Aldo Leopold was revered for his teaching style and the deep love and respect for nature he fostered in his students, colleagues, and family through his hands-on, field-based approach to learning.
To ensure this legacy lives on, the Leopold Foundation has launched the Future Leaders Campaign to expand the Future Leaders Program and cultivate the next generation of conservation leadership.
The Leopold Foundation’s Future Leaders Program supports fellows at different career stages. These fellows are our future leaders in action.
Seasonal Fellows are college students who gain practical skills in ecological restoration or environmental education and outreach.
Associate Fellows are recent college graduates seeking leadership training and experience in land stewardship, or education and outreach, before taking the next step in their careers.
Visiting Fellows include academics on sabbatical and conservation professionals who want to rekindle their passion. The may spend months at the foundation, studying Leopold’s life and work, and exploring ways to advance his land ethic.
Regardless of their career stage, all fellows receive a life-enriching experience framed by Leopold’s call to care for people, the land, and the connections between them. They also gain the tangible skills needed to carry this ethic forward into their work and communities.
The field of conservation is challenged today by an aging workforce, a younger generation of potential talent that is increasingly disconnected from the land, and a lack of racial and ethnic diversity.
By strategically expanding its Future Leaders Program through this campaign, the foundation aims to build a more robust, diverse, and inclusive conservation community for meeting our most pressing conservation challenges.
Landowners Herb Paaren and Denise Marino first interacted with the foundation’s Future Leaders Program in 2003, when they were assisted by a group of stewardship fellows with prescribed burning and restoration efforts on their property.
After watching more than 30 fellows grow in experience and confidence through the program since then, the pair has generously pledged $1 million to launch the Future Leaders Campaign.
Completed in 2018, the Future Leaders Center is a LEED-certified multi-use building just steps away from the Leopold Center. It includes housing for up to 10 fellows, a greenhouse, and additional work and meeting space for the foundation.