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 2016-2017.

Video: Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy

Upcoming Events:

  • Oct. 9, 2017, at 12:00-1:00 p.m.: Edward and Bonnie Foreman Biodiversity Lecture by Dr. Dwight Pitcaithley, former chief historian of the National Park Service (on the history of the National Park Service)
  • Oct. 23, 2017, at 12:00-1:00 p.m.: Edward and Bonnie Foreman Biodiversity Lecture by Tonya Long, fish and wildlife biologist at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (on improving sea turtle nesting beaches)
  • Nov. 9, 2017, at 12:00-1:00 p.m.: Dr. Max Finlayson, Institute for Land, Water and Society, Charles Sturt University, Australia (on climate change impacts to the Great Barrier Reef)
  • Nov. 9, 2017: Fifth Annual ELI-Stetson Wetlands Workshop (Register Online)

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 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 hosted 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. The next conference will be held 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. 3, 2016, Stetson Law hosted the fourth annual workshop. The fifth annual workshop will be held at Stetson's Gulfport campus on Nov. 9, 2017.

Recent News

Professor Roy GardnerProfessor Roy Gardner and Erin Okuno Present at 2017 National Mitigation and Ecosystem Banking Conference (NMEBC)
On May 10 and 11, 2017, Professor Roy Gardner and Foreman Biodiversity Fellow Erin Okuno presented at the NMEBC in Sacramento, California. Professor Gardner discussed the status of the Clean Water Rule in his presentation, "What's up with WOTUS (and other mitigation litigation)?" Erin discussed how in-lieu fee programs plan for long-term stewardship of wetlands in her presentation, "Planning for Perpetuity: Long-Term Stewardship for In-Lieu Fee Programs."

GNLUGujarat National Law University Wins Stetson's Twenty-First Annual International Environmental Moot Court Competition
Stetson Law hosted the International Finals of the International Environmental Moot Court Competition on March 30-April 1, 2017, in Gulfport, Florida. Seventeen teams from around the world participated in the International Finals, and the team from Gujarat National Law University in India was the champion.
» Read More

Judge Anthony LuckyJudge Anthony Lucky Presents Foreman Biodiversity Lecture at Stetson Law
On March 30, 2017, Judge Anthony Lucky, member of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, presented an Edward and Bonnie Foreman Biodiversity Lecture about "The Role of the Courts in Promoting Biodiversity." The lecture was held in conjunction with the International Finals of Stetson's Twenty-First Annual International Environmental Moot Court Competition.
» Read More

Allison Conti and Arielle ClaudeStetson Students Advance to Semifinals of 2017 Robert R. Merhige, Jr. National Environmental Negotiation Competition
On March 25-26, 2017, Stetson students Arielle Claude and Allison Conti competed at the Robert R. Merhige, Jr. National Environmental Negotiation Competition in Richmond, Virginia. The team advanced to the semifinals. Professor Lance Long and Foreman Biodiversity Fellow Erin Okuno coached the team.

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 (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.