Fifteen students and young professionals came to join the 2021 ALPINE Summer Institute from institutions and organizations across New England, as well as Oregon, Montana, and Puerto Rico . This was ALPINE’s fifth year offering the program and its second virtual Institute. It featured eight Zoom sessions from June through August.

2021 ALPINE Summer Institute Participants
ALPINE Summer Institute 2021 Participants

The ALPINE Summer Institute is designed to enable undergraduate students, graduate students, and early-career professionals to learn more about the theory and practice of large land conservation.

“To our delight, we had the most experienced and diverse group to date,” said Marianne Jorgenson, ALPINE Program Manager, who credits the change to the elimination of an internship requirement. “We had four TerraCorp members who were all working for land trusts and young professionals working at the New England Forestry Foundation, the Berkshire Natural Resource Council, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Network for Landscape Conservation, and the Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico.”

Student participants came from Rhode Island Community College, Middlebury College, Oregon State University, and the University of Hawaii Manoa. Read more about the Summer Institute participants here, and their final essays here.

The first five Zoom sessions featured large landscape projects at a local scale (the North Quabbin Regional Partnership in central Massachusetts), a regional scale (the Cold Hollow to Canada carbon project in Vermont and Quebec), and a national scale (the TNC Site Wind Right Initiative in Kansas and the Cutting the Green Tape Initiative in California). Tony Hiss and Jim Levitt introduced the program with a discussion of Benton McKay and the Appalachian Trail, Paul Catanzaro taught a session on conservation tools and techniques, and another session focused on the issue of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the conservation field.

Other leading experts who shared their knowledge and experience included David Foster, Director of the Harvard Forest; Leigh Youngblood, Executive Director of the Mount Grace Land Trust; Jim Shallow, Director of Strategic Conservation Initiatives at The Nature Conservancy Vermont; Charlie Hancock, Cold Hollow to Canada Initiative Cofounder and Board Chair; Brian Obermeyer, Director of Land Protection and Stewardship at The Nature Conservancy Kansas; Nathan Cummins, Great Plains Renewable Energy Strategy Director at the Nature Conservancy; Sharon Farrell, Executive Vice President, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy; Shawn Johnson, Managing Director of the Center for Natural Resources & Environmental Policy at the University of Montana, and Karena Mahung, a consultant with Indufor. 

The last two sessions were devoted to presentations on selected topics relevant to large landscape conservation written by the ALPINE Summer Institute participants. Their reports can be read here.