CCE Blogs & Resources
To create and maintain informed conservation professionals as to the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.
Key Topics of Wildlife Law
The North American Model
of Wildlife Conservation
The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation is the world's most successful system of policies and laws to restore and safeguard fish and wildlife and their habitats through sound science and active management. The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies formally endorsed the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation at its 100-year anniversary meeting in September 2002 in Big Sky, Montana.
The Public Trust Doctrine
With its origins in Roman civil law, the PTD is an essential element of North American wildlife law. The Doctrine establishes a trustee relationship of government to hold & manage wildlife, fish, and waterways for the benefit of the resources and the public. Fundamental to the concept is the notion that natural resources are deemed universally important in the lives of people, and that the public should have an opportunity to access these resources for purposes that traditionally include fishing, hunting, and trapping.
Animal Rights v. Animal Welfare
The Animal Rights movement seeks to give animals “legal personhood,” allowing animals to sue in a court of law on behalf of their interests. The movement believes that animals are not ours to use for food, clothing, entertainment, or experimentation. However, in the United States, animals are classified as property in accordance with the law; often differing between personal property and as a public trust resource.
Constitutional Right to Hunt & Fish
Americans’ rights to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife have long been an American heritage prior to the European colonization of North America. Although the right to hunt is not in the Constitution of the United States of America (“the Constitution”), the Tenth Amendment states “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved by it for the States, or the people.” Meaning that the right to constitutionalize hunting, fishing, and the take of wildlife has been bestowed to the individual states.
The Conservation Law
The enormity of the Center for Conservation Excellence’s value on the conservation industry combined with the urgent need to see rapid success for such a venture has led the management team to embrace a modern flywheel model. The goal of the flywheel is to create momentum that continues to build on itself through the creation of an increasingly educated legal workforce. These inspired professionals help to continuously accelerate the program’s progress toward national influence by educating others and fueling the machine toward an informed conservation public and profession.
The Center instructs on key concepts of conservation law to strengthen the professional conservation community, preparing them to contribute in their fields in line with the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, public trust stewardship in state wildlife management, and beyond.
Why legal conservation education is desperately needed today.
There have been few programs and projects undertaken to create awareness for wildlife law and policy with the mission of protecting Americans’ rights to hunt and fish. Though strong in intention, the scalability has been challenging when addressing this need for protecting modern conservation efforts, hunting heritage, and wildlife law. Additionally, the animal rights movement has been at large since the early 2000s and special interest groups are pushing their agenda of "legal personhood" for animals at an alarming and well-funded rate.
With support from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, National Wild Turkey Federation, National Rifle Association’s Hunter Leadership Forum, and more, the Center is standing up to threats against modern conservation efforts and creating better access and quality of conservation and wildlife law education in America's law colleges.
What is the Purpose of the Center for Conservation Excellence?
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Where we are & where we’re going.
While the Center currently offers courses in a handful of law schools and is continuously offering Continuing Legal Education seminars across the country, we won’t settle with good enough! The Center continues to place more courses and seminars, as well as connect more students and graduates with state agencies, non-profit organizations, and other conservation positions.
The long-term goal of the Center for Conservation Excellence is to see Wildlife Law and Conservation Law available across America's law colleges and elevate our education opportunities to reach audiences before, during, and after their education, maintaining their knowledge of the North American Model, Public Trust, Federal Authority, State Management of Wildlife, Constitutional Right to Hunt, and more throughout their careers.