COVID-19 Accommodations

During this time, we know that maintenance, monitoring, education and other conservation activities may be challenging, or even impossible. 

Questions about the impact of COVID-19 on projects were added to the Conservation Certification application in 2020. If project continuity (management and monitoring, education efforts, etc.) has been disrupted by the pandemic, please detail the impacts in your answers. All information provided will be considered in the review. Applications will be evaluated based on work that was done outside of the impacted time period. 

Due to the ongoing impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, beginning in 2021, additional accommodations will be made for applicants who have been unable to maintain any projects to the standard that is required for Conservation Certification. Applicants whose programs include habitat and/or species projects who describe significant impacts to their program that have prevented them from implementing aspects of their projects during the entirety of their certification period can still apply. Applicants must include all possible information for their projects as well as a description of the Covid-19 impacts. While the application will be reviewed using the standard criteria, if no projects meet the criteria to be qualifying, the program will still be recognized (with a note about the special circumstances, a program score of zero and a tier of Certified). 

For education projects, if no education has occurred during the certification term there will be no information to include in the application (whereas impacted habitat and species projects should still provide value and have information related to the ongoing impacts). Therefore, education projects that have not had any education activities during the certification term should not be submitted. Such projects will not be evaluated by reviewers and will not qualify a program to receive certification. Programs with only education projects are strongly encouraged to consider virtual learning events as a means of engaging learners during this challenging time, and to maintain certification.

Note: The base requirements for WHC Certification remain the same. If, because of pandemic interruptions, you have a new program with less than a full year’s worth of monitoring for a habitat or species project, please consult us before applying. Programs that have at least one project that enables the program to achieve certification (either traditionally or under the Covid-19 accommodations) are not eligible for appeal. In keeping with existing appeal policies, only programs that would otherwise not be certified can submit an appeal. 
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