VASWCD Ed. Funds Leadership Opportunity

The Virginia Natural Resource Leadership Institute is a program for rising leaders working in collaboration with Virginia’s natural resource issues and who seek new skills in conflict resolution and collective problem solving.

The application process for the Fellow program is now open for the 2015-2016 class.The deadline for accepting applications is Friday, June 12, 2015. To apply visit the VNRLI website at

The VASWCD Education Foundation offers financial assistance, through the George Beals Leadership Fund, by providing two scholarships to attend the year long program. District directors, associate directors or district staff applying for the VNRLI program should contact Kendall Tyree at the VASWCD for consideration of financial support.

Participants in VNRLI come from all areas of Virginia from all sectors of activity and work with natural resources at all levels. The programs offer cross-sector perspectives to enable students the ability to interact and learn from each other in a safe non-threatening environment.  Goals of the program include: teaching strategies and skill for conflict resolution and collaboration, providing an opportunity to learn more on the range of natural resource challenges in the Commonwealth, and to understand the complexities of resolving conflicts involving these issues.

The VNRLI program consists of six 3-days sessions located across Virginia and focuses on a variety of environmental issues.  Sessions consist of a mix of mini-lectures, experimental role plays and exercise, stakeholder panel discussions and field trips on specific environmental hot topics. Some of the past environmental topics highlighted have included the Chesapeake Bay, sea level rise in coastal Virginia, green economics, advocacy and lobbying, TMDLs, coal mining reclamation, and conventional and sustainable agriculture.
Many VNRLI alumni agree that they now better understand the complexity of Virginia natural resource issues, are more confident with group processes, building consensus and recommend the program as a way to gain leadership and collaborative problem-solving skills related to their daily work. Apply for the 2015-16 program via the VNRLI website at SWCD applicants are encouraged to contact the VASWCD for more information on the program and to be considered for financial assistance.