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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 2016-2017.

Video: Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy

Upcoming Events:

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 www.helpingseaturtles.org.

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 and national rounds in Africa, Brazil, Colombia, India, Ireland, Republic of 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 hosted the 22nd IEMCC International Finals on March 22-24, 2018.
  • The International Wildlife Law Conference brings together lawyers, policymakers, scientists, and students interested in wildlife protection efforts. Co-sponsored by the Institute since 2007, this year's conference was hosted by Tilburg University's Department of European and International Public Law in Tilburg, the Netherlands on April 18-19, 2018.
  • 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. 9, 2017, Stetson Law hosted the fifth annual workshop. The sixth annual workshop will be held at Stetson Law on Nov. 8, 2018.

Recent News

Society of Wetland ScientistsStetson's Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy Files Amicus Curiae Brief on Behalf of Society of Wetland Scientists in Opposition to Suspension of Clean Water Rule
Professor Royal Gardner (Director of the Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy at Stetson Law), Erin Okuno (Foreman Biodiversity Fellow at Stetson Law), Dr. Steph Tai (Associate Professor of Law at University of Wisconsin Law School), Kathleen Gardner, and Christopher Greer (Park Jensen Bennett LLP) filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in May 2018. They filed the brief on behalf of the Society of Wetland Scientists, a leading professional association of wetland and aquatic scientists around the world. The brief explains the necessity of considering the scientific basis of the Clean Water Rule, which defines the geographic coverage of the Clean Water Act.
» Read More
» Read the Amicus 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 counsel are provided in the brief for identification purposes only.]

University of the PhilippinesUniversity of the Philippines Wins 22nd Annual Stetson International Environmental Moot Court Competition
Stetson Law hosted the International Finals of the 22nd Annual Stetson International Environmental Moot Court Competition on March 22-24, 2018. Twenty-one teams from thirteen countries around the world participated in the International Finals, and the University of the Philippines was this year's champion. The competition problem focused on “Responses to Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza and Transboundary Wetlands.”
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Dr. Ruth CromieDr. Ruth Cromie Speaks at Stetson Law about Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza
On March 22, 2018, Dr. Ruth Cromie, head of Ecosystem Health, Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, UK, presented “Avian influenza: a One Health issue of threats and opportunities” as the final Edward and Bonnie Foreman Biodiversity Lecture of the spring semester. Dr. Cromie discussed how emerging infectious diseases may affect wildlife and humans. The lecture kicked off the International Finals of the 23rd Annual Stetson International Environmental Moot Court Competition.
» Read More

Vanessa MooreThird-Year Stetson Law Student to Work at Environment and Natural Resources Division of Department of Justice
After graduation in May 2018, Stetson Law student Vanessa Moore will move to Washington, D.C. to work for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice. Moore is a member of Stetson's Moot Court Board, an editor on the Stetson Law Review, and vice president of Stetson's Environmental Law Society. She also serves as a research fellow for the Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy.
» Read More

Anne Harvey HolbrookAnne Harvey Holbrook Discusses Manatee Conservation at Stetson Law
As part of the Edward and Bonnie Foreman Biodiversity Lecture Series, Anne Harvey Holbrook, staff attorney at Save the Manatee Club, spoke at Stetson Law on March 1, 2018, about manatee conservation in Florida. The presentation addressed the species' status, threats to the species, and Save the Manatee Club's work to protect manatees.
» Read More
» Watch Lecture Video

Professor Royal Gardner and Foreman Biodiversity Fellow Erin Okuno

Scientific 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

Professor Royal GardnerAmici Curiae Brief Filed on Behalf of Scientists in Support of Clean Water Rule
On January 20, 2017, Professor Royal Gardner (Stetson Law), Dr. Steph Tai (University of Wisconsin Law School), and Erin Okuno (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.