This October, the Conservation Leadership through Learning Master’s Program completed its sixth year of training students in the ‘Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation,’ thanks to the Colorado chapter of The Nature Conservancy.

For the past six years, representatives from The Colorado Nature Conservancy have worked with Conservation Leadership students to prepare them for future careers in conservation. Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation is a planning framework used by organizations across the globe to effectively plan and manage for biodiversity conservation priorities, as well as human wellbeing objectives.

The training week kicks off with a field trip to TNC’s Phantom Canyon Preserve to understand conservation challenges and successes in Northern Colorado. TNC then hosts a two-day workshop to train the students in the Open Standards framework. Students work in small groups to develop mock management plans and strategies that are shared with the TNC representatives.

group work group work

Students have not only completed this assignment, they have applied this framework to Capstone Projects and in their careers! Examples of students and alumni implementing this framework include:

  • Two groups of students completing protected area management plans in Belize for their Capstone Project requirement
  • A group of students creating a communication plan for a conservation organization in northern Chile for their Capstone Project requirement
  • An alumna leading efforts to develop a management plan for jaguar conservation in Mexico as part of her career
  • An alumna participating in Monarch Butterfly conservation planning in her position with the US Fish and Wildlife Service

Thanks to this collaboration with TNC, there are now over 100 conservation leaders prepared to take on conservation challenges with effective management strategies.

Written by Terra Sampson