Investment in educating and training conservationists comes to Northern Arizona University this fall as the Wyss Foundation and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation renew educational and scholarship programs at the Landscape Conservation Initiative (LCI).

The renewal of the Wyss Scholars for the Conservation of the West project will support students in the environmental science and policy master’s program (ES&P) as they complete their master’s degrees and pursue leadership roles in the field of environmental conservation in the American West. Two competitive scholarships awarded annually, each valued at more than $30,000, are available to students who have demonstrated leadership capacity and commitment to environmental conservation in the West.

NAU’s ES&P program provides students with a depth of knowledge in environmental science research and policy management applications making it unique among the funded programs. NAU’s proximity to abundant public land and prime wildlife habitat and its partnerships with the Forest Service, U.S. Geological Survey and nonprofit conservation organizations provide a wealth of opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience.

LCI’s Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program (DDCSP) also was renewed this fall and is recruiting a new cohort of scholars. The DDCSP, established in 2013, aims to broaden and strengthen the culture and practice of conservation by inspiring and preparing undergraduates from diverse backgrounds to pursue careers in the protection of land, water and wildlife. This program is funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, whose mission is to improve the quality of people’s lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research and child well-being, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke’s properties.

During the next two years, this $800,000 project will combine immersion learning in the southwestern United States and mentored internships to build a strong peer and mentor network supporting scholars’ professional development. Scholars are selected from a competitive nationwide applicant pool. A new application period will take place this winter.

The Landscape Conservation Initiative is renowned for providing transformative educational experiences and the opportunity for diverse voices to be heard alongside its work in advanced ecological research and multi-disciplinary conservation policy. These strengths elevate NAU’s national stature as a leader in the field of conservation.

“The Wyss Foundation and Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s recognition of the strength of our program and students is incredibly rewarding—we look forward to continued partnership with them as we equip a new generation of conservation leadership for success,” said Thomas Sisk, LCI director and Olajos-Goslow Endowed Chair of Environmental Science and Policy.