Together with the School of Public Policy Environmental Council, the Center for Global Sustainability hosted a Global Sustainability Forum to discuss the benefits and challenges of managing U.S. federally protected areas.

The discussion was moderated by Sean Jackson, Environmental Council co-president and second-year Master’s of Public Policy student. Panelists included Brad Knudsen, Wildlife Refuge Manager of the Patuxent Research Refuge, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Lauren Wenzel, Acting Director of National Marine Protected Areas, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and Brian Carlstrom, Deputy Associate Director for Budget and Policy with National Resource Stewardship and Science, National Park Service.

When asked about the role of universities and other academic and scientific institutions in the establishment and management of protected areas, Knudsen said that a conservation ethic needs to be instilled at an early age. Wenzel agreed that education is essential, as well as the development of a core of experts at universities and scientific institutions to engage with conservationists.

Volunteering is a great networking opportunity for students interested in protected area management, Knudsen said. He added that any sort of experience gained through volunteering could prove valuable in the competitive job market.

Carlstrom also suggested students get involved with volunteer activities; he encouraged students to be open in seeking opportunities and not to limit themselves.

“We’re depending on each and every one of you to be the stewards [of our national protected areas,]” Carlstrom said.