CLI students and mentors
CLI students and mentors
Audubon Assembly

Conservation Leadership Initiative (CLI)

Audubon Florida's unique co-mentoring program engages college students and chapter leaders
CLI students and mentors. Photo: Luke Franke/Audubon
CLI students and mentors. Photo: Luke Franke/Audubon
Audubon Assembly

Conservation Leadership Initiative (CLI)

Audubon Florida's unique co-mentoring program engages college students and chapter leaders

Connecting with the next generation of conservation leaders

Audubon Florida's Conservation Leadership Initiative (CLI) is an experiential learning program providing opportunities for undergraduate college students to immerse themselves in Audubon, strengthen leadership skills, and gain an understanding of career options in the conservation field. CLI is a unique, intergenerational experience uniting Audubon’s leaders with a diverse group of college students from across Florida. The program pairs each student with an Audubon chapter leader, offering co-mentoring opportunities for Audubon leaders and college students to network, share, and learn from each other. Through this experience, students are introduced to Audubon conservation initiatives, and Audubon leaders learn how to better engage, communicate with, and develop the next generation of leaders.


A Welcoming Space for Everyone

Striving to create a growth-oriented environment, CLI is designed to be welcoming, equitable, and accessible for everyone.  We believe the diversity of ideas and approaches influenced by our different lived experiences is critical for the future of Audubon. As such, applicants from underrepresented groups in conservation and other natural resources fields are strongly encouraged to apply.

A Year-Long, Immersive Experience

In 2019, CLI expanded from a one-day event at the Audubon Assembly to a year-long program, offering more opportunities for students to fully immerse themselves into both their local Audubon chapter and the Audubon Florida network. Students are offered a variety of experiences across the state, both in person and through online platforms. Topics include Audubon Florida’s Community Science initiatives, Audubon sustainability partners, hands-on restoration and conservation projects, advocacy, and more.

The 2024-2025 Student Cohort will commit to:

  • Maintaining communication with their assigned mentor and fellow Cohort members
  • Attending the Audubon Assembly in Brandon, Florida from October 26 through 28, 2023
  • Attending at least one local Audubon chapter board meeting
  • Participating in at least five different program offerings during the school year (both virtual and in-person opportunities available)
  • Attending an end-of-year social (may be virtual)
  • Complete a project in collaboration with your mentor


Participation in the Cohort is free to students, covered by our generous donors. To eliminate financial barriers to participating in the program, a small stipend will be provided to students for assistance with travel or related costs. 

Application for the 2024-2025 Cohort open on August 1. Click back then to see the application.

For more information about CLI, please contact Olivia Priest.

"CLI provided me with hands-on experiences, mentorship opportunities, and a sense of belonging within a community that shares my passion for conservation.”

- Christian Watson-Kerr, Florida A&M University, 2022-2023 Cohort



“CLI has been such an amazing program, it's hard to properly convey how much it's done for me. But to sum it up - I have been able to step up as a leader and become a positive force in my community, reach and inspire other students that are interested in the same or similar field as me, and it has helped secure my future with internship opportunities and guidance I haven't been able to find elsewhere. CLI is a game changer when it comes to personal, academic, and career growth.”

- Melissa Murray, Nova Southeastern University, 2022-2023 Cohort

 “The CLI program was extremely valuable in connecting me with opportunities with my local chapter and beyond. My mentor introduced me to a wide variety of environmental professionals with experiences I could learn from to help make more informed educational and career decisions.”

- Ella Souder, University of Miami, 2022-2023 Cohort




"CLI has gifted me lifelong connections, experiences to get involved in local conservation, and memories to carry with me as I enter the field of environmentalism!”

- Emma Aagaard, University of Central Florida, 2022-2023 Cohort

How you can help, right now