There are two main logistical components to the program, the virtual synchronous and asynchronous portion of the program and the U.S. site visit portion of the program. The virtual portion of the program will be developed and implemented with our online learning platform called Thinkific and through the use of Zoom, WhatsApp, and social media platforms. This will all be explained via email and in our introductory sessions.
The second component of the program is more complicated logistically, as it requires acquiring a visa and preparing for travel to the U.S. during the 17-day September site visit. The remaining logistical details are concerning the U.S. site visit.
The cost for participating in this program is covered by the U.S. Forest Service International Programs if you are selected. Once selected, your U.S. Forest Service program sponsorship includes international airfare, ground transportation from Denver to Fort Collins at the beginning of the seminar, van transportation throughout the seminar, and transportation to the Jackson, Wyoming airport or back to Fort Collins, Colorado at the end of the seminar. Also included is the tuition for the program, insurance (health and accident), food and lodging during the site visit, a certificate of completion, a digital library on tourism and protected areas, and ongoing community support, including mentor support for your project implementation.
*Note that the emergency accident insurance provided during the U.S. site visit requires payment of a co-pay and deductible, meaning you might be responsible for some out-of-pocket costs if you require medical attention while in the U.S.
There are no additional costs for continuing to participate in the Community of Learning and Practice. Participants may continue to be as actively involved as they would like for as long as the community continues to operate.
During the first few days of the U.S. site visit in Fort Collins, Colorado, participants are housed in a hotel next to the university. After we leave Fort Collins, we will stay in several different hotels along the site visit route. Some will be quite simple; however, in several cases, we will stay in famous lodges managed by private concessionaires within protected areas. It is important to note that in some smaller hotels, we will be required to share a room with another participant of the same gender.
Because of the intensive schedule, participants have little free time during the site visit. Generally, our days start around 8:00 or 9:00 a.m. and can go as late as 19:00 to 21:00.
Please plan accordingly by not committing to completing outside work during the site visit, as well as notifying loved ones that you will likely be able to contact them in the mornings and evenings. You may come early or stay additional time in the U.S.A. after the site visit for personal travel if it is within the terms of your U.S. visa. If you choose to do so, you will be responsible for covering all additional expenses during your extended stay. The Center cannot guarantee accommodations or transportation in these cases. Because of the mobile nature of the site visit and limited seating you are not allowed to bring any friends or family members with you during the visit. However, there have been cases where family or friends of participants have come to Fort Collins or Jackson at the end of the site visit to join participants on personal trips with these friends or relatives.
Some meals, both in Fort Collins and during the site visit, will be provided by the course and enjoyed together with other course participants and staff. For occasions where participants are responsible for paying for their own meals, the program will provide each participant with a modest stipend to cover these costs. The site visit agenda will indicate which meals will be covered directly by the program and which meals participants will be responsible for purchasing with their meal stipend. Please note, that while Fort Collins does have a variety of cuisines and high-quality restaurants to choose from, most of our course will be spent in rural areas and remote towns where food quality and options are limited.
This information, requested in the online application form, enables program staff to be able to provide a positive experience for all participants during the site visit. We ask everyone to provide us with complete information about their health conditions, medications taken, and dietary restrictions accurately. This information will allow us to accommodate dietary restrictions and respond to participant needs adequately. If you have any health conditions or dietary restrictions that you did not disclose in the online application form, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know ahead of the U.S. site visit so that the program team can make the appropriate logistical preparations, especially regarding food.
Each participant will be provided with health insurance during their participation in the U.S. site visit. This insurance is for emergencies only and is not for routine medical care.
We will always carry a first aid kit during the U.S. site visit that includes basic supplies (bandages, thermometers, creams) along with simple over-the-counter medicines. However, it is difficult and often costly for individuals who are not U.S. citizens or residents to buy prescription medication in the U.S.A. In addition, it is not possible to purchase this medication without first having an appointment with a local doctor to obtain a prescription as the pharmacy will not accept foreign prescriptions. Please bring enough pills of any prescription medicine you use for at least 18 days.
Internal transportation within your country to the port of departure to the U.S.A. and international air transportation to and from the U.S.A. is the responsibility of the participants or their institutions. Participants must arrive at the Denver, Colorado International Airport and leave from Jackson Hole, Wyoming airport (JAC) or Denver, Colorado to return to their countries. More information on specific dates will be provided closer to the U.S. site visit.
For participants who will arrive at Denver International Airport on the day before the U.S. site visit starts, program staff will meet them at the airport and provide ground transportation from the airport to the hotel in Fort Collins. Participants will receive a document that will explain airport pickup details from program staff before they travel. For participants who will leave from Jackson Hole, the course will provide ground transportation from the hotel to the airport. Participants who plan to fly out of Denver will be able to accompany program staff in the CSU vans for the return trip to Fort Collins. The course will arrange ground transportation from Fort Collins to Denver International Airport. However, participants leaving from Denver will be responsible for the additional cost of an extra night’s stay in a hotel or hostel. Participants who plan to arrive earlier or leave later than the dates indicated (arriving the day before the U.S. site visit begins, departing the day after the U.S. site visit ends) will be responsible for their own transportation to the airport in Colorado and/or Jackson Hole.
During the U.S. site visit, participants will travel in three 15-passenger vans driven by our staff. Thirteen days of the course will be dedicated to travel and site visits. As a result, participants will spend some considerable time in the vans, especially on select travel days when we move on to our next destination.
It is recommended that each participant bring about $250 to fund personal expenses such as phone calls, your portion of the deductible and co-pay for health insurance for any medical services rendered while in the U.S.A., souvenirs, toiletries, gifts, and personal items you might wish to buy. If you would like to bring additional funds for rain gear, cold weather clothing, or hiking boots, such items can be purchased in Fort Collins during the initial days of the seminar.
Please note that you do not need to get per diem from your donor or sponsor for the time you will spend in the U.S.A. as all meals (reasonably priced), ground transportation costs, coffee breaks, and lodging costs will be covered by U.S. Forest Service unless you plan on spending additional work-related time in the U.S.A. or must stay overnight in route to or from the seminar.
Participants will be identified by the U.S. Forest Service International Programs. If you participate with U.S. Forest Service on programs in your country and are interested in this program, please express your interest to the U.S. Forest Service country program representative. Once you have been selected to participate in the program, you will be provided with an online form to fill out.
Participants will be selected by the U.S. Forest Service International Programs. This information will be provided to CSU approximately 2 weeks prior to the program start in early December. Our period of open recruitment and selection is from early September to mid-November each year.
For course applicants, it is not necessary to have your passport and visa when you start the virtual portion of the program. If you are accepted to the program, you will have time to get your passport. In addition, our staff will help guide you through the visa process if needed.
Once accepted to the program, you will need to work on acquiring your visa and passport immediately. Please note that depending on your country, the time required to get an appointment at the U.S. consulate and to order a passport issued by your home country might take several months. It is important not to procrastinate! There are currently longer waits than normal with the visa process due to COVID-19, with consulates being backed up from many visa requests and being understaffed.
For more information on visas, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions section of this website. Please note that our program cannot guarantee authorization of a visa. The visa process is run by the Consulate office and while we can send a letter of support explaining your participation in this program, we cannot guarantee you will be authorized a visa. If you do not receive a visa, you can still participate in the virtual portion of the program.
The U.S. site visit requires that all participants have basic field gear for the trip to ensure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable time. While we will not be making visits to the backcountry (remote portion of protected areas), we will be going to field sites where good rain gear, warm sweaters, a jacket, hiking boots, hats, gloves, sunglasses, sunblock, flashlight, and other basic field equipment will enable a safe and comfortable visit. Given the timing of the seminar, we will likely experience both warm and cold weather. It is possible we will encounter some rain and perhaps even some snow at high altitudes.
Having said that, the autumn weather in the Western U.S. is usually quite enjoyable, and with the changing color of leaves on the trees, the season can be spectacular. We must stress the importance of having appropriate field equipment to be comfortable and safe in these different climates. Dressing in layers is recommended as the weather can change quickly. Dress in the Western U.S. in general is informal. Men will not need ties or jackets. We do recommend that everyone bring one nice set of clothing for the closing ceremony and one or two dinners in more formal settings. This can be typical clothing if you commonly wear it in your country at similar events.
In addition to having appropriate clothing and equipment to be safe and comfortable during our field visits, each participant should bring their personal effects (clothes, toiletries, etc.) and the items listed below. After arriving in Fort Collins for the U.S. site visit, staff can help you choose the right equipment and clothing for both the U.S. site visit and that will be useful back home. We make a trip to stores in Fort Collins at the beginning of the seminar to help you achieve this. We also recommend you bring posters, brochures, and other items that illustrate the protected area system in your country and tourism destinations and protected areas where you work to share with your colleagues.
- Good hiking boots
- Tennis shoes
- Raincoats (waterproof jacket and pants)
- Warm sweater
- Warm socks
- Warm hat*
- 1 to 2 pairs of shorts
- Hat or cap for the sun
- Sunblock (best to buy in Colorado)
- Insect repellent (best to buy in Colorado)
- Small flashlight or headlamp with batteries
- Binoculars (optional but recommended, you can buy them in Fort Collins)
- Camera (optional but recommended, you can buy in Fort Collins)
Note: Items with a ‘*’ indicates equipment we can lend out to participants. If you are unable to obtain these items before coming to the U.S., we will distribute marked items in the list at the beginning of the Site Visit.
If you lack any of the items listed above, we recommend that you buy them after arriving in Fort Collins, as it will mean fewer pieces of luggage for you to bring. Most airlines now charge for bags. You should make sure that your bags do not weigh more than 22 kilograms or 50 pounds, or you will be charged extra by the airline. Please verify baggage restrictions with your airline. Note that after we leave Fort Collins, we will not be visiting any other large cities, so if you plan on purchasing laptops, binoculars, cameras, other electronics, etc., we recommend you do so while in Fort Collins. We have planned a specific evening for this shopping trip soon after you arrive. You will encounter souvenir shops in many of the parks and reserves we visit. Please note, we are traveling in small vans. There will be no space for participants to bring along bulky purchases such as televisions, bicycles, or similar items. Your only chance to buy larger items to take back to your home will be at the end of the site visit immediately before returning home, either in Jackson or Fort Collins.
This U.S. site visit is mobile, meaning that we are on the move throughout the entire trip and never in one place for more than a few nights. This makes it difficult to find time to wash clothes. Most hotels we stay in have coin-operated washers and dryers. We provide the participants with more information about opportunities to wash clothes upon your arrival in Fort Collins. That said, we suggest you bring enough clothes for at least 6-7 days, in case you are only able to wash clothes 2 times during the site visit.
Before the U.S. site visit begins, we will hold a pre-site visit webinar online. The pre-site visit webinar is designed to provide participants with an opportunity to ask any additional questions they may have, helping them better prepare for their time overseas.