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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)

BREAKING NEWS (posted March 18): We recently learned that the airport in Bangor, Maine, will be closed from Monday through Wednesday during the week of our workshop due to runway maintenance. We have come up with some new travel advice — see text in red below.

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 (8:30–noon):  identification of key challenges and key capacity building needs – both internationally and in NPS;

Afternoon (1:00–4:30) – discussion of potential opportunities for NPS and partners to address the shared challenges and capacity building needs.

Evening (time TBD) — Get-together


Wednesday, May 15 – Morning (8:30–noon): continue discussion of potential opportunities for NPS and partners to address these shared challenges and capacity building needs;

Afternoon (1:00–5:00) – visit Acadia National Park to see first hand some case studies of topics discussed


Thursday, May 16 (8:30–noon)– Morning: hear from other Maine conservation organizations on how they are addressing some of the issues raised;

Afternoon (1:00–4:30) : discussion of mechanisms to deliver capacity building program, funding opportunities; next steps


Friday, May 17 – Morning (9:00–10:00): continue discussion on mechanisms to deliver, next steps, (some) participants depart for home;

Late morning / 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 US city, Boston, Massachusetts, is about 5 hours (280 mi / 450 km).

POSTED MARCH 18: A significant complication has arisen in our plans for participants to travel to workshop. The problem affects participants who plan to fly to the workshop.  It was announced last week that the airport in Bangor, Maine (airport code BGR), will be closed for runway upgrades all day Monday, May 13; all day Tuesday, May 14, and Wednesday May 15 through 3:00pm (as well as additional dates & times outside of our workshop week).   Press release dated March 12 here:


We originally planned to have participants fly to BGR on Monday, May 13.  While that is no longer possible, the good news is that BGR will be open as normal on Friday, May 17, which is our planned departure date.


This complicates our arrival logistics, but we have come up with a couple of alternatives.


  1. If your schedule allows you to arrive on Sunday, May 12, you can still fly to BGR on that date.  We’ve arranged additional accommodations for that night at the workshop venue, the Schoodic Institute, which will be available to you at no charge.  We will provide transportation from BGR to Schoodic on the 12th.  This will give you a free day on Monday, May 13.  The Schoodic Institute is part of Acadia National Park (see the Schoodic map at so under this alternative you would have time to explore this part of the national park.  You can still book your departure from BGR on Friday, May 17 (transport to BGR provided) — just as we originally planned.  This is our preferred alternative, so if at all possible please plan to come on Sunday.

  2. If you are unable to arrive on Sunday and must instead arrive on Monday, May 13, the next closest airport is Portland, Maine (airport code PWM).  PWM is the largest airport in Maine and has more flights than BGR.  It is a 3-hour drive from PWM to the workshop venue at the Schoodic Institute.  If you choose this alternative, we will provide transportation from PWM on Monday, May 13.  This will be in the form of a single run from PWM to Schoodic on May 13.  The timing  will be determined by what is most convenient for the majority of passengers who opt for this alternative (you might have to wait several hours at PWM).  You would then schedule your outbound travel out of BGR (not PWM) on May 17.  This means you would be booking two one-way flights.  Please do not schedule your return flight from BGR earlier than 10:30 am on May 17 (an afternoon departure time is even better).


If, for whatever reason, you want to fly to the workshop and then rent a car, you are most welcome to do that, but be advised that the rental car will be at your expense. Please make your travel arrangements and then register for the workshop by submitting the webform below.

Who's paying, and how?

  • USNPS participants: The agency will be paying for all your travel, lodging, and meals. For your lodging and meals onsite at Schoodic, the Institute will prepare an invoice and send it in advance. You can then pay onsite or immediately after the training.

  • Non-USNPS participants: All of your travel, lodging, and meals will be paid by the workshop organizers. Your lodging and meals onsite at Schoodic wil be prepaid for you; all your other expenses will be reimbursed by the workshop organizers. Please save your receipts; we will need copies before we can reimburse you.



For all participants, 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 partake of the following meals as a group (in the 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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