Stetson students and faculty walking in swamp

Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy

Video: Environmental Advocacy at Stetson Law

Stetson's Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy serves as an interdisciplinary focal point for education, research and service activities related to global, regional and local biodiversity issues.

The Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy hosts international speakers and conferences, and it coordinates courses, seminars and internships on a variety of topics, including wetland law and policy, environmental law, natural resources and international environmental law. Our latest Annual Report (PDF) provides more details on the Institute's activities for 2015-2016.

Stetson's Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy Receives Award from American Bar Association

Stetson's Institute for Biodiversity Law and PolicyThe ABA's Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources selected Stetson's Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy to receive the Distinguished Achievement in Environmental Law and Policy Award. On August 7, 2016, Professor Gardner accepted the award on behalf of the Institute.
» Read news release

Stetson Law Awarded Grant by the Sea Turtle Grants Program for a Special Course on Sea Turtle Law and Policy

sea turtle

Thanks to a generous grant by the Sea Turtle Grants Program administered by the Sea Turtle Conservancy, Stetson’s Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy offered a one-credit, three-day course, “Topics in Biodiversity Law: Sea Turtles,” on Aug. 26–28, 2016. This special course educated law and other graduate students about threats to sea turtles and the local, state, national, and international legal and policy framework to protect them. The course was open to students at Stetson University College of Law and to graduate students who are pursuing degrees in marine science, environmental science, or environmental policy.
» Read news release

Scholarships for the course were funded by the grant awarded from the Sea Turtle Grants Program. The Sea Turtle Grants Program is funded from proceeds from the sale of the Florida Sea Turtle License Plate. Learn more at

Sea Turtle License Plate

Key Initiatives

  • The Stetson International Environmental Moot Court Competition (IEMCC) is the world's largest moot court competition devoted exclusively to global environmental issues. Founded at Stetson in 1996, the competition now includes regional rounds in Africa, Brazil, India, Ireland, Korea, the Philippines, Ukraine, and the United States, with the top teams advancing to the International Finals hosted at Stetson Law each spring. Stetson Law will host the 21st IEMCC International Finals on March 30-April 1, 2017.
  • The International Wildlife Law Conference brings together lawyers, policymakers, scientists, and students interested in wildlife protection efforts. Co-sponsored by the Institute since 2007, last year's conference was held at Stetson Law, and this year's conference was hosted by the Institute of Environment Education and Research, Bharati Vidyapeeth University in Pune, India on Jan. 6-9, 2017.
  • Stetson is the only law school in the world with a memorandum of cooperation with the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, an international environmental treaty dedicated to conserving wetlands. Stetson is also a member of the U.S. National Ramsar Committee, which supports the goals of the Ramsar Convention.
  • The Stetson Sea Turtle Initiative works to assist the Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles, a regional treaty with 15 member countries.
  • Each year, the Institute offers the Edward and Bonnie Foreman Biodiversity Lecture Series. The lectures are open to the public and provide interdisciplinary perspectives and dialogue about important environmental issues.
  • The ELI-Stetson Wetlands Workshop is an annual event held in the fall with the renowned Washington-based Environmental Law Institute. On Nov. 3, 2016, Stetson Law hosted the fourth annual workshop.

Upcoming Events

Please join us for the Edward and Bonnie Foreman Biodiversity Lecture Series this spring.

  • March 30, 2017, at noon in the Great Hall: Judge Anthony Lucky, International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea

Lunch will be served. If you would like to attend any of the lectures, RSVP to

Recent News

Professor Royal Gardner and Foreman Biodiversity Fellow Erin OkunoScientific Organizations Endorse Amici Curiae Brief Co-Authored by Stetson's Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy
Seven scientific organizations, including the Society of Wetland Scientists and the Ecological Society of America, issued a joint letter in support of protecting the nation's waters and to endorse an amici curiae brief that was recently filed in support of the Clean Water Rule. Stetson Law Professor Royal Gardner, Foreman Biodiversity Fellow Erin Okuno, and University of Wisconsin Professor Steph Tai filed the brief on behalf of wetland and water scientists.
» Read More

Dr. Song GaoDr. Song Gao Speaks at Stetson Law about Global Climate Change Issues and the Interplay between Science and Policy
On Feb. 27, 2017, Dr. Song Gao, associate professor of chemistry at Stetson University, spoke to members of the Stetson and local community as part of the Edward and Bonnie Foreman Biodiversity Lecture Series. Dr. Gao presented "Atmospheric Aerosols, Super Greenhouse Gases, Global Climate Change: Where Science Meets Policy."
» Read More

Miles Archabal and Vanessa MooreStetson Law Students Advance to Final Round at 2017 Jeffrey G. Miller National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition
Miles Archabal and Vanessa Moore, members of Stetson Law's award-winning Moot Court Board, were finalists at the 2017 Jeffrey G. Miller National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition, held Feb. 23-25, 2017, in White Plains, New York. Sixty-three teams competed, and Miles and Vanessa advanced to the final round, during which they argued in front of judges from the EPA Environmental Appeals Board and the United States Courts of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Fifth Circuit, and Sixth Circuit. Professor Brooke Bowman, Professor Royal Gardner, and Foreman Biodiversity Fellow Erin Okuno coached the team.

Jacyln LopezJaclyn Lopez Presents Foreman Biodiversity Lecture about "Florida’s Frightening Phosphate Problem"
Jaclyn Lopez, Florida Director, Center for Biological Diversity, delivered the first Edward and Bonnie Foreman Biodiversity Lecture of the spring semester on Jan. 24, 2017. Lopez discussed how the phosphate industry has impacted the environment in Florida.
» Read More

Professor Royal GardnerAmici Curiae Brief Filed on Behalf of Scientists in Support of Clean Water Rule
On January 20, 2017, Professor Royal Gardner (Director of the Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy at Stetson Law), Dr. Steph Tai (Associate Professor of Law at University of Wisconsin Law School), and Erin Okuno (Foreman Biodiversity Fellow at Stetson Law) filed an amici curiae brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. They filed the brief on behalf of 12 wetland and water scientists, including Dr. Kirsten Work and Dr. Benjamin R. Tanner (Stetson University), in support of the Clean Water Rule, which defines the geographic coverage of the Clean Water Act.
» Read the Amici Curiae Brief
[Note: The views expressed in the brief do not represent the views of Stetson University College of Law or any other institution identified in the brief. Affiliations of amici curiae and their counsel are provided in the brief for identification purposes only.]

For more articles, visit our News page. 

Service Opportunities

  • Service opportunities are available for students at a local, national, and international level. Recent projects include researching sea turtle protection legislation in Latin America and the Caribbean, working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on endangered species issues in California, designating Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge as a Ramsar Site, and conducting beach clean-ups.

Courses and Scholarship

  • Stetson Law offers a wide range of environmental- and biodiversity-related courses, and Stetson offers a Certificate of Concentration in Environmental Law for select J.D. students who wish to focus their studies on environmental law.
  • Our faculty members teach courses such as Environmental Advocacy, International Environmental Law, Natural Resources Law, and Wetland Law and Policy. Scholarship produced by Stetson faculty has real-world impacts on topics such as animal law, land use, and wetland mitigation.
  • Stetson students have the opportunity to serve as student editors of the Journal of International Wildlife Law and Policy.