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Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation Facilities and Program Fact Sheet

  • The previous training dorms at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal, Va., comprised 16 rooms and could house up to 20 undergraduate and graduate students and professionals at any one time. The new living facility, designed with cooperation from SCBI and George Mason University, can house up to six times as many students and features 60 rooms with double occupancy.
  • The new facility features an academic center, complete with three teaching laboratories, four classrooms and 18 offices that provide workspaces for students, faculty, teaching assistants and support staff. The new facility features a dining facility and patio, both with stunning views of Shenandoah National Park, and is available for hosting special events. The living quarters, including the 60 double occupancy rooms, also have an exercise facility and study space for the convenience of those staying and participating in the conservation studies program.
  • SCBI and Mason broke ground on the project on June 29, 2011 and welcomed the first batch of students at the beginning of the Fall 2012 semester. The new complex serves the growing need for global conservation training and also serves the local community. In addition to collegiate- and professional-level courses, certificates and degrees, SCBI and Mason offer numerous workshops and community-based training courses, as well as host a number of events for other organizations.
  • All of the buildings in the new complex were built to LEED Gold Standard and includes features such as geothermal energy, green roofs, a rain garden, wildlife-friendly landscaping requiring no irrigation, and low-flow fixtures reducing the amount of water used on the project. In addition to these features, the area is a “walking campus,” with parking available only around the outer edges of the facility. These features are designed to help the SCBI Front Royal community live more sustainably, advancing SCBI’s mission and goals through example.
  • The Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation invites undergraduate students from any university studying biological, wildlife, environmental and ecology sciences to apply for a number of curricula it offers, including the Smithsonian-Mason Undergraduate Semesters in Conservation Studies, hosted at SCBI in Front Royal, Va., for 16 credit hours. The interdisciplinary program is also open to students with other academic backgrounds—including journalism, economics and business—who want to learn more about conservation biology. The program offers experiential learning opportunities in a research setting that allows students to live and work alongside researchers, resource managers and scientists for a semester that is just as immersive as any study abroad program.
  • The program offers intensive short courses for graduate students and professionals on a wide-variety of topics, ranging from conflict resolution to wildlife monitoring techniques. Graduate students and professionals who take a defined series of these courses can obtain a certificate in applied conservation.
  • SCBI and Mason are developing new programs in partnership with a wide variety of organizations and agencies.
  • For more information, contact SCBItraining@si.edu and visit http://SMConservation.gmu.edu.

The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute plays a key role in the Smithsonian’s global efforts to understand and conserve species and train future generations of conservationists.

Headquartered in Front Royal, Va., SCBI facilitates and promotes research programs based at Front Royal, the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., and at field research stations and training sites worldwide.

George Mason University is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with global distinction in a range of academic fields. Located in Northern Virginia near Washington, D.C., Mason provides students access to diverse cultural experiences and the most sought-after internships and employers in the country. Mason offers strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering and information technology, organizational psychology, health care and visual and performing arts. With Mason professors conducting groundbreaking research in areas such as climate change, public policy and the biosciences, George Mason University is a leading example of the modern, public university. George Mason University—Where Innovation Is Tradition.