University of Wisconsin-River Falls

News Source

Dec. 5, 2003


Online Wildlife Recreation, Nature Tourism Class Offered

As one of the fastest growing segments of wildlife-related recreation, wildlife-viewing activities hold great potential for stimulating the local economy while celebrating its natural wonders.

A new online, graduate-level certificate offered by the University of Wisconsin-River Falls will help conservationists, community leaders, and recreation and hospitality providers build the skills necessary to effectively preserve area natural resources and generate jobs and revenue for their communities.

The first of five, online courses for the Wildlife Recreation and Nature Tourism Certificate will begin in February 2004. Participants will earn two graduate credits, which may be applied toward completion of the 15-credit certificate.

"This course, 'Wildlife Recreation, Nature Tourism, and Sustainability-Based Systems,' introduces students to the ‘big-picture’ model of wildlife recreation and nature tourism through the lens of sustainability-based systems," said Professor Kelly Cain, program coordinator and course instructor.

Special emphasis in the course will be placed on sustainable community planning and cost-benefit analysis, he added. Students will also get a sense of the professional skills needed to navigate the complex political dynamics that are essential to the success of a project.

The Wildlife Recreation and Nature Tourism Certificate is the first of its kind offered in the United States according to Cain. The program was developed in partnership with Watchable Wildlife, Inc., an international organization committed to helping local communities realize the economic potential of nature-related recreation while conserving native plants and animals in their natural habitats.

Certificate courses will be offered throughout the year in both online and in-classroom formats. Students must apply as a UW-RF graduate or temporary student before registering for the courses.

More information about the certificate program, including course schedules and descriptions, tuition information and registration instructions, is available on the web site at http://www.watchwildlife.com. Prospective students may also send an email to watchwildlife@uwrf.edu or call the Outreach and Graduate Studies Office at 715/425-3256 or 800-228-5607.

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