Evaluating Scientific Proposals for Paleontological Resources in Wilderness

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This course, the final course in the Paleontological Resources in Wilderness course of study, discusses the process of evaluating proposals for conducting scientific activity in wilderness and examines the decisions wilderness managers must make in order to preserve wilderness character during such activity.


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This course discusses the evaluation framework used by wilderness stewards to examine proposals for research activities in wilderness. This framework serves to improve communication between scientists and management, as well as to foster greater understanding of wilderness protection.

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This course uses examples and a case study to highlight the relevance and application of the evaluation framework to paleontological resources in wilderness.

Course Schedule

This course is self-paced, allowing learners the flexibility to complete the course as quickly or slowly as they need. While exploring course content, learners can investigate topics in greater detail through enrichment activities that link to real-world examples, original source materials, and policy documents. Learners can easily move from section to section as they navigate through the course, revisiting concepts as needed. This course includes the following elements.

Elements of the course:

  • Informational text
  • Interactive practice activities
  • Learn More opportunities
  • Supplemental reference materials

After completing all course activities, you will complete a brief assessment to demonstrate your understanding of key course concepts. Upon successful completion of the assessment, you will be awarded a certificate of completion.

Course Chapters

  • Research in Wilderness
  • Compliance Requirements
  • Evaluation Framework
  • Step 1: Initial Review Filter
  • Step 2: Quality of Proposal Filter
  • Step 3: Legal & Policy Filter
  • Step 4: Benefits & Impacts Filter
  • Recommendation
  • Case Study
  • Summary & Key Points

Be able to:

  • Explain how paleontological research is compatible with wilderness management.
  • Use the Evaluation Framework to evaluate a proposal for scientific activity.
  • Identify “red flags” in a proposal.
  • Evaluate the quality of a proposal.
  • Determine if proposed research is wilderness dependent.
  • Complete a Benefits Assessment.
  • Complete an Impacts Assessment.

Recommended Background

Without foundational knowledge of the Wilderness Act, you will not be able to get the most out of this course and could find the content confusing. All participants must successfully complete the following free e-courses before beginning this course:

It is strongly recommended that you also complete the Inventory and Monitoring of Paleontological Resources in Wilderness e-course. The Wilderness Act of 1964, Minimum Requirements Analysis, and other e-courses can be found at provalenslearning.com.


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