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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 2017-2018.

Video: Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy

Upcoming Events:

Join us for the fall Edward and Bonnie Foreman Biodiversity Lecture Series! To attend a lecture, RSVP to biodiversity@law.stetson.edu. The final fall lecture will be on Nov. 8, 2018, at noon, when Dr. M. Siobhan Fennessy, Jordan Professor of Environmental Studies & Biology at Kenyon College, will discuss wetland restoration as part of the Sixth Annual ELI-Stetson Wetlands Workshop.

Register today for the Sixth Annual ELI-Stetson Wetlands Workshop, which will be held on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018!

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 Aug. 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 will host the 23rd IEMCC International Finals on April 11-13, 2019.
  • 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. The 19th International Wildlife Law Conference will be hosted by the University of Barcelona Faculty of Law on June 3-4, 2019, with an optional field trip on June 5.
  • 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. Register today!

Recent News

Dick JacobsDick Jacobs Explains the Importance of “Dirty Hands, Wet Feet Learning” at Foreman Biodiversity Lecture at Stetson Law
Richard O. “Dick” Jacobs, an attorney and photo explorer who serves as senior counsel at Johnson Pope Bokor Ruppel & Burns, presented the Edward and Bonnie Foreman Biodiversity Lecture at Stetson Law on September 25, 2018. Mr. Jacobs shared lessons learned and photos from his adventures trekking the seven continents, and he explained the importance of “dirty hands, wet feet” learning: real world experiences that can positively shape our lives like nothing else can.
» Read More
» Watch Lecture Video

Professor Salzman

Professor James Salzman Delivers Lecture at Stetson on Payments for Ecosystem Services
On September 6, 2018, Professor James Salzman, Bren Distinguished Professor at UCLA Law School/UCSB School of Environment, delivered the first Edward and Bonnie Foreman Biodiversity Lecture of the fall semester at Stetson Law. Professor Salzman presented “Can Nature Pay Its Way? The Past, Present and Future of Payments for Ecosystem Services.”
» Read More
» Watch Lecture Video

Kate Welch in IndiaStetson Law Student Spends Summer Working at the Wildlife Trust of India
Second-year law student Kate Welch landed a summer externship working for the Wildlife Trust of India. Welch conducted legal research and outreach and assisted veterinarians in the field. The Dick and Joan Jacobs’ Environmental Law Externship Fund helped defray the travel expenses associated with the externship.
» Read More

Wetland

Stetson's Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy Files Another Amicus Curiae Brief in Support of Clean Water Rule
In July 2018, a team of attorneys, including 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 on behalf of the Society of Wetland Scientists (SWS) in support of the Clean Water Rule. The team filed the brief in the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota.This is the second brief the team has filed on behalf of SWS. 
» 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.]

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.]

Professor Royal GardnerAmici Curiae Brief Filed on Behalf of Scientists in Support of Clean Water Rule
On Jan. 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.