Environmental leadership in action

ocean water horizon against clear skyOn December 5, 2019, students from the ASU Graduate Certificate in Environmental Communication and Leadership (ECL) presented their group projects to representatives of the SEEOP Argo Research Sailing Vessel and the City of Phoenix’s Zero Waste initiative. The core course in the ECL curriculum is taught by Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Founding Director and School of Life Sciences Professor Leah Gerber. Some of the training conservation students receive as part of this certificate includes honing leadership skills and learning how to address non-scientific audiences and stakeholders for increased reach and impact. Argo is a local group preparing to sail around the world in the upcoming months to conduct scientific research and connect with local communities about conservation issues. Argo reached out to the Center for Biodiversity Outcomes last year to explore ways to collaborate in their upcoming venture. As a result, ECL students developed a thorough research proposal for their voyage. ECL students stand in front of classroom to deliver presentationThe students’ presentation, titled “Outreach and Communication Plan for Argo Marine Conservation Voyage,” detailed a plan for Argo to produce (1) a social media campaign, (2) a route with recommendations and information on which countries to visit, (3) a list of conservation organizations they should contact while in each country and (4) recommendations for research Argo can conduct. Additionally, other students from the class partnered with the Zero Waste coordinator to educate the public about the importance of recycling and waste management. Zero waste is an educational outreach program aiming to achieve zero waste by 2050 in Phoenix, Arizona. The students presented on (1) the current state of recycling in Arizona, (2) the environmental and economic impacts on the state and (3) the opportunities for legislative reform to improve state-wide recycling. This student project was informed by current legislation, primary research and interviews from the state's recycling coordinator and coordinators in nine municipalities.