ALPINE Summer Institute

The ALPINE Summer Institute is a program for participants interested in exploring careers in land conservation. Participants must have an internship that involves some aspect of land conservation in New England to participate. The Summer Institute takes place over two weekends in June and August and features presentations by leaders in the conservation arena, field trips to conserved sites, and guided reflections by the participants on their conservation internships. Participants will have the opportunity to meet and interact with leaders and educators in land conservation organizations.


Summer Institute 2019

For the third summer, ALPINE welcomed undergraduate and graduate students to our annual Summer Institute program, which took place over two weekends: one at the Harvard Forest in Petersham, MA and the second at the Schoodic Institute in Winter Harbor, Maine.

This year’s ALPINE Summer Institute 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 a variety of backgrounds and levels of experience in land conservation, the students all wanted to learn more about the theory and practice of large landscape conservation. Each participant had a chance to carefully think through what role they individually might play in the future of conservation in the region.

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

Students also completed writing assignments, took field trips, hiked in the woods and mountains, reflected on their summer work and career aspirations, and participated in leadership and prospective thinking exercises. They were highly articulate, thoughtful, curious, and ready to learn. They immediately demonstrated the ability to collaborate, along with strong listening and speaking skills.

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

Click here for a summary of the Summer Institute activities and here for student bios.

Quotes from Summer Institute Participants

The ALPINE Summer Institute inspired me to think critically and act intentionally in all aspects of my work in the conservation field. My participation reinforced my passion for conservation, and confirmed my decision to pursue a career in this work. I couldn’t imagine doing anything more meaningful.” – Shea Flanagan, Dartmouth College - Shea Flanagan, Dartmouth College

Without the Summer Institute, I am not sure that I would have had the space or inspiration to articulate these ideas as clearly. The Summer Institute helped me articulate not only the fact that I care about land, but also the reasons why I care about land.” – Katie Michaels, Middlebury College

Through ALPINE, I have been able to make numerous connections in the field of land conservation that I would otherwise not have. I was also able to enhance my understanding of land conservation while being surrounded by similar peers.” – Matt Brewer, University of Maine

Between my studies at Middlebury College, my work at The Nature Conservancy, and my participation in the ALPINE Summer Institute, I have seen again and again how important it is to take a multi-disciplinary approach to conservation that focuses on creative and collaborative solutions based upon a place’s unique history, culture, socioeconomics, and particular environmental landscape.” – Caroline Colan, Middlebury College

I knew I wanted to get into conservation as a career before coming to the ALPINE program, but I think my ideas about what that really meant were vague. I now have a clearer picture of what conservationists are, and we are not all crazy people tied to trees, or research scientists trapped in labs.” – Amanda Bunce, University of Connecticut