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Online Wildlife/Tourism Certificate Offered
By Jenny Bjelland
UW-RF News Bureau
MAY 20, 2005--In recent years, wildlife-related activities, such as eagle
watching along the Mississippi, can make a place a national destination.
In response to this rising interest in wildlife viewing and nature-related
tourism activities, the University of Wisconsin-River Falls is offering
a unique online graduate-level Wildlife Recreation and Nature Tourism
(WRNT) certificate program.
The first courses in the series, Wildlife Recreation, Nature Tourism,
and Sustainability-Based Systems, starts May 31 to Aug. 19. All curriculum
is offered online.
The 15-credit program was developed in partnership with Watchable Wildlife,
a national nonprofit organization based in Marine on St. Croix, Minn.,
that advances wildlife viewing in North America and internationally as
a viable economic and conservation enterprise.
The program is designed for environmental professionals such as wildlife
biologists, parks and recreation directors, naturalists, tour guides as
well as tourism-related businesses, educators, community leaders and wildlife
enthusiasts around the country. It offers the knowledge and skills needed
to plan and implement an economically viable nature tourism site while
focusing on the sustainability of the site's wildlife and natural resources.
According to Kelly Cain, UW-RF environmental science professor and WRNT
program coordinator, the program provides participants with a good understanding
of nature tourism and how it fits into the big picture while at the same
time offering participants an additional professional credential.
"The WRNT program lays the foundation for professional development
in the nature tourism industry," notes Cain. "This is the only
nature tourism program I am aware of with a complete online curriculum
offering a certificate towards a master's degree."
The UW-RF program is designed around five core two-credit courses from
within the College of Business and Economics and the College of Agriculture,
Food and Environmental Sciences.
Core course topics include an introduction to the breadth and depth of
the wildlife recreation and nature tourism industry both domestically
and internationally, management theories and sustainable methods of human
and wildlife interaction, and guidelines to create an entire community-based
hospitality infrastructure that emphasizes the idea of sustainability
and nature tourism. Methods to maximize the visitor's viewing experience
through the development of trails, observation decks, and public facilities,
while protecting and even enhancing the natural resources of the site,
are also a main focus.
The remaining five credits of directed electives may be filled through
additional coursework and/or related internships.
The WRNT program will benefit both participants and their employers. Along
with gaining additional knowledge of the nature tourism industry, each
participant will develop an electronic business management plan for a
specific nature tourism site of his or her choice.
The business plan includes the steps and framework needed to plan, develop
and implement a nature tourism site based on all course materials. A business
portfolio may be developed for personal or professional use to persuade
stakeholders or investors to assist in the development of the new site
or to enhance a current nature tourism site.
For more information on the WRNT program, please visit the UW-RF Outreach
and Graduate Studies Web page at www.uwrf.edu/ogs/wrnt.
To apply for the program, contact the UW-RF Graduate Studies Office at
(715) 425-3843 or (800) 228-5607 or e-mail Steven Dewald at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All program participants must be eligible for graduate study at UW-RF,
and have a bachelors degree and academic or professional experience related
to nature-based tourism.
Tuesday, 22-Jun-2010 16:21:24 Central Daylight Time