Community Conservation Learning Journey

for land trusts and the foundations that support them


 The Community Conservation Learning Journey is sponsored by Peter Forbes and Danyelle O'Hara and begins in January, 2015. Participating organizations represent all regions of our country and include Vermont Land Trust, Big Sur Land Trust, Western Reserve Conservancy, Cacapon and Lost Rivers Land Trust, Little Traverse Conservancy, and the Land Trust Alliance.

Goal: to create a professional community of conservationists committed to learning together how to strengthen conservation by connecting it more to community.  To nurture stronger communities and foster a broader land ethic through reconnecting people, nature and community.  How do we enter this work and, once in it, keep it sustained? What is the spectrum of success and failure, thus far?  What are the skills and competencies required to do this well?  What are the organizational changes required?  A decade into the millennium, many thoughtful conservationists are wrestling with two questions:  how do we move beyond saving individual places to create a broader community ethic toward land and nature, and what will it take to conserve what we love for 100 years, 500 years, and 1000 years?  And many conservationists are reaching a similar set of answers:  nature and healthy places cannot be protected over the long term by laws alone but more so through relationships: relationships between people and place, between ecology and economy, and between different kinds of people. 

Here's the full invitation for the Community Conservation Learning Journey


Touching the Land

for individuals working for the health of land, nature and place

2013 and 2016

You're are a mentor to some, and an apprentice to others.  You are a teacher, a parent, a leader. You've already achieved much within your life and with your commitment to serve others.  You have much more to do. Something inside you longs for more.  Breathing space. New ideas. Different perspectives.  You are searching for a pathway to continue to be successful and to bring more positive social benefit through your lifework. Nothing may be more important at critical moments in our professional and personal lives then to go on a journey of discovery. 

I offer a learning journey called Touching the Land which begins in September of 2013 and 2016. These are co-creations where the participants and I design a program that uniquely fits their needs and aspirations.

In the journey thus far I have learned much about the land, about relationships, about service and leadership, about personal creativity and visioning. And I’ve learned much about when to step forward and when to step back. 

I’ve developed some skill at finding purpose in a new terrain, seeing the patterns and resolving a new course.  I have walked in the hot glare of the sun and attention, and I’ve also felt the healing benefits of moonlight. I’ve asked permission to be in a place. I’ve learned how to have difficult conversations with myself and others.  Growing up amidst alluring and dangerous stories, I found a song for my soul and some ways to share it.

I believe that re-invention is innovation, and the source of our strength is the people and places we know the best.  I want to introduce you to them.  I want to create the context where we can explore together what it means to serve, to be in relationship, to carry a vision, to share a rich and meaningful life connected to place and to others. 

Touching the Land includes an orientation and debriefs retreat at Knoll Farm, 3 trips together out into the world, all grounded in these three experiences:

  • A true experience of each other in reciprocal mentorship
  • A direct experience of the land
  • Time with the people who have most shaped me in the places that have most shaped them

Here's the full invitation for Touching the Land