This week, we began the third year of our Hubbard Fellowship program here in Nebraska. Evan Barrientos (Wisconsin) and Kim Tri (Minnesota) are both recent college graduates who will be spending the next year with us, learning all we can teach them about ecology, land restoration and stewardship, conservation strategy, fundraising, marketing/outreach and more. After a short orientation day on Monday, we spent Tuesday and Wednesday at a big conference with other employees of The Nature Conservancy. It was an uplifting, but somewhat overwhelming experience for Evan and Kim. While they learned a lot and met a lot of people at the conference, I was glad to get them back out on the prairie today so we could just take some time to wander the prairie together and talk about natural history and ecology.
There are countless positive attributes of the Hubbard Fellowship program, but one of my personal favorites is the opportunity I get to interact with young, bright, and enthusiastic conservationists. I love seeing our work and sites through their eyes, and their questions and ideas challenge and inspire me every day. You’ll get the chance to hear much more about and from Kim and Evan in the coming year, and I hope you’ll feel some of the same hope and energy I do.
We have a lot of conservation challenges to face in the coming years, but I think the next generation of conservation professionals is going to be equal to the task.