state/federal staff, NGOs, teachers/students and ranchers, as LRFS hosts training workshops and scientific/educational conferences. New additions to our programming include a Texas Youth Deer Hunt, a spring birding festival with the South Llano River State Park, bird blinds, an updated web page, game cameras and our Outdoor School Curriculum Units that use the trail – benefitting more than 2,000 students and teachers a year. Learning objectives include: 1) nature trails facilitate ecotourism and environmental education; 2) principles of partnership science and engaged learning multiplier effects; 3) how broader impacts of research are embedded into public engagement; 4) how informal/formal STEM education is incorporated into trails; and 5) how interpretative nature trails provide rural-urban connections to cope with Nature Deficit Disorder.

Speakers
avatar for Brett Mosley

Brett Mosley

Texas Tech University - Llano River Field Station
As Co-director of the Texas Tech Outdoor Learning Center, Brett is committed to getting children excited, engaged and reconnected to the natural world around them. The Outdoor Learning Center, within the Texas Tech Llano River Field Station in Junction, Texas, provides him with the... Read More →
avatar for Melody Plumley

Melody Plumley

Texas Tech University - Llano River Field Station
Melody Plumley is Co-director of Texas Tech Outdoor Learning Center at Texas Tech Llano River Field Station in Junction, Texas. She has been in the education field 17 years and enjoys teaching students about their natural environment. Melody is committed to engaging students to learn... Read More →



Thursday February 20, 2020 9:30am - 10:30am EST
Aurora Room

10:30am EST

Break
Thursday February 20, 2020 10:30am - 11:00am EST
Albatross Room

11:00am EST

Different Perspectives, Same View: Following the Sandhill Crane migration from Texas to the Tintina Trench
Every year, sandhill cranes make a long migration from the sand hills of Texas to central Alaska and even over to Siberia. Throughout their journey these large birds give us spectacular viewing opportunities in many different forms. From spotting small groups on wintering grounds in Texas to the deafening chorus of thousands feeding in Nebraska, special viewing platforms and blinds allow us to watch these birds at rest. When the birds reach Yukon, the only opportunity to see them is as they fly overhead. As wildlife professionals we have the privilege and responsibility to provide respectful viewing experiences to the public to promote the conservation of our natural wonders. This presentation will explore site specific approaches to spot, panoramic and flyover viewing experiences. Audubon’s Rowe Sanctuary is a 2,800 acre preserve on the Platte River in central Nebraska. During the spring migration, 800,000+ sandhill cranes stop on their way north to breeding grounds. For 47 years, Audubon has been offering sunrise and sunset viewing experiences to observe the cranes as they roost for the night. Our design team was challenged with creating a flexible viewing blind for 30 people that could be used year-round for river or prairie interpretive programs. Many specific accommodations were made for this unique facility where visitors pay to spend three hours each spring to witness the spring crane migration, a treasure of North American wildlife. After the cranes leave Nebraska they are racing to northern breeding grounds in Canada and beyond. By the time they reach Yukon, they are following the Tintina Trench, a geological fault that passes through the old mining town of Faro. In the 90s when the mine closed, Faro collapsed, the population crashing from 2,000 to 400 people nearly overnight. But those that stayed continued to carve out a living from the wilderness by promoting their unique natural attractions, such as the spectacle of hundreds of thousands of sandhill cranes flying by. With a weekend-long festival planned months in advance, Faro faces the challenge of attracting visitors to an isolated town on the hope they might have timed it with the migration. The viewing experience in Faro is entirely different from Nebraska, but still celebrated by those who make the journey. By following the path of the sandhill crane we can make an interesting comparison of the different audience expectations and services needed celebrate the same thing.

Speakers
avatar for Matt Wallace

Matt Wallace

Lake Flato Architects
Matt is co-leader of the Lake Flato’s Eco-Conservation studio, which fulfills his passion for championing projects that encourage environmental stewardship. He studied under Pritzker Prize Laureate Glenn Murcutt, who taught him the importance of sustainable practices. Since acquiring... Read More →
avatar for Andrew Duggan

Andrew Duggan

studioOutside
Andrew is a landscape architect with Studio Outside and has been active in environmental education and nature center planning for 20 years. As a father of four, he is passionate about creating meaningful experiences for children of all ages out in nature. He has worked with numerous... Read More →
avatar for Carrie McClelland

Carrie McClelland

Yukon Environment
Growing up in the suburbs of Toronto, Carrie developed a love of nature by spending summer days building tree-forts in the local urban park. She was then drawn to northern Ontario where she attended Lakehead University and received an Honours Bachelor of Outdoor Recreation, Parks... Read More →
avatar for Bill Taddicken

Bill Taddicken

Rowe Sanctuary
Bill is director of Audubon’s Rowe Sanctuary and has a degree in Wildlife Biology from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. He, his wife, Autumn, and daughter, Aurora, live on Rowe Sanctuary. Bill and Autumn have had the pleasure of raising their daughter amidst America’s greatest... Read More →



Thursday February 20, 2020 11:00am - 12:30pm EST
Aurora Room

11:00am EST

Leveraging Funding from Wildlife Viewers: 3 Innovative Programs from 3 States
Learn how three different states have created programs to increase wildlife viewing participation, financial support and metrics to support their work. Arizona, Texas and Virginia have all implemented innovative programs to engage new audiences, share their conservation story, and raise awareness in ways that allow them to quantify participation and/or economic impact of these audiences for their agencies. These programs provide concrete examples of how agencies can move the needle in meaningful ways regarding relevance with non-consumptive audiences.

Wildlife viewing programs have a long history in Arizona. Since the program's inception in 2006 Arizona has provided innovative and compelling programming to engage the public with wildlife and promote AGFD while operating under a cost-recovery model, demonstrably proving that the non-hunting and fishing public can and will pay for wildlife conservation with state wildlife agencies. We will discuss and see examples of the programs and how AGFD has incrementally increased buy-in from both the Commission and staff within the agency.

Texas will share how it has streamlined management of its annual birdwatching tournament, the Great Texas Birding Classic, over the past 23 years while also reaching (and often exceeding) the outreach and conservation fundraising goals each year. Not only has the event grown to almost 1,000 participants while donating close to $1 million to conservation grants over the years, the event is also run with a bare-bones budget and limited staff. Find out how it’s done!

Virginia launched a membership initiative in 2019, called Restore the Wild. The membership aims to broaden support for DGIF through a targeted funding mechanism with associated branding that is relevant to wildlife viewers and outdoor enthusiasts, fosters relationship-building and provides a call-to-action. Virginia will share the details of this membership initiative, how it was developed, its success thus far and its next steps.

Speakers
avatar for Brian Moyer

Brian Moyer

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
Brian currently serves as the Assistant Director of Outreach with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.  Prior to this position he served as the Recreation Program Manager where he was responsible for managing Virginia’s watchable wildlife program, public access... Read More →
avatar for Jeff Meyers

Jeff Meyers

Arizona Game and Fish Department
Jeff grew up in western Massachusetts but has been a resident of Arizona for more than 25 years, where he attended Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University for his undergraduate and graduate degrees, respectively. It was during his undergraduate work studying physical... Read More →
avatar for Paige Pearson

Paige Pearson

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
Paige is currently the Marketing and Public Relations Manager for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Included in her responsibilities for DGIF Paige oversees all internal and external communications, digital and print advertising and marketing, social media, videography... Read More →
avatar for Shelly Plante

Shelly Plante

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Shelly is the Nature Tourism Manager for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, working in the Marketing Group. She believes community-based conservation, education and partnerships are critical to the future of our natural resources, and works throughout Texas to connect people to... Read More →



Thursday February 20, 2020 11:00am - 12:30pm EST
Poseidon Room

12:30pm EST

Lunch
Thursday February 20, 2020 12:30pm - 1:30pm EST
Albatross Room

1:30pm EST

Dip In! Freshwater Snorkeling as a Tool for Nature-based Tourism and Learning
Getting wet on National Forests is enjoyed by millions of people through aquatic recreation, yet few opportunities match the learning experience of full immersion, freshwater snorkeling in the clear streams of a healthy watershed.  Take a dip into the Forest Service-North Bay partnership to find out where freshwater snorkeling programs are developing and currently underway, explore how we engage visitors in water stewardship, and learn how to set up and run a snorkeling program as a tool for learning. It’s all about having fun and enjoying our waters with partners – join us or start your own program!

Speakers
avatar for Kimberly Winter

Kimberly Winter

U.S. Forest Service
Kimberly is the NatureWatch National Program Manager for the U.S. Forest Service in Washington, D.C.  She earned a Ph.D. in Wildlife Ecology and Management and a master’s degree in Ecological Anthropology from the University of Georgia and has dedicated her career to engaging diverse... Read More →



Thursday February 20, 2020 1:30pm - 3:00pm EST
Aurora Room

1:30pm EST

Diversity and Inclusion in Outdoor Recreation
Florida Disabled Outdoors Association has been enriching lives through accessible inclusive recreation since 1990. FDOA will provide a background on accessibility and a lively hands-on session where attendees will learn about including people of all abilities into recreation and active leisure. Areas covered will include the difference between “accessibility” and “inclusion” and what this means to recreation providers, agency staff, and wildlife and tourism professionals. FDOA will break down into simple terms how to be welcoming to families and groups that include a person with special needs. Disability etiquette and “People First” language will be addressed. FDOA will explain how to avoid outdated language and instead use words and phrases that will provide an indication to people with a disability that they will have a positive experience. Suggestions for modifying activities will be reviewed. Adaptive equipment and recreation-assistive technology that can be used in an outdoor setting will be explored. FDOA will provide examples of equipment currently being used and talk about trends in the development of adaptations. Potential funding sources for adaptive technology will be noted. The session will close with an open discussion including questions from the audience.

Speakers
avatar for David Jones

David Jones

Florida Disabled Outdoors Association
David is the Founder of the Florida Disabled Outdoors Association. It is rare that someone can take a “tragedy” as an opportunity to change their life and help others. That is exactly what David Jones did. His injury became a personal commitment to help others. In 1988, David... Read More →



Thursday February 20, 2020 1:30pm - 3:00pm EST
Poseidon Room

3:00pm EST

Break
Thursday February 20, 2020 3:00pm - 3:30pm EST
Albatross Room

3:30pm EST

General Session: Wildlife Viewing Hack-a-thon!
What is a hack-a-thon?
We’re hacking the hack-a-thon. Though originally for computer programmers to come together and ‘code’ a project, hack-a-thons are being applied to a whole new range of problem solving projects. It’s a time to bring people together who have a variety of skills and blitz some creative solutions to complicated problems.

How it works
  • Academy participants will hear a brief description of a few wildlife viewing- or nature tourism- related challenges.
  • People will then split off into groups and join in a discussion they are interested in discussing or hearing more about.
  • Throw out possible solutions, ideas from your own experiences, ask probing questions, build on the ideas of others.
  • We won’t solve the problem that day, but maybe we can help someone work through their challenge. Or you might overhear an idea that will apply to your own!

In our profession many of us work alone, covering a huge range of habitats, ecosystems, audiences, and geography. This is a chance to have a team of professionals tackle the problem.

Pitch us your Problem:
We want you to send in a brief description of a challenge, project, problem, or radical idea you’re thinking of. We will select a variety to share during a session of the academy.


Send in a 500-word pitch by January 31 , 2019. We’ll select a wide variety and let you know if the Academy can hack your problem.

Bring us your Brain
Academy participants should get ready to think outside the box. There are no bad ideas except the ones you never thought of. We’ve all had some experience trying to build a problem with $100, some construction paper, a paperclip, and a shoelace, so be prepared to share your best strategies with the group.

“Some of the world’s greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible.” ~ Doug Larson

Thursday February 20, 2020 3:30pm - 4:30pm EST
Aurora and Poseidon Rooms

4:30pm EST

5:00pm EST

Break
Thursday February 20, 2020 5:00pm - 6:00pm EST
Albatross Room

6:00pm EST

Closing Dinner at Boshamps Seafood & Oyster House
Check out Boshamps online at https://boshamps.com.

Thursday February 20, 2020 6:00pm - 8:30pm EST
Offsite
 
Friday, February 21
 

7:00am EST

Field Trip: Discover some of Florida’s backroads and conservation successes
ADDITIONAL FEE: $75; Limited to 40 participants

Join us Friday after the Academy for more exploration of some of Florida’s hidden treasures, including an afternoon being dazzled by the white sands and emerald waters of the Gulf coast. Our tour will include:
  • Eglin Air Force Base: Take a guided tour with Eglin’s biologists to learn about the incredible conservation work ongoing at this site. The tour will highlight successful initiatives to protect red-cockaded woodpeckers, gopher tortoises, and the endangered Okaloosa darter, as well as delving into the strategies and practices for maintaining the unique fire-dependent longleaf pine ecosystem.
  • Gulf Islands National Seashore: This site is no secret to birders, and its diverse habitats shelter a huge diversity of species. Add unspoiled white sand beaches and intact coastal dune habitat and you get a place that can’t be missed. Enjoy a brief guided walk before exploring the seashore and historic Fort Pickens.

Transportation, lunch, and snacks included in price of this field trip. Partners and spouses are invited to register for the post-Academy field trip.

Friday February 21, 2020 7:00am - 4:00pm EST
Offsite