Environmental Leaders Gather in Charlottesville for Culminating Session of Leadership Institute

June 01, 2009

June 1, 2009 — Environmental leaders taking part in the Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute will gather June 3-5 for a workshop in Charlottesville. Leaders from Virginia industry, businesses, local and state government, and the environmental community will conclude their yearlong work together by examining important skills for collaborative leadership and group processes related to water supply planning, valuation of ecosystem services, climate change and cutting-edge conservation.

The institute aims to foster communication and understanding between environmental leaders representing different interests in Virginia's natural resources. Each of the program's six sessions offers interactive exercises that focus on a topic, such as conflict resolution, facilitation, consensus-building, interest-based negotiation, public involvement, environmental justice and collaborative leadership.

June's meeting is the last in the 2008-09 cycle.

The Charlottesville workshop will include a panel discussion forecasting the future of alternative-energy generation, to include representatives from BP Wind Energy, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Dominion Energy's Nuclear Division and University of Virginia engineering professor Paxton Marshall. They will discuss local, national and global trends affecting the future for renewable energy in Virginia and nationally, as well as the opportunities and challenges facing residents who seek to become more energy-efficient and utilize renewable energy.

Additionally, the group will visit the fabrication facilities of ecoMOD, the green building program of the U.Va. School of Architecture in collaboration with the School of Engineering, as well as the Quality Community Council's Urban Farm on Monticello Avenue in Charlottesville.

The Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute is a partnership of U.Va.'s Institute for Environmental Negotiation, the Virginia Cooperative Extension, the Virginia Department of Forestry and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.

The leadership program is supported this year by a grant from the Dominion Foundation. The group's activities are also supported by the sale of Chesapeake Bay license plates in Virginia; grant funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service's Urban and Community Forestry Grant Program, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, the Merck & Co. Stonewall Plant and the institute's alumni.

This final session of the program will be followed by a graduation ceremony honoring the institute fellows and other leaders involved with the stewardship of Virginia's natural resources.

Applications for the next program cycle are being accepted through June 10.

For information, visit the institute's Web site[link to: www.virginia.edu/ien/vnrli] or contact Christine Gyovai, 434-982-6464 or christineg@virginia.edu.

— By Jane Ford