Natural Resource Management involves two courses, one at the undergraduate level (Zoo. 470C), and the other at the graduate level (Zoo. 384L). They are combined in order to take advantage of having two levels of student expertise working together. A similar team composition is common in the "real world" of business or government or non-governmental agencies (NGO's). The graduate students will have an opportunity to use their advanced training in their specialty and in environmental sciences, and they will refine their technical skills in leading a team to accomplish one or more objectives, publication of a report. They will learn, and lead a team, in a holistic decision process to reach the project objectives. The undergraduates are expected to have modest or advanced technical knowledge in biology and environmental sciences, but are expected to be inexperienced in the application of this knowledge in management. In most cases, neither graduate nor undergraduate students are expected to have experience working in a team and making decisions holistically. Outside of academic circles, team work is the norm, and requires a different set of skills, whether one is the leader or a member of the team. For individuals who prefer to work alone, team work is not only possible, but often depends upon such people to "go away" for a while and finish a task and return to interface with the rest of the team. Teamwork does not mean exclusively working "in the same harness" but working in a coordinated way to accomplish a specified objective.

All students will begin managing natural resources with their own lives. A simple measure, their ecological footprint, will be calculated and periodically evaluated by each individual. The general implications will be a backdrop for all activities in the course.


Objectives are similar in graduate and undergraduate courses, but some differences apply since the graduate students will be Team Leaders. The objectives apply to three areas, Teamwork, Management Procedures, and Consensus Building. Each team will develop the objectives for their project that employ the research skills and scientific foundations.

Management Procedures

Both graduate and undergraduate students will be expected to accomplish the following:

  1. Calculate a personal "Ecological Footprint" and determine ways to reduce the area of land that is needed to provide the natural resources for personal existence.
  2. Describe how their personal decisions are made, and organize this procedure into a "decision making flow-chart".
  3. Draft a holistic goal for oneself, or collaboratively for one's immediate family, identify the "whole" that is affected by and utilized in personal decisions, and begin to make holistic decisions in day-to-day activities.
  4. Draft a holistic goal for different management units in a variety of circumstances (supplied as exercises) and involving different people in order to compare holistic decisions to those made using a "conventional decision process".
  5. Contribute to team objectives in the analysis of decision making processes of a cooperating organization that "hosts" the team, and suggest how holistic decisions would differ from existing decisions.
  6. Write a term report with their team on their project, which will be "published" on the web site for the course, and, if of excellent quality will be submitted for peer review for formal publication in an electronic journal. (The completion of a formal publication will extend beyond the end of the class, and will not be part of the class grade.)


An undergraduate student will be expected to accomplish the following:

  1. Identify their optimum role(s) in a team that utilizes their skills and knowledge to compliment other members of their team to accomplish one or more objectives.
  2. Take responsibility to work with leader and team members to monitor and improve team effectiveness in reaching the objective(s).
  3. Participate in a team with high personal commitment to maximize the team's effectiveness.
  4. Apply knowledge from courses and experience and take initiative to gather other information or obtain skills as needed to accomplish the team's objective(s).
  5. Carry out responsibilities as a team member, with a commitment to high quality work completed "on time". This includes preparing parts of the final report in a form that are clearly written, accurate, and contribute to successful completion of the team's objectives. (Only those willing to carry through to publication will be included on the list of authors, should the team report qualify for submission for formal publication.)

A graduate student will be expected to accomplish the following:

  1. Identify the strengths of team members, and organize these in an effective way to accomplish one or more objectives.
  2. Build the collaborative dynamics in a team, serving as a catalyst for members feeling they are valuable members with pride in the success of the team.
  3. Facilitate and instruct the team in the consensus building process, and guide the decisions using the holistic management decision making process.
  4. Organize the initial plan to accomplish the objectives, and then facilitate adaptive improvements with the contributions from the team throughout the team's work schedule. (This may mean any degree of revising the plan, provided the revisions produce a better plan. Adaptations to changing circumstances, new information, or other "corrections" in objectives or strategies are part of holistic management.)
  5. Organize the writing of the report that presents the team's results that accomplish the objective(s) or revised objectives, and take the lead in blending results into a document suitable for formal publication.

Consensus Building

Both graduate and undergraduate students will be expected to accomplish the following:

  1. Describe and characterize the differences between working with "collaboration" and working with "consensus." (These will be discussed in class.)
  2. Facilitate and skillfully participate in groups to create consensus-based actions.
  3. Show how groups functioning with consensus and using the holistic decision making process can effectively manage natural resources in sustainable, or even regenerative, ways. When such a result is deemed impossible, then a student will identify the restrictions that prevent such management.


Maintained by Dick Richardson
Last updated 02/17/97: Copyrightę 1997 R. H. Richardson.