Green Capacity--building human and intellectual capital for a biologically sustainable future.

Students learning to take birds from nets

Tree Kangaroo

Muse Opiang with captured echidna

Raising Awareness

Palm Fruits


uon arses

Our Programs

Green Capacity was born from direct observation by Board Members of unmet needs in the conservation communities of Developing Nations, especially Papua New Guinea. We believe that experts from afar cannot drive conservation effectively and therefore conservation and sustainable development cannot occur without an indigenous scientific community to drive it. Until the indigenous national community of scientists have the knowledge and skills they need to develop their own efforts, the efforts of foreign experts, no matter how well intentioned, are unlikely to achieve lasting success. Green Capacity sees this as a root cause for the failure of decades of conservation efforts by many large conservation organizations. These efforts have not adequately built the national expertise to sustain conservation interventions. Green Capacity believes that only after a nation attains a certain level of scientific expertise and sophistication can it begin to use science to guide its planning and management in a culturally effective way. Our programs are designed to address these root failures of international conservation over the past decades.

Green Capacity's founders have all been heavily involved in the education of Papua New Guinea biologists (please see our bios). Our programs arise from over two decades of work sponsored by a variety of donors and organizations, mostly in Papua New Guinea. During this time we trained PNG nationals to conduct biological research and to act as superlative role models for other PNG biologists and multiply their own ranks through training efforts. In 2008 we joined our former students as equal colleagues and together formed the Papua New Guinea Institute of Biological Research, a PNG-based non-profit. Green Capacity and PNGIBR work together on shared programs involving research, training and outreach.


We have aided in the planning, funding, and analysis of PNGIBR's research projects and act as a partner and advisor on these projects (please see for project details). We also write proposals to lead research projects in PNG, with PNGIBR as a local partner.


 We partner with PNGIBR to teach courses and mentor PNG graduate students under the following categories:

  • Field Courses: Most struggling universities in underdeveloped nations do not have funds to support field courses for students. Yet field courses are essential to build the necessary skills of biologists. Field research is not a discipline that can be learned solely from a book or online. Biologists need hands-on training to find and identify plants and animals, to learn how to make specimens or sample a population under field conditions and to record natural history parameters. Only in the field with a mentor can students learn how to conduct their own research and become fully qualified biologists. Green Capacity sees field courses as a crucial component in the transition from student to professional biologist. Board members have conducted many field courses over the years and have seen their benefits.
  •  Training Workshops: Certain specialized skills can be taught in relatively short workshops. But often universities in target nations do not have adequate faculty to cover key topics or they lack equipment, time or funding. Workshops can cover many things from using GPS units, to statistical analyses of data. Board members have run public speaking and data analysis courses, among many other short courses for specific audiences in need of specialized training.
  •  Mentored Field Research: Learning skills and seeing them used takes a student only so far. Top students need to engage in their own research before they can become self-sufficient world class conservationists and scientists. Biological and ecological field research is complex and time-consuming. Proper learning requires a strong interaction and transfer of skills from a mentor to apprentice. Unlike students in the US and other developed nations, students in target nations do not grow up in an environment where research is common. Often target nation university students reach graduation without ever having done a real research project. They may not have designed an experiment, collected data, analyzed data or written a research report. These many skills need to be acquired. Green Capacity supports close one-on-one mentoring as top students are funded by and guided through research projects by PNGIBR and GC staff and board members. These projects typically result in an Honors degree from the University of PNG and prepare students to become competent and independent scientists.
  •  Mentoring and Education through university enrollment: We help exceptional students to apply for scholarships and enrollment at top international universities outside the target nation. With proper training prior to enrollment, as outlined above, graduates from target nations are able to thrive in postgraduate programs overseas that they might otherwise struggle in. The extraordinary experience of an international graduate degree prepares students to return home and become leaders in their country's conservation movement.


Through locally appropriate media, national scientists can communicate their science to relevant parties. This can be in the form of meetings and reports with top government officials, or presentations at the village level or in rural schools. Green Capacity and PNGBIR train their students how to become effective communicators and support their staff and student's outreach work.


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