By Timothy P. Whalen

This edition of Conservation, The GCI Newsletter highlights education and training at the GCI. Education has always been a core activity of the Institute, as it is an important means to advance the practice of conservation and, with it, the professionalism of the field itself. The Institute has pursued a range of educational activities over the years, from courses and workshops to field-based activities that allow a direct exchange of new information and ideas with other colleagues.

There is a large audience of conservation professionals who, like professionals in other disciplines, need opportunities to increase their own learning in pace with the advances of the field. In the conservation field, there are relatively few providers of midcareer training for professionals on either the national or international level. For this reason, we decided that the Institute should serve the learning needs of the field through a department dedicated to the design and implementation of education and training projects for professionals.

So it was that in October 2007 GCI Education became a freestanding department within the Institute. The work of the Education department, like that of the Institute itself, addresses both built heritage and collections. Its programs—which reflect both the needs of the field and the GCI's own areas of expertise—are international, generally focusing on countries or regions of the world where professionals may be underserved by the existing cadre of educational providers. In coming years, we expect to offer more courses that draw upon the research undertaken at the GCI; this will allow us to expand our audience as we bring new technical developments from our labs into conservation practice. The Education department will also take a leadership role in investigating new methods and media for teaching and learning, bringing in new ideas from the mainstream of education to the teaching of conservation.

We have always operated under the premise that education initiatives are among the most effective means the GCI has of contributing to the development of the conservation profession. With this edition of our newsletter, we are pleased to give you a glimpse into the thinking behind this important part of our work.

A final note: the next edition of the GCI newsletter will be published in October of this year with a new design and a new name—Conservation Perspectives: The GCI Newsletter. The newsletter will now appear twice a year, in the spring and in the fall. While the publication remains free, subscribers need to complete and return the subscription renewal form they received earlier this year in order to continue receiving the publication. If you are currently a subscriber and have misplaced your renewal form, you can resubscribe online. We also invite you to subscribe online to the new GCI Bulletin—a free, bimonthly e-bulletin with the latest information on GCI projects, activities, and publications. To sign up, please go to and click on the GCI Bulletin link.

We hope that you find this edition—and future editions—of the newsletter to be helpful in illuminating the variety of issues facing the conservation field.