ALPINE Summer Institute

The 2020 Summer Institute will be held virtually this summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will consist of 7 sessions throughout June and July. We will learn about 3 large landscape conservation efforts – one in central Massachusetts, a new, expanded Appalachian Trail project, and a new effort to make a trail through Chile’s newly created 9 million-acre national park. You will hear from leaders in these conservation efforts. There will be time for questions and discussions in each session. There will also be a session on land conservation tools and practice for background. Students will each be expected to make a presentation on a conservation project of their choice in the last 2 sessions. There will be readings before the sessions to prepare for the presentations.

We are currently at capacity and are not accepting more applications.

View Summer Institute 2020 Online Curriculum. 

The 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. 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 also designed to encourage the students to consider how land conservation might become a significant focus of their professional careers and volunteer commitments over the course of their lives. The Summer Institute is an opportunity for students and young professionals to meet and network with leaders in the field, and think about what role they might play in the future of conservation. Accommodations and meals and program costs are free of charge to all participants.

The Summer Institute includes:

  • Two intensive weekends at the beginning and end of the summer
  • 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
  • Hikes and field trips to important land conservation projects in New England
  • Meals and accommodation for both weekends

The ALPINE Summer Institute is looking for 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. However, in order to apply for the Summer Institute, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Have a summer internship or job-related to land conservation in one of the six New England states and New York (Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island)
  • Be able to commit to two weekends for the Summer Institute
  •  Be able to provide their own transportation to and from the Summer Institute session locations


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, ME.

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 Essex Greenbelt Land Trust in Massachusetts, 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, students gathered to learn more about the theory and practice of large landscape conservation. Each participant had a chance to carefully think through what role they might play individually in the future of conservation in the region.

During 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 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.

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.

Now with three cohorts of participants, ALPINE is developing a network of alumni of the program that will share opportunities and stories with each other and facilitate future gatherings.

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

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