Transforming Conservation

For thirty years, I held a space within the conservation movement for a certain conversation to happen: encouraging its values and challenging its histories,  strengthening it by making it more inclusive of different worldviews, making it more about relationships between people and between people and nature.

I co-create, design and lead learning experiences  for citizen leaders and career professionals who aspire to strengthen conservation by making it more inclusive and by connecting it to other efforts for change. My approach to learning favors experience over presentation and emphasizes modeling of ideas. These workshops are highly interactive and geared toward experiencing the questions and practicing the answers, rather than presentation of ideas. 

Almost every workshop I do begins by me interviewing participants to ensure that the curriculum design meets them where they are and helps to take them where they need to go in their journey.

The themes that most often are covered include:

How is our nation evolving demographically, culturally, politically, what does this ask of conservation?

How do different generations define conservation and what does that mean for our work?

Who is visible and less visible to us in our community and how does that affect our mission and capacity?

What is the historic role that land has played in creating privilege in our region and what does this ask of us as we aspire to be in service to more and different people?

How are groups evolving the practice of conservation through improving food systems, childhood education, water resiliency, renewable energy, meaningful work, and social justice?

What are principles of relationship-building that might yield the most durable and successful relationships between conservation and human wellbeing?

What is the role of story in helping us to ally to one another? How does our story put up walls or help to take walls down?

“I am grateful to you for co-facilitating such a heart-full, energizing and thought-provoking series of days. Beyond affirming that the community conservation path is the one we want and need to be on and beyond the strong and welcome sense of alignment that emerged between board and staff, it has been so much fun to come back to the office this week and hear how staff are already connecting the dots – making those small tweaks to reach a different audience, collect information differently, and problem-solve in new ways.” -Sarah Hale Krull, Maine Coast Heritage Trust

Transforming Conservation Examples

  • National Parks Conservation Association



    Making justice, equity, diversity and inclusion part of the DNA of a conservation organization.

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  • River Network



    Setting Strong Intention for Organizational Change On Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

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  • Negotiating Generational Change


    Juneau, Alaska

    The work of conserving places and communities is never-ending and ever-changing. It’s a bigger “project” than timelines and strategic plans can hope to convey. It’s longer than board terms, congressional cycles, and political careers. It is longer even then individual human lives.

    When a mission lasts decades and decades, how does an organization evolve its definitions of what conservation means to be relevant to the present? How does an organization negotiate its meaning and values between generations? When does one generation’s strength and force of understanding the past make it hard for the next generation to look squarely and honestly at the present? How does one generation, on fire with purpose and vision, allow the next generation to see the world through their own eyes?

    In the winter and spring of 2015, I had the honor of collaborating with the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (SEACC) to help them grapple with these questions and formulate a new theory of change that reflects a new generation’s approach and meaning.

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  • Connecting Native and Contemporary Land Trust Leaders


    Western United States

    In collaboration with Barry Lopez, with Center for Whole Communities, with the Native Land Trust Alliance, I had the honor of helping to create and sustain a dialogue that had not before existed before between Native and contemporary (non-Native) land trust leaders in the western United States. The purpose was to strengthen relationships between the two and to identify opportunities for more collaboration. I saw, too, the significant opportunity for this dialogue to further redefine and re-invent conservation as protecting human diversity alongside biological diversity.

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  • Integrating Conservation and Human Wellbeing


    State of Maine

    What does it take for a leading, state-wide philanthropy to combine their separate grant-making in conservation and human wellbeing?  Why would they do this? What does it ask of their grantees? What do they hope success will look like?

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  • Making Allies Between Conservationists and Rural Native Communities

    November 3-6, 2014

    Sitka, Alaska

    The Sustainable Southeast Partnership is the most inspiring, well thought out and longterm commitments I've seen to bring conservation and community together to create something new and powerful for all.  It is a decade long commitment of partnership between Native corporations, rural Native communities, enviromental and community development groups who are learning the practice of longterm collaboration and partnership to create a different future for their home...

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Other Types of Facilitation I Offer