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 includes 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 2021-2022 Student Cohort will commit to:
- Attending the CLI onboarding event in October (date t.b.d.)
- Maintaining communication with their assigned mentor and fellow Cohort members
- Attending one regional Audubon Assembly field trip
- 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.
See our FAQ for more information.
Participation in the Cohort is free to students, covered by our generous donors. To eliminate financial barriers to participating in the program, small stipends will be provided to students for assistance with travel or other program activities.
Applications for the 2022 Cohort will open on August 1, 2022.
If you are interested in more information about CLI, please contact Kristen Kosik.
“I was paired with an amazing mentor (Barbara Schwartz, Conservation Chair) who invited me outdoors to bird watch by kayak or on a college campus. These experiences left positive impressions on my journey towards a brighter future. Barbara gave me a platform, to both hone my knowledge (as a student) on birds and lead in my community through service.”
- Herby Zephir, 2019 Cohort, University of Florida
“CLI has been the cornerstone to my future career goals. Having mentors and people within the conservation field providing insight and clarity concerning direction has been critical. With the tools CLI provides, I have become a more competitive job candidate.”
- Richard Valdez, CLI 2020-21, Florida International University
“This CLI experience helped me better connect with my community. With the help of my mentor, I was able to better develop my leadership skills and learn how to network with conservation professionals. It can be daunting to jump into an unknown field on your own, so having a mentor to help me find my way was an invaluable experience. The confidence I found in myself over this year has been so rewarding and I believe it will help me in my journey toward a career in conservation.”
- Tallulah Biletzskov, CLI 2020-21, Florida State University