ALPINE is an emerging network that seeks to explore and expand the role that New England academic institutions play in conserving the natural heritage of the region. ALPINE helps academics connect, collaborate, and conserve through knowledge exchange and targeted activities that catalyze the pace and scale of conservation.
Throughout New England, the United States, and beyond, people are working across sectors and geographies to conserve our imperiled natural resources. One sector that is making a significant difference – often quietly without public fanfare – is that of colleges, universities, research institutes, and field stations. These enduring and deeply skilled academic institutions are increasingly playing a key role in advancing large landscape conservation. There are many conservation catalyst success stories here in New England – and remarkable potential to work collaboratively to achieve many more. As the birthplace of higher education in the United States, New England boasts approximately 250 colleges and universities, more than 1.2 million students, numerous relevant academic disciplines, and a large alumni base with deep ties to the region. Harnessing and optimizing this remarkable resource will make a fundamental and enduring difference to the conservation future of New England.
In January 2014, 26 leading academic professionals from across New England met to explore the enormous potential for academic institutions to work together to accelerate conservation success through a new network: Academics for Land Protection in New England (ALPINE). In 2015, a group focused on academic institutions advancing in the Connecticut River Valley, including the Pioneer Valley in Massachusetts, convened to consider prospects for ALPINE at Smith College. On February 22nd 2016, a series of gatherings at Harvard Kennedy School marked the third time that ALPINE participants convened in order to further refine the network’s relevance and potential. On May 26th, 2016, we hosted ALPINE’s first Steering Committee in order to further our strategic thinking and outreach. We are convinced that enduring commitment and collaboration of New England academic institutions can – and must – play an increasing and powerful role in safeguarding our natural heritage for future generations.