One of the most critical jobs of a land conservation organization, especially one that is in the business of perpetual land stewardship, is to ensure a connection to the next generation. To address this need, Colorado Open Lands created the Conservation Leadership Series.
Each year, the Conservation Leadership Series engages a group of young professionals to learn about the issues and complexities of land and water conservation. This program simultaneously educates and inspires a new generation of conservation champions while providing Colorado Open Lands with an invaluable connection to our state’s emerging leadership.
Participants receive first-hand experience of land conservation through a mix of landowner and stakeholder interactions and land-based excursions scheduled over the course of a full year. It is our hope that participants gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for land conservation in Colorado and incorporate what they learn into their professional and personal lives to cultivate a strong conservation ethic across Colorado.
To date, we have graduated 41 rising civic, business and philanthropic leaders from the program.
There is no better evaluation of the impact of the Conservation Leadership Series program than one written by first-year participant Emily Orbanbeck as she described her experience:
“While many kids not raised in the outdoors develop a sense of value of the land, especially in a state like Colorado, that sense does not always translate to an understanding of how the land impacts our quality of life, or why conservation is important. Colorado Open Lands’ Conservation Leadership Series is changing that paradigm by engaging young leaders from across all sectors – business, tech, law, real estate, finance – and showing them how the land enriches their lives.
Building a land and conservation ethic in the next generation of business and political leaders is critical for the future success of a state with an economy rooted in land-based activities like agriculture and outdoor recreation. Colorado Open Lands is meeting that challenge, bringing future leaders together to build a foundation of understanding and a deep love of the land that will last for generations, and ensure that Colorado will continue to be a place where people come to experience the outdoors through exploration and adventure, forever.”
For more information on how to get involved or support this program, contact Alyssa Acosta at AAcosta[at]coloradoopenlands.org.