Four Online Courses Help Train Environmental Professionals to be Better Communicators

March 10, 2014

Tim Lucas, 919-613-8084,

March 11, 2014

DURHAM, N.C. – From policy memos and public outreach to blog posts and interpretive signs, communications is a vital part of an environmental program.

The Duke Environmental Leadership (DEL) Executive Education program offers four online courses that help environmental professionals master the marketing, writing, editing, social media, and planning skills needed to communicate like a pro.

Each of the non-degree courses can be taken on its own, with no required prerequisite. Students who complete all four courses earn a Certificate in Environmental Communications. The courses each last about six weeks and require one hour of online class time per week, plus assigned readings and coursework. Students can earn a certificate within one calendar year.

The four courses are:

• “Social Media for Environmental Communications,” April 7 - May16. Learn how to use blogs, Facebook, Twitter and other social media to create a buzz-worthy communications campaign that builds public awareness of research, conservation and educational programming. Andrew Thaler, who blogs about science at and received a PhD in marine science and conservation from Duke in 2012, is lead instructor. Cost is $1,000 if you register by March 17 or $1,075 after that.

• “Writing for Environmental Professionals,” June 2 - July 11. Learn the fundamentals of clear, persuasive writing, including: organization; writing for relevance; how to cite sources; incorporating feedback; brainstorming to overcome writer’s block; and how to improve word flow. Nicolette Cagle, an instructor at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment leads the course. Cost is $1,000 if you register before May 12 or $1,075 after that.

• “Environmental Communications Planning,” Sept. 22 - Oct. 31. Learn how to craft a comprehensive communications plan that promotes your organization and its work to key external and internal audiences. Topics include how to craft clear, concise, relevant messages; identify audiences; deliver targeted communications; and measure results. Rebecca Vidra, a lecturer at the Nicholas School, leads the course. Cost is $1,000 if you register before Sept. 1 or $1,075 after that

• “Environmental Communication for Behavior Change,” 2015 dates and costs TBA. This course provides a nuts-and-bolts introduction to social marketing and other communication strategies and tools that can lead to behavior change on environmental issues. Brian A. Day, an expert on social marketing, leads the course.

To learn more about the courses or register, go to To learn about the Certificate in Environmental Communications, go to