Seeking Conservation Scientists For The Wilburforce Fellowship

Are you a conservation scientist working in Western North America who wants to hone your skills as a communicator?
Do you have ambitious conservation goals?
Do you want to expand your network to include journalists, policymakers and other players to achieve them?
Would you like ongoing coaching over the course of a year as well as support and inspiration from other scientists?

If this is you, we hope you’ll apply for the new Wilburforce Fellowship, which will provide in-depth COMPASS training for 20 conservation scientists from April 19 – 24, 2015 in Seattle.

The Wilburforce Foundation, in partnership with COMPASS, is offering this fellowship to help environmental scientists form a powerful community of leaders who can develop their skills, build their networks and achieve conservation solutions in the West.

Fellows will hone  communication skills though hands-on activities like mock interviews with journalists.

Fellows will hone communication skills though hands-on activities like mock interviews with journalists.

This is the first fellowship program designed to bring together scientists from a wide range of experience and backgrounds – including those from academia, governmental agencies, NGOs, and First Nations. With the help of a team of trainers, and your fellow researchers, you will master communication and leadership skills and form a community of mutual support and inspiration. COMPASS trainings are founded on the intrinsic link between communication and leadership, and this fellowship is designed to help you to achieve your goals.

As a long-time communication coach for scientists, and the lead trainer for the Wilburforce Fellowship, I am thrilled about this new program. I know that with your training, you will be empowered and emboldened to take on new risks, rise to new challenges, and achieve remarkable gains for conservation. I’ve seen this happen time and again with scientists who have participated in COMPASS trainings and the Leopold Leadership program.

Nothing inspires me more.

I often hear scientists reflect on their communication training as a pivotal moment in their careers. Marine ecologist Enric Sala recently told me it was his COMPASS/Leopold Leadership training that persuaded him to move beyond chronicling serial depletions of marine resources to launch a campaign to preserve the oceans’ last remaining wild places. His new path led him from Scripps Institution of Oceanography to become an explorer in residence at National Geographic. Since then, he has met with world leaders and businessmen at Davos in pursuit of his goal: to save the pristine oceans. Sala’s initiative at National Geographic has already helped establish 5 marine protected areas spanning 400,000-square kilometers, with an ambitious plan for the future.

Conservation scientist Chris Darimont was a postdoc when he did his first intensive communication training with us. He had the courage to speak out about protecting the wolves, bears and salmon of the Central Coast of British Columbia. Initially, he feared his outspokenness could prevent him finding an academic position. But he decided it was more important to remain true to his convictions. A donor, impressed with his work as Director of Science for the Raincoast Conservation Foundation, stepped forward and provided him with research funds for an endowed chair as a professor at the University of Victoria. Darimont now teaches his entire lab what he has learned: Tell stories and share your passion.

Dee Boersma launched Conservation Magazine, and works tirelessly for her beloved penguins. She tells me her communication training and coaching has helped her enormously along the way. Boersma is an unstoppable force – and she continues to work on her formidable skills as a communicator.

All of these scientists are examples of the four P’s of communication: preparation, practice, persistence and passion. I’ve watched them and hundreds more achieve greater results by making communications central to their enterprise.

And you can too. Whatever your starting point, you can up your game.

The deadline to apply is September 30th. Applicants are required to submit a cover letter, resume, 2-3 page statement of purpose, and two letters of endorsement. Fellows will be expected to dedicate the time to participate in the initial six-day training and commit to following through on personal goals and objectives. Wilburforce will cover all lodging, meals, and non-travel costs associated with the trainings, and will offer travel awards on an as-need basis. Preference will be given to scientists working in Wilburforce’s priority regions.

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