The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Office of Law Enforcement (OLE), Training and Development Unit (TDU) kicked off its third 2021 Virtual International Conservation Chiefs Academy (V-ICCA) on September 8, 2021. The session opened with participant introductions and a review of the technical and adaptive leadership challenges being faced by the countries of Belize, Costa Rica, Dominica Republic, Jamaica, and the United States as it relates to illegal wildlife trafficking. This initial review provided the foundation for the V-ICCA that was conducted from September 13-24, 2021. The USFWS, OLE, TDU, normally conducts the ICCA training missions annually at our National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. However, due to the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the USFWS decided to present the program virtually in an online setting for 2021.
This conservation leadership program gives participants access to hundreds of conservation law enforcement leaders around the globe and USFWS Attaches to assist in investigations. The ICCA graduates are then eligible to attend in person alumni everts and the graduates are recognized to participate in law enforcement exchange programs as a part of an international instructor program.
The V-ICCA was delivered virtually utilizing blended delivery; combining instructor led (synchronous) daily modules with independent (asynchronous) content on the web via the USFWS learning management system. A typical day consisted of two (2) 1.5-hour synchronous training sessions with a thirty-minute break between the sessions. The program also included approximately one hour of asynchronous work designed to enhance the learning objectives presented each day or in preparation for topics presented during the next day. The students were required to participate in approximately four hours of training each weekday for the two weeks.
In addition to this session, two other virtual sessions were held in 2021: on in February for Spanish speaking countries in South America and one in June 2021 for Portuguese speaking countries in South America and Africa.