Envirovet Summer Institute

Overview of the Envirovet Summer Institute



Our Vision is active, cohesive, impassioned and effective multidisciplinary teams of health and environmental professionals working together to ensure the sustainability of animals, humans and ecosystems.

Our Mission is to educate, inform, engage and inspire veterinarians of all backgrounds and nationalities to become integral members of teams protecting animal, human and ecosystem health in the one living world we share.

We Achieve our Goals by:

  • Training current and future veterinarians in all aspects of wildlife and ecosystem health through 8-week immersion style summer courses;
  • Ensuring that Envirovet participants have a global understanding of the challenges and solutions at hand by training veterinarians and veterinary students from around the world side by side;
  • Partnering with the world's leading experts and  institutions to provide Envirovet participants with real-world, hands-on learning;
  • Exporting our methodologies and perspectives to other part of the world by facilitating the establishment of regional Envirovet programs.

Our Approach is to hasten exploration, understanding, and conservation of the living resources on Earth by applying the practical and solution-oriented perspective of medicine to ecosystem health challenges.

Our Role is to demonstrate and inspire effective partnerships among veterinarians and all other health and environment-related disciplines that address current and emerging ecosystem health issues.

Envirovet embraces this vision and is committed to orienting the future of our enterprise to support this remarkable endeavor.



Each participant will be linked to cutting-edge leaders in a wide variety of relevant disciplines. A strong emphasis will be placed on collaborations to restore self-sustaining wildlife populations by addressing issues where natural areas interface with areas devoted to agriculture, forestry, mining, urban development, and other forms of human enterprise.

The Envirovet Summer Institute is divided into two sessions. The first session is entitled "Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife and Ecosystem Health Issues and Techniques for the Developed World With Outreach to Developing Countries." Components of this session will take place in Florida and Georgia. The second session is entitled "Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife and Ecosystem Health Issues and Techniques for the Developing World" and will take place in Tanzania.


The first two sessions of Envirovet Summer Institute provide about 5 weeks of intensive lecture, laboratory and field experiences related to understanding wildlife health in the context of overall ecosystem health. The University of California-Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine, Wildlife Health Center and The University of Illinois Department of Veterinary Biosciences plan and administer this first session of Envirovet Summer Institute.

Topics of emphasis include: terrestrial and aquatic ecology, population biology, epidemiology, infectious and toxicologic diseases of terrestrial and aquatic wildlife, wildlife immobilization, mapping, environmental laws including those related to wildlife conservation and environmental pollution, conservation strategies (e.g., ecotourism, Endangered Species Act litigation, habitat restoration), translocation medicine, conservation genetics, theriogenology, communication skills, advocacy and grantsmanship. Students are introduced to field and laboratory techniques including wildlife capture and immobilization, necropsies and sample collection, telemetry, and using global positioning systems (GPS) and geographical information systems (GIS). Each lecture, laboratory or field exercise will be led by one or more highly-regarded experts, skilled in teaching, who is involved in the a subject area on a daily basis as part of their regular jobs. In this way, students gain first-hand knowledge of the myriad ways in which they can play a significant role on ecosystem health teams.

The first session is approximately two weeks, and is held at White Oak Conservation Center, near Jacksonville, Florida, which is supported by the Howard Gilman Foundation. Veterinarians and other experts, primarily from North America, provide instruction on largely terrestrial topics. A range of political, economic and sociologic factors that influence ecosystem stewardship are addressed. In addition to classroom and laboratory sessions at White Oak, students spend time on St. Catherine's Island (Midway, Georgia) applying various field techniques to examine and support the health of the unique ecosystem and species of this barrier island. Envirovet participants interact and assist with programs of St. Catherine's Island Center.

The second sessoin is about three weeks, and is hosted at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute (HBOI), located on the Indian River Lagoon, one of the most biologically diverse estuaries in North America. HBOI is comprised of state-of-the-art oceanographic, aquacultural, biomedical, and environmental research facilities as well as a full-service conference facility with on-site housing for visiting faculty members and graduate students. Students learn techniques for ecological assessment and interact with species ranging from invertebrates to fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds and marine mammals. The Institute is a center of excellence for deep-sea exploration and offers vessels and labs needed for ecosystem and aquatic animal health assessments.

The developing country component of the Envirovet Summer Institute is likely to be held again in Tanzania, including the mainland and Zanzibar, involves Envirovet participants in wildlife and ecosystem health issues through lectures by local experts, field-based activities with developing country professionals currently working to address regional challenges, immersion in ongoing research projects, and interacting “on the ground” with team members in local communities where coordinated research, education, and intervention are conducted.  Professionals of the University of California-Davis Wildlife Health Center, Wildlife Conservation Center, Sokoine University Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and Tanzania National Parks teach Envirovet students about a wide range of aims, including control of wildlife diseases, prevention of highly pathogenic avian influenza from taking hold, improving local human economic wellbeing, enhancing food security, protection against waterborne diseases, and protection of terrestrial and aquatic animals and ecosystems.  The participants learn how globally aware wildlife and ecosystem health professionals solve problems in diverse cultural contexts. They deal with and gain understanding of the conditions and constraints relevant to addressing health and conservation issues in developing countries. They also understand how to develop a professional network of colleagues and exchange ideas in a mutually supportive environment.
The Tanzania session has five themes: 1) Health and Conservation at the Wildlife-Livestock-Human Interface, 2) Challenges with Diagnosis, Surveillance and Control of Zoonotic and Emerging Infectious Diseases in Developing Countries (with special focus on Avian Influenza and Zoonotic Tuberculosis), 3) Wildlife Health and Conservation Challenges in Protected Areas, 4) Health and Conservation Policy at the National and Global Level, and 5) Threats to Tropical Fresh Water and Marine Ecosystems. Presentations and field-based activities in Mikumi and Ruaha National Parks, the community based Pawaga-Idodi Wildlife Management Area near Ruaha, Sokoine University of Agriculture in Morogoro, and the Institute for Marine Studies in Zanzibar will emphasize these concepts.

Each Envirovet Summer Institute features a large number of superb teachers and role models. All faculty are hand-picked, based on established expertise and career productivity, to bring essential real world perspectives and commitment to students. Their specialties range from biomedical and ecological sciences, to policy, law, economics, ecotourism, game ranching, agriculture, aquaculture, engineering, and sustainable development. They represent career possibilities from academia to industry, consultancies, non-governmental organizations, and governmental agencies. They offer knowledge, techniques, and especially mentoring to the students. Envirovet provides immersion-like experiences for its participants, who put in 60 to 80 contact hours per week throughout the Summer Institutes.

Envirovet groups develop their own dynamic cohesion within a very few days, and remain close thereafter. Moreover, to be among the Envirovet alumni of any year creates a mutual understanding of the opportunities and responsibilities at hand. Envirovet participants act on these, investing their lives in improving the conditions of wildlife, domestic animals, and human beings.

Envirovet Summer Institute is comprehensive, addressing terrestrial and aquatic wildlife. It will retain the proven unique intensive approach of earlier Envirovet Summer Institutes. All applicants accepted into the Summer Institute should plan to devote abundant energy to the instruction and experiences provided

With the leadership of former Summer Institute participants and other partnering experts and organizations, Envirovet organizers are also working to prioritize environmental education research and ecological rehabilitation on continents around the world.

Eligibility and Course Fee

Eligibility for participation in Envirovet Summer Institutes requires a statement regarding commitment to a career in wildlife and ecosystem health, as well as at least one year of veterinary school or an advanced degree in a relevant discipline, including a defined animal health component.

The non-refundable course fee, which includes room and board as well as round trip airfare from the U.S. to the overseas location, is anticpated to remain at $7,500 for veterinarians, postdoctoral trainees, and students currently enrolled in veterinary or graduate school. Students are responsible for their round-trip travel to White Oak Conservation Center in Yulee, Florida, and Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in Fort Pierce, Florida. Applicants from developing countries may apply for a fee waiver based on economic need and record of promise in the wildlife/environmental field. It is essential for such individuals to seek funding to offset the travel costs, as well as part or all of the course fee.

The $7,500 course fee is a challenge to some very worthy applicants. However, it covers only a part of the program's investment in each student. The Actual expenditures per student total at least $14,000 and, in addition, the program receives a great deal of in-kind support from White Oak Conservation Center and our stallar faculty.

With some time and patience, you may find one or more sources willing to pay a portion of the Envirovet course fee. Below are ideas and links to resources that may be helpful if you plan to search for outside funds.

Check local environmental groups for small scholarships and grants. In some instances, local groups such as the "Friends of the Local Forest/Bog/Prairie" distribute small scholarships that may defray a portion of the Envirovet course fee. Check local listings, and click here to search for organizations in the United States.

Many universities and colleges provide scholarships and/or search engines for granting agencies free of charge, so try checking with the financial aid office of our alma mater. Also, Ward Allebach's article " The Environmental Scholarship Guide" at EnviroEducation.com can provide additional ideas.

Go to The North American Association for Environmental Education's website. They have a keyword-driven grant search function for multiple foundations and other institutions.

A major goal of Envirovet is to build an international corps of environmental practioners, researchers, planners, and stewards. Applicants from developing countries are encouraged to apply. We realize that the tuition burden on some such applicants is particularly difficult, and, in some cases, the Envirovet program is able to offer a fee waiver. Many resourceful participants from developing countries have helped pay for a portion of the Envirovet course fee and travel costs through independent funding sources. Below are some possibilities for such applicants to explore.

The Ford Foundation International Fellowships Program provides funding to scholars from a select group of developing countries. Eligibility criteria, fields of study, and deadlines differ by country. To learn more about their program, click here and select your country from the panel provided to see if the Ford Foundation funds environmental or conservation education for your country.

The World Wildlife Fund's Education for Nature Program (WWF-EFN) provides grants for especially capable wildlife specialists likely to benefit from Envirovet Summer Institute. Individuals from developing countries who wish to be considered for such a waiver should apply to Envirovet through our website and fill out the fee waiver portion of the Envirovet application. Envirovet works with WWF-EFN in selecting applicants to be supported. WWF-EFN also has a search engine for other funding opportunities specifically for conservationists from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Click here to go to this search engine.


For further information on the Envirovet Program, please email: kvgilardi@ucdavis.edu.

Please send correspondence to:

Kirsten Gilardi, DVM, DACZM
Director, Envirovet Terrestrial
Wildlife Health Center
School of Veterinary Medicine
University of California, Davis
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616-8739

Phone: 530-752-4896
Fax: 530-752-3318
E-mail: kvgilardi@ucdavis.edu