Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are my responsibilities during the Seminar?
We would like you to be prepared to reflect on protected area management in your own country. We offer an opportunity for each participant to give a ten minute introduction to the group. Participants are invited to include the following information in their introduction: their work responsibilities, the organization or area in which they work, and a brief introduction to the major challenges in their protected area as well as a success story. We encourage participants to bring photographs (on a flash drive or CD) that illustrate the issues you would like to discuss, since images can provide valuable insight into the context in which your protected areas operate. In addition, it would be helpful if you could bring a brief fact sheet, perhaps one or two pages, about the types of protected areas and their administration within your government. This way, you can distribute this fact sheet to the other participants, and devote most of your time to discussing issues in your country’s protected areas or other relevant topics you would like to share with us.
The introduction is designed to offer a beginning to an ongoing conversation between participants, staff, and guest speakers about protected area management issues. Throughout the Seminar, participants are encouraged to discuss major protected area management issues, challenges, and success stories from their home countries. For informal events in the Seminar you may wish to bring some digital photographs or DVDs of some of the protected areas in your country. We typically arrange evening shows to learn more about each of our countries. It is not necessary for you to bring a laptop or ipad computer, however, you may certainly do so and many past participants have enjoyed having the use of their own laptop or ipad during the Seminar.
What type of weather can I expect and what clothing should I bring while I'm in Montana?
What countries do the participants come from?
Will I receive per diem or an allowance?
Will there be time for shopping?
Will I have access to the Internet / e-mail?
Will I have cellular phone access?
How can I make affordable long distance calls from Montana to my home country?
What type of accommodations and food arrangements have been made?
We will spend most nights in furnished hotels. During most of the seminar, participants will share accommodation (2 participants, 2 beds, one room). The group will spend three nights at a remote ranger station, where some of the participants will be staying in tents. While camping equipment will be provided for the ranger station visit, participants will be expected to wear clothing appropriate for outdoor terrain.
Once you arrive in Washington, DC and Montana for the Seminar, we have made all the arrangements for your food and lodging for the duration of the program. We recognize that people have different dietary needs, so we have made sure there are menu options for each meal.
What type of physical activity is required?
What are the steps and deadlines for applying to and attending the Seminar?
- STEP 1: Secure financial sponsor to attend ISPAM. Review details of the Seminar on the website.
- STEP 2: Submit seminar application to seminar coordinator. Deadline to submit application is April 1.
- STEP 3: The Seminar Coordinator will confirm financial sponsorship for participation in the Seminar. The Seminar Coordinator will review your application and if accepted, will send you a formal letter of acceptance and invitation to the Seminar. The Seminar Coordinator will send you several important documents outlining important information for the Seminar. It is your responsibility to review them carefully and be familiar with the details contained within these documents.
- STEP 4: Request J-1 visa from Seminar Coordinator or procure other type of US visa independently. Also, acquire any needed transit visas that may be required. Inform the Seminar Coordinator of your visa status, visa interview date, and results of visa interview. It is important that you check and respond to your e-mail regularly (at least once a week) so that you can be advised of important Seminar information.
- STEP 5: Purchase airline tickets and send the Seminar Coordinator a detailed flight itinerary. *If you are sponsored by the USDA Forest Service International Programs, submit Flight Booking Form to the Seminar Coordinator. Deadline to submit Flight Booking Form is June 1.
- STEP 6: Fly to Washington, DC and attend the International Seminar on Protected Area Management!