Completed in 1997, the National Conservation Training Center north of Shepherdstown is part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. As the nation’s only full-service training complex for fish and wildlife professionals, the center offers more than 250 courses on topics ranging from habitat conservation and wildlife refuge management, and laboratory and field sciences, to public outreach and environmental negotiation.
The campus, about 75 miles northwest of Washington, is set on 538 acres amid hardwood forests and meadows on the Potomac River. The center, which cost $143 million, includes two classroom buildings, a biology laboratory, a multimedia studio, a fitness center, dining hall, and three residential lodges. The buildings’ pitched roofs and weathered look are designed to blend with local farm structures.
The 120-person staff is made up of federal employees from the Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and National Forest Service, as well as private contractors. The staff design and teach classes, schedule meetings at the center, and serve as liaisons between the center and the agencies they represent. Half the center’s courses are taught on site. Others are offered at other places outside Shepherdstown and by satellite and computer.
The National Conservation Training Center is used primarily by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 8,000 employees. It also serves as a conference site where government wildlife specialists and land management employees, and representatives from environmental groups and private industry can discuss issues relating to commerce and conservation. In January 2000, the center was the site of peace talks between Israel and Syria.
Last Revised on October 21, 2010
Cohn, Jeffrey P. Unique Facility Provides a Host of Benefits for Fish and Wildlife Pros and Others. Bioscience, (2000).