Have you heard? The Aldo Leopold Foundation’s Future Leaders Program is expanding to help provide training and field experience to more young conservation professionals than ever before! This year, the historically 9-month program is expanding to host four fellows on a year-long track that integrates hands-on experiences with a unique professional development curriculum. The 2019-2020 cohort will join the team in June and consist of two Education and Communication Fellows and two Land Stewardship Fellows.
In addition to creating a longer-term, higher-impact experience for our fellows, this new June to June fellowship schedule has enabled the foundation to train even more young professionals by taking on a limited-term cohort of Prescribed Fire Technicians this spring. During their experience here, these technicians will gain the training, skills, and confidence they need to utilize prescribed fire as a dynamic land management tool in the shadow of one of the world’s most esteemed conservationists. They will also have the opportunities to attend a series of professional development trainings, learn about native plant communities and landscapes, and assist with a variety of stewardship projects across the Aldo Leopold Foundation lands and Leopold-Pine Island Important Bird Area.
Please help us welcome the bright young professionals who are helping steward the land this spring: Colin, Selvio, and Nathaniel! (pictured above from left to right)
Colin is from the state of Virginia and has enjoyed a deep interest in wildlife and the great outdoors from a young age. Four years ago, he discovered a passion for hunting which dovetailed into learning about land and wildlife management, especially whitetail deer, longleaf pine restoration, prescribed fire, and forestry. Colin attended the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation during his undergraduate career and completed a Seasonal Land Stewardship Fellowship with the Aldo Leopold Foundation this past summer. In regards to his experience in the Future Leaders Program, Colin says “the fellowship exceeded my expectations in every measure,” inspiring him to return to Leopold Country again, this time to care for the land as a Prescribed Fire Technician.
Sevio is from Chicago, Illinois, and grew up loving the outdoors and camping with his family. After high school, he spent a year serving with AmeriCorps where he had the opportunity to work on conservation projects throughout the country. During this experience, Selvio discovered his calling and found a meaningful career path he wanted to pursue. For the past year, he has been working at a nonprofit called Friends of the Forest Preserves to restore habitat for the Forest Preserve District of Cook County. Selvio is interested in the use of fire for restorative purposes and has a goal to join a hotshot crew in the future. In his personal time, he loves hiking, backpacking, photography, making art, playing a handful of instruments, and making music.
Nate is from Northern Georgia and is a recent graduate from the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Georgia. He is interested in the fields of wildland fire, herpetology and wildlife law enforcement and is still trying to find his niche for researching and managing the natural places he has come to love. Throughout his life, Nate has always been drawn outdoors, whether it was for hiking, hunting, canoeing or climbing, but on rainy days he’s found he can tear through a good book or movie. In 2020, Nate plans to be training either as a Georgia Game Warden or a Type 2 wildland firefighter, and he is using this year to experiment with different jobs to get a feel for what these careers are like. Nate is very proud of the field that he’s chosen and is looking forward to having a great burn season with his colleagues at the Aldo Leopold Foundation.