Conservation leadership series


An Opportunity to Learn and lead

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 (CLS). Every year, CLS engages a cohort of approximately 20 early- to mid-career professionals from diverse industries in a nine-month, immersive educational experience that weaves together a series of briefings, field experiences, and networking opportunities. The goal of the program is for graduates to integrate their learning into their professional and personal lives, ultimately cultivating a strong conservation ethic across the state. It 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.

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2024 Program Information

The Conservation Leadership Series has grown immensely since its inception in 2017. As such, we will be implementing an application process for the 2024 program. Each year, we welcome approximately 20 individuals into the cohort. For full details on the application process and the events planned for the year, please read the linked documents below.

2024 Program Overview
See detailed information!

2024 Calendar of Events
View the booklet!

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To express interest in the program for 2025 or beyond, please submit your information here and we will be in contact with more information as it becomes available.

Hear from program alumni!

Since 2017, 73 emerging leaders from a variety of professional occupations have graduated from the Conservation Leadership Series! There is no better way to learn about the impact of the Conservation Leadership Series than from past participants.  Read on to hear about their experience:

“­The Conservation Leadership Series (CLS for short) has been a mind-blowing learning opportunity completely unique to COL and has laid the framework for my understanding of the vast world of conservation. I have learned more on a single CLS visit than I learn at a whole conference thanks to this amazing program and the incredibly talented staff at COL! I went into this program with an inkling of knowledge and now I have the ability to confidently educate others about conservation and spread the word about the cutting-edge work that COL is leading. COL is at the forefront of keeping Colorado beautiful, wild, and awe-inspiring for generations to enjoy forever!”  – Ray Winn (2023 participant) 

“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.”  – Emily Orbanek (2017 participant)

Questions? Contact Yvonne Schramm at or 303.988.2373 ext. 223.

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Ray Winn, 2023 Participant