Program Description (include how it meets membership criteria)
CSP is an intensive, 10-week volunteer training and leadership program designed to educate/engage citizens in ecosystem-based management and citizen science activities through high-quality community-based learning and volunteer conservation opportunities. Participants use the science-based knowledge they gain to understand, promote, support and actively contribute to and/or lead significant conservation management and outreach activities to support their communities. The program is a collaborative effort among community-based volunteers and partners, leading conservation organizations and agencies, and educational institutions throughout Michigan.
This collaboration results is a network of dedicated, well-prepared and organized volunteers integrally connected to local conservation needs and biodiversity. These volunteers will engage in informed, scientifically-based conservation activities to enhance resource management and sustain healthy ecosystems across Michigan, including land and water management, ecological monitoring, restoration, and public education. The network will be supported by an “academy” of statewide and local learning communities with colleagues from across Michigan who have expertise in the science of conservation stewardship.
CSP has been in existence since it was piloted in 2006. Each 10-week program consists of 9 lecture-style sessions and 3 full-day field sessions adding up to over 40 hours of instruction in total, including the completion of an in-class capstone project requirement. CSP provides learning and stewardship opportunities for citizens to:
• Gain knowledge in natural resources ecology and conservation management
• Gain knowledge and experience with ecosystem-based management
• Explore one’s own attitudes and diverse attitudes of others towards natural resource management and the affiliated state and local agencies, organizations and institutions
• Gain skills necessary to complete conservation management activities
• Contribute to existing natural resources stewardship activities