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Many organizations have internship programs. The Aldo Leopold Foundation has the Future Leaders Program. This program supports fellows at career stages ranging from collegiate to post-graduate to mid-career. Regardless of their stage, all fellows receive a life-enriching learning experience framed by Aldo Leopold’s call for a respectful relationship between people and land.
Associate fellowships are designed to provide individuals who have recently completed their undergraduate degree the opportunity to gain experience and grow in seven core areas: conservation leadership, finance and fundraising, applied science and natural history, partnership building, strategic planning, communication, and land ethics. Each of these areas is addressed through a professional development series and applied on-the-job experiences that allow for exploration of each topic and time for each fellow to practice and apply these key elements of leadership. Fellows specialize within one of two program areas, Education & Communication or Land Stewardship, but receive exposure to other program areas and organization wide efforts.
Land stewardship fellowships have been the core of the Future Leaders Program. These fellows see the land through an entire field season and participate in the full suite of foundation programs, including prescribed burning and invasive species control.
An example is Steffan Freeman. Building on his fellowship, Freeman went on to posts with The Nature Conservancy and Institute for Ecosystem Studies before joining the Jackson Hole Land Trust in 2007. Currently he serves as the trust’s Land Steward, monitoring over 25,000 acres of privately protected land in Jackson Hole and the Greater Yellowstone Area.
Fellows in education, communication, and outreach have supported onsite programming ever since we built the Leopold Center in 2007. These fellows welcome and orient visitors, lead tours of the Shack, and help organize community events and programs throughout the year.
After his education and outreach fellowship, Gregory Hitch went on to a PhD program in American Studies at Brown University. He is currently researching the cultural impacts of climate change on indigenous people and communities, indigenous food movements, and American environmental history.
Seasonal fellowships are designed to provide college students pursuing careers in conservation the opportunity to gain practical skills in ecological restoration and management, or education and outreach. Creating additional fellowships through our Future Leaders Campaign will attract new talent to the conservation movement.
A recent seasonal fellow was Uriel Lee. A native of Los Angeles and a student at New York University majoring in environmental policy, Uriel had never participated in conservation field work before her seasonal fellowship with the foundation. The six weeks she spent working in the fields, forests, and wetlands around the Leopold Center gave her a new appreciation for land stewardship. At this time, no seasonal fellowships are planned for 2020.
Visiting fellowships have been a regular but more opportunistic experience in the history of the foundation. Formalizing and expanding these fellowships through the foundation’s Future Leaders Campaign will enrich the Future Leaders Program by creating new opportunities for networking and mentoring.
Ufuk Özdağ is a past visiting fellow who spent two months with the Leopold Foundation while on sabbatical from her professorship at Hacettepe University in Turkey. The experience inspired her to translate Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac into Turkish, and Dr. Özdağ has since returned on several occasions to work with foundation staff on projects. She also established the Land Ethic Research and Application Center at Hacettepe University that is advancing Leopold’s land ethic in Turkey.
Interested in a fellowship? Check our employment page.