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What You'll Study
  • The role of the facilitator in consensual decision-making
  • Facilitating open discussion in a meeting or workshop
  • Developmental stages of teambuilding
  • Decision-making processes
  • Dealing with conflict under different circumstances
  • Effective listening skills
  • Providing feedback to improve relationships and promote effective work
  • Planning effective workshops and meetings

The course is designed for individuals working in zoos or conservation organizations and other professionals or graduate students who need to develop skills in communication, facilitation and management.

Program Details

April 8–12, 2019


Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, VA.

Available Formats

Professional Training (SMSC 0529, 3.75 CEUs)


Graduate: See Mason’s graduate tuition rates

Professional Training: $1805.00*

*Professionals from certain countries are eligible for a reduced rate of $1255.00  which will automatically be reflected during the registration process.

Scholarships & financial aid



Apply by January 28, 2019 (for first consideration)
Payment due by February 11, 2019

Meet the Faculty

Jamie Copsey
Jamie Copsey
Director of Training
IUCN/SSC Conservation Planning Specialist Group
Jamie has been a conservation trainer and facilitator for more than 15 years, and is currently working to scale up global capacity for species conservation planning.
Anne Baker
Executive Director
Amphibian Ark
After a 30-year career in the zoo field, Anne Baker serves as the Convener of CPSG North America and Executive Director of the Amphibian Ark. She has served as a trainer at the Center for Conflict Resolution at Syracuse University, has delivered training courses on facilitation and developing listening skills, and has facilitated strategic conservation planning and species conservation planning workshops for a variety of organizations.


Wildlife conservation is a collaborative science requiring stakeholders to work together to find common solutions. It is a values-laden science in which multiple interests and concerns need to be navigated to reach resolution. Achieving consensus is complex, involving processes and interpersonal skills that allow for effective facilitation and group decision-making.

The facilitation skills developed in this course can be applied to a range of situations, from running team meetings, to managing difficult individual professional relationships, to the facilitation of multi-stakeholder workshops. We’ll bring together the expertise of the Conservation Planning Specialist Group and its partners to teach practical facilitation and communication skills that will empower participants to be more effective conservation scientists and managers. The course will include lectures, case studies, and significant time practicing facilitation skills.

See Detailed Curriculum >>

What’s Included

Acceptance does not guarantee you a seat in the course. Seats are allocated as registration payments are received, and early registration is strongly encouraged to ensure you get a spot.

The total cost includes our Housing and Dining Package and covers:

  • Registration fees
  • Instruction, course manual, and other course materials
  • Airport pick-up and drop-off shuttle service at Dulles International Airport (IAD) at specific pre-arranged times. We do not provide ground transportation shuttle service to or from any other airports in the Washington, DC, region.
  • Transportation for course activities
  • Daily full-service buffet at the SMSC Dining Commons
  • Housing at the SMSC Residential Facility, including a shared room with bathroom (single rooms available at extra cost)

Interested in Commuting?

Participants with a documented, permanent address local to campus may elect to commute with permission from SMSC. Commuters are required to purchase a reduced meal plan which includes lunch and snack breaks for each day of instruction. Additional dining options are available and may be selected during registration.  Email for additional information.

“This course vastly exceeded my expectations. I had hoped to gain tools to help reduce tension during future workshops. Instead, I gained an new framework with which to think about group decision-making and collaboration.”

Shawna Barry ICF

“This course is fantastic! Highly useful conservation case studies, ample opportunities for hands-on practice, engaging instructors, a wealth of materials provided for post-course use, and an expanded network conservationists made for one of the most relevant courses I have ever taken.”

Matt Luizza U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Take the next step toward a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity