The Future of the ELP

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Richard “Dick” Beahrs (Class of ’68) with his wife Carolyn, established CNR’s Beahrs’ Environmental Leadership Program. He was the first recipient of the College of Natural Resources Citation Award in 2003 and is currently Co-Chair of the CNR Advisory Board Development Committee and a Trustee of the UCB Foundation. He is the retired former President of the Courtroom Television Network and Comedy Central. A true Cal supporter, Dick, Carolyn and their four children all have Berkeley degrees.
by Dick Beahrs

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 15 years since the welcoming reception for the first ELP was held on July 4th, 2001. I will always recall Chancellor Robert Berdahl’s opening remark that everyone at Berkeley “expects to learn as much from ELP participants as Berkeley can possibly convey.” His words strike me as prescient as there has been tremendous collaboration between ELP fellows and faculty over the years.

Image icon2001-certificate-dinner-Hans-1-300x200_2.jpg ELP 2001 Certificate Ceremony

From the very beginning, our perspective was that it would take many years to really be able to evaluate how impactful the program could be. Because of all of your spectacular work, there is reason to be excited about what has been accomplished. There have now been over 600 Fellows from 112 countries. The impact you have already had speaks for itself, and your successes hold great promise for the future. We’d like the ELP to help.

Happily, recent developments lead us to believe that the future can be even more exciting and that the ELP can do even more. New funding for the ELP will make it possible to strengthen the Alumni Network, the changes for collaboration and involvement with the Berkeley community. Here are some of the most important:

  1. The Berkeley Global Campus & Satellite ELP Centers – Chancellor Nick Dirks has made it a priority to develop an extraordinary center for international collaboration at a new Global Campus in Richmond (6 miles from Berkeley). It is located on a spectacular site directly on San Francisco Bay, and will involve partnerships between Berkeley and outstanding universities around the world. There is also hope that innovative concepts can be refined to promote collaboration from other centers around the world. Your perspective and ideas will be actively solicited. Mio Katayama Owens will be reaching out to you to engage you in this process.
  2. Buck Kingman Initiatives – The ELP has funded a number of exciting initiatives over the past decade, but you and others in the Alumni Network have plenty of new ideas and it is clear that we could be doing more in this area. We’ve been encouraged by the possibility of finding additional funding and that all of you will consider submitting proposals in the near future.
  3. Overseas Training & Gatherings – The list linked shows the remarkable networks the ELP has built, where ELP fellows have come from and / or where they are working today. We are developing plans for regular Alumni gatherings around the world to update ELP Alums on developments in the program, give them a chance to share ideas and strengthen their own networks. We are also looking at arranging overseas training to expand the number of people the ELP can reach. Susan Carpenter conducted a pilot workshop in Vietnam (funded by a Buck Kingman Grant) that included 28 people from 20 different Vietnamese national parks. (Many thanks to Do Thi Thanh Huyen, ELP 2015, for taking the lead to make this happen.)
  4. Specialized Training & Programs in the U.S. – The three-week ELP course each summer at Berkeley has an increasingly broad-based and innovative curriculum touching upon many subjects, from Environmental Economics to Communication. There is interest in expanding it further to include specialized programs on topics such as climate change. We hope you may find an opportunity to participate and welcome your suggestions.
  5. The Master of Development Program (MDP) – Many of the ELP concepts have been integrated into the exciting MDP program at Berkeley. There has already been collaboration between ELP participants and the MDP. David Zilberman has played the pivotal role in the development of the MDP as well as the ELP.

Image icon2001-Noel-1-300x205_2.jpg Dick and Carolyn with ELP 2001 participants at the Crow's Nest restaurant in Santa Cruz.

I can’t close without expressing our great appreciation for the extraordinary vision and support, which has been provided by ELP faculty and staff and support over the years. Robin Marsh launched the program with David Zilberman and her deep personal commitment made the ELP a reality. Leslie Correll, Elna Brunckhorst, Sarah Sawyer, Andy Lyons and Anita Ponce have provided invaluable support dealing with an extraordinary range of issues. It isn’t possible to thank everyone, but we all recognize the ELP has benefited from an exceptional team. Susan Carpenter and Vince Resh have served as faculty from the very beginning and we will always remember the late Bill Sonnenschein, who died tragically while extending the reach of the ELP in Madagascar. Also, we still mourn the loss of Svetlana Chernikova who did such an extraordinary job of enhancing environmental education in Russia. Of course, none of us in Berkeley will ever overlook the incredible challenges you face, including taking tremendous, personal risk in your work around the world.

In the years ahead, Carolyn and I hope to visit many more of you in your home countries so that we can see your outstanding work on the ground. My visits with ELP Fellows in Russia (Svetlana Chernikova), China (Bill Valentino and Patrick Zhishao Tang), Ghana (Rafael Flor, Abenaa Akuamoa Boateng, and Frank McAvor), and Mexico (Eduardo Ponce Guevara), etc. have been lifetime highlights. I look forward to many more visits as we work together to expand the impact of your work.