Communication of Conservation Course Offered Through National Geographic Society Grant


In collaboration with the Tropical Conservation Institute at FIU, the Department of Communication has designed a course for students interested in species conservation and communication

As part of an education grant through the National Geographic Society, four FIU faculty members will work with students in developing strategic conservation communication campaigns to help conserve endangered species. The National Geographic Society hopes to utilize this grant to determine effective ways to inspire positive action to save species through applying principles of science communication.

“Students will learn different paradigms of science communication and how to launch a campaign to strategically achieve an overall goal such as enhancing public understanding of scientific issues, and promoting attitudinal and behavioral changes.  We will focus on helping students become strategic communicators by developing objectives, strategies and tactics that are congruent with each other, creative and effective,” said Professor Weirui Wang.

Professor Elizabeth Marsh spoke on the expected takeaway from the course: “Since we are engaging with a real world problem with real world variables, I hope that our students will get a chance to test their resilience in the face of setbacks. That they learn how to ‘fail quickly’, learn from that failure, and push forward with plan B (or C or D).”

The course will be divided into three parts:

  • Part 1- Conservation education, strategic messaging
  • Part 2- Designing messages for this project
  • Part 3- Production and fieldwork (includes: video training and footage, postproduction, etc.)

The course includes two days of travel to the Rare Species Conservatory Foundation (RSCF) facility in South Florida, a living laboratory. The RSCF is a non-profit wildlife center that focuses on tropical wildlife conservation, environmental policy, and captive breeding programs for critically endangered wildlife.

This course, titled COM 4930 / MMC 5932 (Special Topics) Strategic Scientific Communication: Communicating Conservation, is offered during Spring 2019 at both Modesto Maidique and Biscayne Bay campuses is open to both undergraduate and graduate students of all majors.

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