Fellows go on a kayak trip during the Fellowship program.—Greg Martindale, 2014 Fellow


Fellowship training and experience

The Fellowship provides the opportunity to learn and apply principles and practices to improve how practitioners interpret and respond to complex environmental conservation problems.


Cultivating Leadership: Tools and Strategies
Exercising leadership in the context of environmental conservation requires learning to deal with complexity, uncertainty, ambiguity, paradoxes, and change. Throughout the month, Fellows become familiar with a set of tools and frameworks to help them exercise leadership at the individual, organizational, and systems levels. They learn key principles and practices used in the Adaptive LeadershipTM framework as well as explore their strengths and talents using Gallup’s strengths-based approaches.

Market-based Conservation Strategies
The starting point of the course is the basic question of “why” market tools. Why, philosophically and practically, can market-based tools best solve some conservation problems (but not all)? Next is the “what” of market tools. What parts of economic theory and practice can be used by conservationists? Sessions cover the basics of supply/demand, economic valuation, and what economic and statistical tools can be used to further conservation goals.

Most of the Fellowship program, however, will focus on the “how” of market tools. Most conservation professionals now accept that the philosophical and mechanical logic of market tools has practical value, so how are market tools actually performing? Practitioners from around the world will discuss a series of case studies, using inductive reasoning to help Fellows glean lessons that can be applied to their own work. They will learn how market tools have been used in protected areas, watersheds, and coastal fisheries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia; how these tools do and don’t work in the field; and how to apply the lessons learned to their projects.

The final question that is addressed is how to “mainstream” ideas. Changing the world can only happen if projects can be brought to scale: by growing them and turning them into a government policy or standard business practice. Fellows will look beyond the training to figure out how to repeat and scale up their successes, and learn from their failures.


Individual and Group Projects
Fellows are expected to bring a project to the program that they can develop further during their month in residence. The project should represent an activity from their current work, or an initiative to develop in the near future. It can be something that is being worked on as an individual or collaboratively. It is expected that the project will advance conservation goals through the use of market-based tools.

The focus of much of the session work is on developing the project and ideas, particularly in the mutually supportive peer-learning activities scheduled throughout the program. In consultation with the program director, Fellows may change or adapt their projects described in the application and/or develop an alternative project individually or with other Fellows.

Fellows are required to present their projects and advance their thinking about their projects at two points during the program. Each Fellow presents preliminary ideas in a Project Workshop to peers and a faculty member. This format allows for in-depth discussion in small groups. During the final week of the program, each Fellow presents a 25-minute formal summary of the project and the work that has been completed to advance it. The presentation is delivered to an audience of Fellows, Faculty, Advisory Council members, and other guests of the program.

Field Trips
During the month, Fellows will participate in organized field trips such as a group kayaking expedition in Larrabee State Park, whale watching at the Harbor in the San Juan Islands, and a trip to explore the stunning North Cascades National Park. The North Cascades field trip takes Fellows to the Environmental Learning Center of the North Cascades Institute, a world-renowned environmental education center and ideal base for experiencing the majestic scenery and biodiversity of the North Cascades ecosystem.


Fellows receive a copy of each of the following books during program registration:

The Practice of Adaptive Leadership
Ronald A. Heifetz, Marty Linsky and Alexander Grashow
Harvard Business Press, 2009

StrengthsFinder 2.0
Tom Rath
Gallup Press, 2007

View the 2019 Fellows Program Book.