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International Capacity Building Workshop

May 13–17, 2024

Schoodic Institute, Acadia NP, Maine, USA

Co-organized by US National Park Service Office of International Affairs & George Wright Society
(By invitation only)

We look forward to seeing you at the workshop!  Read on for more information, make your travel arrangements, and then use the form below to Register. PLEASE REGISTER BY APRIL 15.

What and why? USNPS and GWS are organizing a facilitated 3.5-day workshop to identify the key learning and training needs of protected area managers and develop a draft proposal for new capacity building programs, hosted in the US by USNPS and international partners.  Relevant staff from USNPS, Canada, Australia, and other countries as well as experts from academia and non-governmental organizations will be invited to participate.


Objectives of the workshop include:


  • Identify the key current and potential future challenges and opportunities facing park managers and select several to focus on for international collaboration (likely to include climate change, biodiversity loss, working with Indigenous communities, visitor management and others)

  • Identify the key capacity building needs of protected area managers across the globe to address those challenges

  • Identify and discuss particular areas of USNPS expertise that could help meet those capacity needs and what international community can bring to support USNPS staff

  • Develop a draft detailed plan for next steps in the development of a new international training initiative, co-led by USNPS and partner organizations

  • Explore options in Maine and elsewhere in New England to highlight protected area challenges and innovative approaches

  • Creating a platform for continued dialogue and planning on the new international initiative


When? May 13–17, 2024


Who? A roster of 36 invitees representing capacity building expertise from various parts of the world.


Where? The Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park, Maine, USA — on the Traditional Territory of the Wabakani Confederacy (Waponahki).


What's in store?

Note: the following program outline will be further developed with input from Facilitators and others. In the run-up to the workshop, participants will have been asked to do some preparatory work — ranking priority issues for capacity building and exchanges; suggesting other case studies, organizations and individuals who could help in this effort, etc.


Monday, May 13:  participants arrive, check in; possible group dinner


Tuesday, May 14 – Morning:  identification of key challenges and key capacity building needs – both internationally and in NPS;

Afternoon – discussion of potential opportunities for NPS and partners to address the shared challenges and capacity building needs;

Evening — Get-together


Wednesday, May 15 – Morning: continue discussion of potential opportunities for NPS and partners to address these shared challenges and capacity building needs;

Afternoon – visit Acadia National Park to see first hand some case studies of topics discussed


Thursday, May 16 – Morning: hear from other Maine conservation organizations on how they are addressing some of the issues raised;

Afternoon: discussion of mechanisms to deliver capacity building program, funding opportunities; next steps


Friday, May 17 – Morning: continue discussion on mechanisms to deliver, next steps, (some) participants depart for home;

Afternoon:  remaining participants depart

Getting to the workshop

The Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park is located on the Atlantic Coast in Maine. Driving time from the nearest major city, Boston, Massachusetts, is about 5 hours (280 mi / 450 km).


For those flying to the workshop, the nearest large airport is Bangor International (BGR) at Bangor, Maine, about an hour's drive away. There are about 10 flights per day into/out of Bangor, connecting to New York City (both JFK and Laguardia airports), Newark (NJ), Philadelphia, and Washington, DC (National Airport).

We will provide transfers via van to and from BGR.  IMPORTANT: To make these transfers workable, please DO NOT schedule outbound flights departing BGR earlier than 10:30am.  In fact, if at all possible please try to schedule both your arrival to and departure from BGR between 10:30 am and 6:00pm.

It is also possible to fly from Boston (via small prop plane) to the Hancock County / Bar Harbor Airport, which is closer but still a 35-minute drive. We will also provide transfers from BHB.  Whether arriving at BGR or BHB, be advised that you might have to wait a couple of hours for your van pickup. 


If you prefer to fly and then rent your own car (car rental would be at your own expense), several companies serve BGR and two serve BHB.



We have lodging reserved for you at the Schoodic Institute the nights of Monday, May 13 through Thursday, May 16 inclusive. Lodging is in the form of two-bedroom apartments with a shared bath, kitchen, and living room. We will assign you an apartment-mate.


We will provide the following meals (eating as group in Schooner Commons dining hall): breakfast: Tuesday, May 14 through Friday, May 17 inclusive; lunch: Tuesday May 14 through Thursday, May 16 inclusive; dinner: May 14 through Thursday, May 16 inclusive. The Schoodic Institute provides the following information:

Dietary needs: We are able to confidently accommodate special diets for those requiring gluten-free, dairy-free or vegetarian meals. We have ideas for those with other dietary restrictions or food allergies, however, for your safety, and because we do not have a licensed dietitian on staff, we have had to limit the special meals to the three listed above. Premade, retail, vegan meals will be available at an additional cost, but must be requested and paid for in advance of your visit. To make this request, please email

If you have a restricted diet other than vegetarian, gluten-free or dairy-free, we recommend you bring food with you to supplement your meals. All of our lodging includes the option for refrigeration.


All attendees must register — please fill out the form below.

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