Developing leadership at the watershed community level for environmental protection and restoration

J. M. Willingham, G. M. Powell, D. W. Kahl

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


The Kansas Environmental Leadership Program (KELP) was developed in response to a need for leadership in communities to bring about protection and improvement in Kansas's water quality. KELP teaches the latest in leadership theory and basic water environment knowledge so citizens can lead environmental change in their communities. Five 3-day sessions each in a different location are spaced over 10 months. Each session includes field trips, group activities, and speakers related to leadership, watersheds, surface and groundwater protection, and other water issues. An important aspect of the experiential learning atmosphere is participants' diverse backgrounds, experiences, ages, professions, interests, and attitudes toward water. To date, five classes with 107 graduates have been completed. Graduates are applying the principles learned in their communities, employment, families, and volunteer service in Kansas. We have incorporated an applied leadership project (ALP) patterned after college capstone courses. This application experience involves individuals defining a local issue that they present to their group. The group chooses a project, formulates a vision, and develops a preliminary plan, which they present to the class. Teams are formed that finalize the project plan with objectives and tasks and prepare a funding grant proposal. Each team works to complete the project by the end of class. This local applied leadership project experience gives class members an opportunity to practice leadership principles with teammates in a supportive learning environment. Graduates return to their communities with expanded leadership skills, more complete environmental knowledge, and a manual of resources and information.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 2004
EventASAE Annual International Meeting 2004 - Ottawa, ON, Canada
Duration: Aug 1 2004Aug 4 2004


ConferenceASAE Annual International Meeting 2004
CityOttawa, ON


  • Applied leadership project
  • Capstone course
  • Leadership
  • Leadership training
  • TMDL
  • Water quality
  • Water quality management
  • Water quality protection
  • Watershed
  • Watershed management
  • Watershed planning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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