ALPINE Summer Institute

The ALPINE Summer Institute program is designed for students and young professionals to learn more about the theory and practice of large land conservation in the early twenty-first century. The program is staffed by experts in the field of land conservation from the Lincoln Institute, the Harvard Forest, Highstead, and the Schoodic Institute.

The ALPINE Summer Institute is designed to encourage participants to consider how land conservation might become a significant focus of their professional careers and volunteer commitments over the course of their lives. The program also offers participants the opportunity to meet and network with peers and leaders in the field.

The program has been held both in-person and remotely, depending on recommendations by public health officials. In either case, the program costs and in-person meal and accommodation costs are free of charge to all participants.

The Summer Institute typicallyincludes:

  • Presentations by leaders and practitioners in land conservation and in organizations such as the Harvard Forest, the International Land Conservation Network, the Maine Coast Heritage Trust, and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy
  • Writing assignments and reflections
  • Leadership training exercises

​The ALPINE Summer Institute seeks undergraduates, graduate students, and young professionals with a wide variety of academic backgrounds and levels of experience, who are interested in learning more about conservation in New England and becoming a member of the next generation of land conservation leaders. Previous participants have come from a range of public and private colleges and universities, and applicants need not attend an institution in New England or be from the region. 

Learn more about Summer Institute 20192020, and 2021

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

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

What is large landscape conservation?

Mount Moosilauke, New HampshireMount Moosilauke, New HampshireFor the Summer Institute, we think of large landscape conservation initiatives as those efforts that protect mosaics of land that may provide a range of benefits and engage a spectrum of actors: across the public, private, non-profit, and academic sectors; across parcel, jurisdictional and even national borders; and across a range of professional skills and academic disciplines. Examples of efforts that contribute to the realization of large landscape protection initiatives include, but are not limited to: efforts by individual land trusts to protect parcels of land in their locality as part of a larger regional initiative; efforts by a Regional Conservation Partnership to coordinate the land protection efforts of many individuals and organizations to achieve a large landscape protection objectives; efforts by a university to protect in perpetuity land which it owns and manages, contributing to a large landscape conservation objective; efforts by private landowners to protect their land in perpetuity; and efforts by units of government to achieve land protection objectives within their jurisdictions, contributing to regional conservation goals. The Summer Institute provides an opportunity for students and young professionals to learn, through case studies and interviews with conservation leaders, how such bold initiatives can succeed, and to think about what role they might play in the future of large landscape conservation in the United States and internationally. 

The ALPINE Summer Institute is looking for participants with a wide variety of academic backgrounds and levels of experience who are interested in learning more about large landscape conservation and in becoming a member of the next generation of land conservation leaders.​

Pioneer Valley, MassachusettsPioneer Valley, Massachusetts

Requirements to apply:

  • Interest and/or experience in land conservation issues
  • Commit to attending all sessions of the Summer Institute program
  • Provide their own transportation to and from the Summer Institute session location if it is possible to meet in person

There will be no cost to the students for instruction associated with the ALPINE Summer Institute or for food, lodging, program transportation if we are able to meet in person for the weekend. Upon completion of the program, students will receive a certificate from the ALPINE Summer Institute.

Application Process:

In order to apply, candidates will complete the application online, submit a resume and provide a reference. Admission will be determined on a rolling basis by the April 1 deadline. The number of participants is limited to 12 so we encourage interested individuals to apply as soon as possible. Candidates will be chosen based on 1) their interest in the field of land conservation and the potential to make a significant contribution to land protection efforts in the US and the world, and 2) their apparent capacity to benefit from the ALPINE Summer Institute. 

For more information on the ALPINE Summer Institute, please contact Marianne Jorgensen, ALPINE Program Coordinator at, or Jim Levitt, ALPINE Program Director, at Additional information on the course through the University of Massachusetts University Without Walls and applying for academic credit associated with participation in the ALPINE Summer Institute can be found here. Please note that for academic credit, there will be a separate application form to be submitted to the University of Massachusetts Amherst. There will also be a separate fee charged by the University of Massachusetts associated with such credits.