Planning Conservation Projects & Programs Using the Open Standards Curriculum

Key questions facing all conservation practitioners and organizations are: “What actions are needed to achieve our conservation goals?” and “Are our actions effective in achieving our conservation goals?” It is imperative to answer these questions to focus attention on the most important actions, to be able to adapt and change our actions over time, to learn about which actions work and do not work, and to convince our donors and society that conservation is a worthy investment.

This curriculum is based on the Conservation Measures Partnership (CMP) Open Standards and covers Step 1 and Step 2 of the standards. These standards are the product of inputs, field tests, discussions, and debates among many CMP members and their partners.

You may choose to complete any of the lessons below; however, to receive a certificate of completion for either Step 1 or Step 2 you must complete the step assessment with a minimum score of 70%.

Click on the course title to enter the course room and begin the lessons. Please remember to have pop-ups enabled within your browser for ConservationTraining.org as many lessons open in pop-up windows.


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In order to achieve our conservation goals, the conservation community must determine the extent to which our actions are working – and we must be able to diagnose why some actions succeed while others do not. In recent years, here has been great convergence among conservation organizations in thinking about how best to plan and implement conservation actions.

In the Introduction to the Conservation Open Standards lesson is designed to give you an overview of adaptive management and a process for doing adaptive management for conservation projects, based off the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation.

20 minutes

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The first step in the Open Standards involves specifying the basic parameters for your project in preparation for the design work that will come in Step 2.

4 hours

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In order to receive your Step 1 certificate, you must complete a final assessment with a minimum grade of 70%. Additionally, please complete a short survey to review the lessons in Step 1.

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The second step in the Open Standards involves designing the specific strategies that you will undertake to achieve conservation.

4 hours

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In order to receive your Step 2 certificate, you must complete a final assessment with a minimum grade of 70%. Additionally, please complete a short survey to review the lessons in Step 2.

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