David Wilsey

Director, MDP Program
livelihood systems; market systems; natural resources; program design and development; sustainable development; strategic planning

Dave Wilsey has 20 years of experience in trans-disciplinary, sustainable development that includes academic and Extension program leadership, teaching and training at the postgraduate and community levels, academic research, and deeply engaged, community-based program design, development, and evaluation. His research and practice focus on development of integrated natural resource conservation and livelihood programs, generally focusing on forest- and farm-based livelihood systems. A particular interest is the role of non-timber forest products in food and livelihood systems, and in the development of market-based interventions to support livelihood and lifestyle goals.

Wilsey joined the Master of Development Practice (MDP) program in 2013 as the program coordinator and a lecturer. Prior to joining the program, he spent five years as an associate Extension professor and educator with the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resources Sciences. His Extension work focused on three themes: natural resource-based livelihood systems, non-timber forest products, and cross-cultural program development.

Although Wilsey was situated within the forestry program area, his work regularly crossed boundaries and he established productive collaborations with the small-farms team, community vitality and economics, family resource management, and the American Indian leadership team, of which he was an active member.

Though his interests are broad ranging, over the course of his career Wilsey has primarily worked with forest-based and forest-oriented groups in the Americas: in Minnesota, several states in Mexico, Guatemala, and Ecuador. The opportunity to expand this portfolio to include other themes and regions is one of the great privileges of working with the MDP program.

Selected Writings

Wilsey, D.S., G. Galloway, G. Scharffenberger, C. Reid, K. Brown, N. Miller, K. Snyder, and L. Swatuk (2019). The Masters of Development Practice (MDP): Reflections on an Adaptive and Collaborative Program Strategy to Develop Integrative Leaders in Sustainable Development. In Kremers, K.L., A.S. Leipens and A.M. York (Eds.): Developing Change Agents. University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing. 

Butler, M., E. Gering, and D.S. Wilsey. (2017). Guiding Local Tourism Entrepreneurs Interested in Ecotourism: A Tool for Extension FacilitatorsJournal of Extension, Article 16266TOT.

Wilsey, D.S., and S. Dover. (2014). Personal Food System Mapping. Journal of Extension 52(6), Article 6IAW5.

Wilsey, D.S., & Miedtke, J.M. (2013). The Minnesota Harvester Handbook (1st ed.). .Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Extension.

Wilsey, D.S., & Hildebrand, P.E. (2010). Chamaedorea Palm Frond Commercialization and Certification Considered from a Smallholder Livelihood System Perspective. Journal of Small-Scale Forestry, 10(1), 14. DOI: 10.1007/s11842-010-9131-1

Wilsey, D.S., & Beaulieu, S. (2010). We listen to them: assessing natural resource perspectives and priorities in a Tribal communityJournal of Extension, 48(5).

Wilsey, D.S., & Nelson, K.C. (2008). Conceptualizing multiple non-timber forest product harvest and harvesting motivations among balsam bough pickers in northern Minnesota. Society and Natural Resources, 21(9), 812-827.

Wilsey, D.S., & Radachowsky, J. (2007). Keeping NTFPs in the forest: can certification provide an alternative to intensive cultivation? Ethnobotany Research and Applications, 5(1), 45-58.

In The Media

This story highlights a collaboration led by Dave Wilsey, director of the Master of Development Practice program, with Urban Growler craft brewery to make beer from Guatemalan  ramón nuts as a way to raise awareness of global sustainability. 

Star Tribune
January 9, 2019

This story looks at the efforts of Dave Wilsey, director of the Master of Development Practice program, and his students who partnered with a Minneapolis craft brewery to make a special brew using the Ramón nut, which is native to Central America, South America and the Caribbean. 

The Growler magazine
April 20, 2018