Western Section to Hold Longest-Running Workshop in January

Big Bend National Park. Image Credit: Adam Baker, licensed by cc 2.0

The Western Section of The Wildlife Society will celebrate the 46th anniversary of its oldest-running workshop in January when it hosts the Natural Resources Communication Workshop.

Co-sponsored by the Department of Recreation, Hospitality, and Parks Management at California State University, Chico, the event is designed to help natural resource workers more effectively communicate with general as well as technical audiences. Topics include selecting communication strategies, creating computer-generated graphics, avoiding PowerPoint “pitfalls,” handling difficult questions, and solving audiovisual equipment problems.

“The workshop is practical-oriented and enhances participants’ communication skills in planning, preparing, presenting, and evaluating presentations,” said Dr. Jon Hooper, Certified Wildlife Biologist with the University and primary instructor of the week-long workshop. “The course uses a multi-dimensional approach combining lecture, role-playing, demonstration, and actual practice. Students ‘learn by doing.’”

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Dr. Jon Hooper and co-instructor Kim Rubin at the 2013 Natural Resources Communication Workshop in Chico, California. Image Credit: Jon Hooper

Historically, the Natural Resources Communication Workshop has drawn participants from all over the country. The first one was held in Reno, Nevada in 1970 and was taught by Colorado State University professor emeritus Gene Decker. Hooper began teaching it in 1975 at the University of California, Davis and brought it with him when he moved to California State University, Chico, where it has been held ever since.

Hooper feels that the general public needs to understand natural and cultural resource programs in order to support them and notes that communication is key to this understanding. “When natural and cultural resource management professionals enhance their communication skills via training, they can be more effective at explaining their programs to people and, thereby, nurture more public support for such programs,” he said.

There are only 17 spots available for the workshop and applications are due by October 30th . Late applications are accepted if the workshop is not full. Registration is $795. Applicants should write a brief essay describing four things — their current position within their agency or organization, how they would use this training, why they feel they should be chosen, and if they already have official agency/organization approval to attend. Submit applications to Dr. Hooper at the Department of Recreation, Hospitality, and Parks Management at California State University, Chico. Include a mailing address, phone number, fax number and email address.

For more information, contact Dr. Hooper by phone at (530) 898-5811 or by email at jhooper@csuchico.edu.