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

Click here to apply. Read below for additional information.

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 2022-2023 Student Cohort will commit to:

  • Maintaining communication with their assigned mentor and fellow Cohort members
  • Attending the Audubon Assembly in Ft. Myers, Oct. 12-15, 2022
  • 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
  • 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 2022-2023 Cohort will be open from August 1 through September 12, 2022. Click here for the application.

Have questions? Join our Student Info Session on Wednesday, August 31 at 6:30 p.m. ET. Click here to join.

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 

"CLI allowed me to see there was already a conservation community hard at work all around me! I’m grateful to CLI for connecting me with so many opportunities to get involved with conservation both within and beyond Audubon.”  - Dagny Bodach, CLI 2021 Cohort, Ave Maria University

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