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

The 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 August 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


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, this year's conference was held at Stetson Law, and next year's conference will be hosted by the Institute of Environment Education and Research, Bharati Vidyapeeth University in Pune, India, 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. The proceedings are captured in a special issue of ELI's National Wetlands Newsletter. On Nov. 12, 2015, Stetson hosted the third annual workshop. Stetson will host the fourth annual workshop on Nov. 3, 2016.

Upcoming Events

Please join us for the Edward and Bonnie Foreman Biodiversity Lecture Series this fall:

  • Sept. 29, 2016, at noon: Dr. Naomi Rose, Marine Mammal Scientist, Animal Welfare Institute
  • Nov. 2, 2016, at noon: Robert Williams, Chief Deputy General Counsel, Florida Department of Environmental Protection
  • Nov. 3, 2016, at noon: Jeanne Christie, Executive Director, Association of State Wetland Managers

Also, please join us for the Fourth Annual ELI-Stetson Wetlands Workshop on Nov. 3, 2016.

Recent News

media/IEMCC_champion_2016_cropped.jpgUniversity of San Carlos Wins the 20th Annual Stetson International Environmental Moot Court Competition
Teams from around the world traveled to Stetson Law to participate in the International Finals of Stetson's International Environmental Moot Court Competition on April 13-16, 2016. Students presented arguments regarding whether an ambassador should be prosecuted for illegal ivory trade and whether elephants should be protected as cultural property. The team from the University of San Carlos was the champion.
» Read More
» Visit the Competition Facebook Page

media/IWLC_2016_cropped.jpgStetson Law Hosts 16th International Wildlife Law Conference
Speakers, students, and attendees from across the globe participated in the International Wildlife Law Conference at Stetson Law on April 13-14, 2016. Issues discussed include hunting, fishing, and other impacts on wildlife, as well as connections and collaborations across multilateral environmental agreements.
» Read More

media/elizabeth_gitari_cropped.jpgElizabeth Gitari Speaks at Stetson Law about Illegal Wildlife Trade and Protecting Elephants
On April 13, 2016, Elizabeth Gitari, an advocate of the High Court of Kenya and former legal affairs manager at WildlifeDirect, delivered the Edward and Bonnie Foreman Biodiversity Lecture at Stetson. She discussed innovations in the prosecution of illegal wildlife trade and shared some of her experiences working to protect elephants from poachers.
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media/bike_share_cropped.jpgStetson Student Steers Bike Share Program
Miles Archabal, a Stetson student in the environmental law concentration, is leading efforts to establish a bike shrae program at Stetson Law's Gulfport campus. He is seeking donations of used bikes for members of the Stetson community to use around campus.
» Read More

media/gardner_UN_march_2016_cropped.jpgProfessor Gardner Returns to the United Nations to Speak about Wetlands
On March 21, 2016, Professor Royal C. Gardner spoke at the United Nations at the joint celebration of the International Day of Forests and World Water Day. Professor Gardner serves as chair of the Scientific and Technical Review Panel of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. He discussed the importance of mangroves to people and ecosystems.
» Read More

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.