Apply Now – Hubbard Fellowship with The Nature Conservancy

It’s that time of year again! We are now accepting applications for the 2021 Hubbard Conservation Fellowship Program with The Nature Conservancy in Nebraska. Detailed information can be found HERE and applications are due by September 30, 2020. Please forward this information to anyone who might be interested. The program is designed for recent graduates of conservation-related college degrees (undergraduate or graduate) who want to gain a year of broad experience before applying for permanent positions.

Former Fellows Katharine Hogan and Eric Chien pause for a photo while collecting data at the Niobrara Valley Preserve. (Remember when we could hug each other?)

Supervising the Hubbard Fellows is absolutely one of the highlights of my career. This next group will be the 8th pair of extraordinary humans to come spend a year working with us at the Platte River Prairies, Niobrara Valley Preserve, and our other locations across the state. Getting to spend time with youthful, energized, hopeful, brilliant future conservation leaders helps keep me motivated and optimistic about conservation myself. Seeing our work and world through their eyes also provides a much needed perspective, and often challenges me to consider whether our strategies are as effective as they should be.

Fellows spend a lot of time learning and helping with prairie management and restoration work, but also get to be part of strategic planning discussions, fundraising campaigns, staff and board meetings, and outreach/communication efforts. We also take them to as many conferences and other opportunities as we can, though that has become more difficult since March and will probably continue to be a challenge for a while.

One of the best aspects of the Fellowship is that each Fellow develops and carries out an independent project. There are only two criteria for projects: First, it has to help the Fellow develop a current interest or explore a new one. Second, it has to provide a tangible benefit to The Nature Conservancy. Many Fellows have chosen research projects, but others have helped build or improve on conservation programs or lead staff through a planning process or development of a new conservation strategy. We expect the independent projects to take up about 10% of a Fellow’s time during their year with us.

Here’s former Fellow Mary Parr with a Pawnee skipper butterfly she caught during some survey work.

I hope readers of this blog enjoy reading posts by our Fellows each year. Writing those is a great experience for them, but I also think it’s good for all of us to see the world through their eyes. As I said earlier, their perspective helps keep my spirits up and challenges me to continue looking for new and better ideas.

Thanks for helping spread the word about this opportunity. In particular, we’d like to make sure we’re reaching potential candidates in communities of people currently underrepresented in the conservation field. Anything you can do to help us will be much appreciated.

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About Chris Helzer

Chris Helzer is the Director of Science for The Nature Conservancy in Nebraska. His main role is to evaluate and capture lessons from the Conservancy’s land management and restoration work and then share those lessons with other landowners – both private and public. In addition, Chris works to raise awareness about the importance of prairies and their conservation through his writing, photography, and presentations to various groups. Chris is also the author of "The Ecology and Management of Prairies in the Central United States", published by the University of Iowa Press. He lives in Aurora, Nebraska with his wife Kim and their children.

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