Students Dive into Land Conservation Theory and Practice

ALPINE Summer Institute

For the third summer, Academics for Land Protection in New England (ALPINE) welcomed undergraduates, graduate students and young professionals to its annual Summer Institute, a program that builds on the students’ understanding of and exposure to large landscape conservation.

Photo by Marianne Jorgensen

Over two weekends — the first at the Harvard Forest in Petersham, MA and the second at the Schoodic Institute in Winter Harbor, Maine — undergraduate and graduate students from across New England learned about the theory and practice of large landscape conservation and had a chance to carefully think through what role they individually might play in the future of conservation in the region.

“Prior to attending the first ALPINE seminar, I was largely unfamiliar with land conservation. I had always taken for granted the beautiful conserved natural areas that I often explore yet had never taken the time to contemplate how they came to be conserved,” said Summer Institute participant and University of Vermont student Colby Bosley-Smith. “It was exciting to connect with leaders in the field as well as the other students whose conservation legacies were just beginning.”

As part of the program, students completed writing assignments, took field trips, hiked in the woods and mountains, reflected on their summer work and career aspirations, and participated in exercises involving leadership and prospective thinking.

The students were highly articulate, thoughtful, curious, and ready to learn, according to program coordinators. They immediately demonstrated the ability to collaborate and also honed their listening and speaking skills. 

Photo by Marianne Jorgensen

Students heard presentations from and interacted with leaders in land conservation, including: David Foster, Director of the Harvard Forest and faculty member at Harvard University; Leigh Youngblood, Executive Director of the Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust in central Massachusetts; Paul Catanzaro, faculty member at the University of Massachusetts;  Buzz Constable, President of the Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition; Keith Ross, Senior Advisor at LandVest;  Richard Paradis, faculty emeritus at the University of Vermont; and Aaron Dority, Executive Director of Frenchman Bay Conservancy in Maine.

This year’s participants came from institutions across New England’s six states, and all had summer internships/jobs with organizations involved with land protection, such as the Essex Greenbelt Land Trust in Massachusetts, the Kennebec Land Trust in Maine, the Connecticut Land Trust Council, TerraCorps, and the Harvard Forest REU program.

With now three cohorts of participants, ALPINE is developing a network of program alumni that will share opportunities and stories and find occasions to get together again in the future.


Applications for the 2020 Summer Institute program with open in the Fall 2019. 

To receive the latest information and resources from the network and to get updates on the Summer Institute 2020 application process, sign up for the ALPINE e-newsletter

For more information about how you can get involved in ALPINE, email Marianne Jorgensen.