The Land Trust Alliance is committed to building a more inclusive and impactful private land conservation sector that engages all people, especially those who have not traditionally served by or engaged in land conservation. We believe that instilling the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion and a community-centered approach into every aspect of conservation is critical as the land trust community considers who its supporters, staff, volunteers and advocates will be in the future.

The Scholars for Conservation Leadership Program is a career and leadership development program that expands opportunities for students who wish to pursue careers in natural resource management and conservation and who share this commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. While not a criterion for selection, members of underrepresented socio-cultural or geographic groups, including: Black or African American, Native American or Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, Hispanic, Latin American or Latine, people with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ people or first generation college students are all strongly encouraged to apply.

This professional development program offers a range of opportunities for rising college seniors to:

  • Learn about career pathways and career development directly from people who work in various roles in the land conservation sector.

  • Be paired with mentors from the land conservation community who can offer advice and assistance to students as they navigate the Scholars Program and beyond.

  • Participate in Rally: The National Land Conservation Conference, the largest gathering of conservation practitioners in the country, including workshops, seminars, trainings and networking events.

  • Build community with other students from across the country with similar career interests through in person and virtual experiences.

  • Develop and refine key professional skills such as resume writing and job interview and application readiness.

  • Qualify for the selection process for a paid year-long fellowship (post-graduation) with a land conservation organization to gain on-the-job experience at a critical time in their academic and early career.

This program is funded by a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service and managed in collaboration with North Carolina State University

2024 Program

The 2024 program will bring together 10 undergraduate college students from across the country for a professional development experience in conjunction with Rally: The National Land Conservation Conference held September 25-28, 2024 (hold Sept. 24 and 29 for travel days) in Providence, RI. The students will participate in a one-day seminar and attend the conference where they will have the opportunity to participate in field trips, numerous educational trainings and workshops and connect with professionals from across the nation. Additionally, each Scholar will be partnered with a mentor during the conference. The Scholars will be recognized at the conference, and one of the Scholars will be awarded a year-long, paid fellowship with a land trust, funding by the United States Forest Service.

In addition to in-person attendance at Rally, we ask that scholars attend two pre-Rally virtual meetings and three to four post-Rally virtual meetings focused on team building and professional development. These meetings will be scheduled to meet the availability of the cohort (likely late afternoon or early evening) and will be approximately one hour each in duration.

Selected students will have travel and registration costs covered and will be notified of acceptance by June 7. As needed, the Alliance will provide a letter or complete forms to excuse students from class or work during their participation in the program.

Applications are due May 22. Questions? Reach out to Ajiah Gilbert at

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Selected Scholars will have all expenses (flight, lodging, food, transportation) covered by the Alliance for the entire duration of their stay at Rally.

This offer is contingent upon the results of a background investigation that may include, but is not limited to, the following areas: verification of Social Security number; current and previous residences; employment history; education; references; criminal history, including records from any criminal justice agency in any or all federal, state or county jurisdictions.