NatureServe Partners with American Express To Train Future Environmental Conservation Leaders


NatureServe today announced a new program, supported by American Express, designed to cultivate leadership in the field of environmental conservation.  The NatureServe Leadership Program will provide participants with intensive year-long training to develop the skills of emerging scientific and conservation leaders within the NatureServe network, a group of 82 independent institutions in the United States, Canada, and Latin America.

The one-year grant — the first awarded from American Express to NatureServe — builds on American Express’ commitment to provide nonprofit leaders with practical opportunities to learn and build leadership skills. At the same time, the unique character and environmental focus of NatureServe’s international network will enable American Express to support the network’s valuable conservation work, important to the company’s environmental responsibility efforts.

“The people at American Express understand that the nonprofit sector needs skilled leaders and strong institutions to advance goals that benefit us all,” said Mary Klein, president and CEO of NatureServe. “We thank American Express for their commitment to helping NatureServe build the capacity of conservation leaders on two continents. Because each leader in turn affects so many other people, the impact of this program will be felt for decades.”

The goals of the program are threefold:

  1. To create a self-renewing pool of next-generation leaders in environmental conservation
  2. To strengthen the connectivity and effectiveness of the NatureServe network
  3. To form a community of practice among the trainees, who will return to their home institutions to share the program’s lessons and mentor their colleagues

“American Express has a longstanding commitment to the development of future leaders in the non-profit sector,” said Timothy J. McClimon, President of the American Express Foundation. “Supporting this leadership training program for the NatureServe network is one way that we help ensure the continuance of high quality community conservation leadership throughout the US, Canada and Latin America.”

All participants are highly trained in their disciplines, but the NatureServe Leadership Program will give them the opportunity to gain leadership experience and confidence. NatureServe anticipates that the program will create an important peer group of emerging leaders that will increase and maintain the effectiveness of both the network and the individual state, provincial, and national nonprofit organizations and public agencies for whom the participants work. Their programs help conserve plants, animals, and natural habitats throughout the Western Hemisphere. The more than 800 people within the network include field biologists, conservation planners, ecologists, natural areas managers, information technology specialists, and conservation program leaders.

Participants are being selected through a competitive application process and will receive training in methods and practices that can increase their current sphere of influence while building a foundation for future leadership roles.