About the Program

In 2020, the Western Conservation Leadership Development Program was established after program founders and their staff recognized that national and other leadership programs were not able to meet the growing demand for conservation training.

Based on a needs assessment completed by western conservation agencies, it was determined that there was a shared interest in beginning the work of addressing the significant gap in access to professional development to support a changing agency workforce; prepare staff moving from mid-career positions to senior authority roles; and develop leadership capacities for teams working at all scales to collaborate on complex conservation challenges, especially conservation embedded with conflict. With ingenuity, responsiveness, and a willingness to experiment, the founders launched this inspiring program.

The WCLDP is guided by an Oversight Board composed of private landowners, state fish and wildlife agencies, federal agencies, corporate partners, and non-governmental organizations. Our fiscal agent is the WYldlife Fund.

Our Mission

The mission of the Western Conservation Leadership Development Program is: to build leadership capacity for a diversity of partners to implement landscape conservation for the future.

Western Conservation Leadership Development Program
Western Conservation Leadership Development Program

Program Design

The program is composed of independent courses collectively designed to provide western conservationists with the adaptive and pragmatic capacities and skills to more effectively engage in acts of leadership–regardless of title or tenure.

Upon completing our courses, participants acquire a greater awareness of their own behaviors and practices, as well as see the conservation system with a different lens. The intended outcome is that conservationists will have greater clarity on the complexity of western challenges before them and how to intervene within a larger system. They will have mastered how they respond to such situations using new behaviors and knowledge to influence others and to inform and/or make decisions.

For those interested in understanding how this program differs from other programs:

Three key elements set this program apart in design and delivery. First, western conservation challenges are the focal point in the work of leadership development. Second, by including participants from different agencies, organizations, disciplines, backgrounds, and geographic locations throughout the West, the course fosters diversity and inclusivity, collaborative thinking, and partnerships. Third, our courses are designed by western conservationists and a community of practice that collectively represent years of expertise and experience both in conservation and the work of leadership, resulting in leadership development that meets people where they are.

While this program has a foundation in adaptive leadership and work, we are in the process of building additional courses in partnership with leadership innovators and will be experimenting with new training opportunities in the near future.

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