Participants from around the world engage in practical training and dialogue each year through 10 international seminars organized by the Forest Service International Programs office. This month, 66 natural resource management professionals from 36 countries participated in the Forest Landscape Restoration, Watershed Management, and Natural Resources Management seminars held in Oregon, Arizona and California. In the coming months, over 120 participants are slated to attend international seminars that will take place across the U.S. on urban forestry, mining, protected areas management, field course on protected areas management (delivered in Spanish), disaster management, planning and managing tourism in protected areas, and livestock grazing management.
Each seminar lasts two to four weeks and provides interactive, intensive training for groups of 15 to 25 international participants. The Forest Service works with universities, nongovernmental organizations, local governments and private sector companies throughout the U.S. to organize each of the seminars.
In addition to learning from U.S. experts, the participants learn from one another. Seminar participants are usually employees of foreign governments, nongovernmental organizations, U.S. embassies and other institutions invested in improving natural resource management practices and policies.
“The value in bringing people together is that you put a basket of skills, a basket of experiences, not only from one place but from different situations, and in that way you are able to learn how to improve your own situation and your own approaches,” said Botswanan seminar participant Tracy Sithabile Molefi.
The seminars have significant and long-term impacts on individuals. Seminar participant Yitahew Abebe Kibret from Ethiopia said, “In three weeks of seminar, in my opinion, I have gained a year of experience.”
The Forest Service sees the international seminars as a way to share best practices from the U.S. and to deepen relationships with global partners. For more information on these seminars, visit the international seminars website.