Conservation finance program offers new ways to think about funding

33 conservation professionals in room learning about creative ways to fund projects


By Brigid McCreery

“Probably the single biggest question that I’m always dealing with is ‘where is the funding coming from? Where are the resources coming from that I need to do my good work?'” – Richard Corff, project manager at the Trust for Public Land

The Conservation Finance Network’s Conservation Finance Bootcamp, hosted at Colorado State University this week, will offer land resource conservation professionals the tools they need to ensure the financial security of their projects. 33 participants from around the country will spend the week networking and learning best practices from real world examples and case studies that highlight practical skills and out-of-the-box thinking for alternative funding.

For the first time, the Center for Collaborative Conservation will be co-hosting the Bootcamp. More than two dozen presenters and instructors will lead daily sessions and activities. This prestigious professional training originated at Yale, has also been held at Stanford, and for the last two years has been held at Duke. Warner College of Natural Resources will now be in the four-year rotation for hosting the conference thanks to efforts from the CCC and partnership with Drew Bennett at the Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Wyoming.

“This is the first time in 12 years that it has been held outside of the east coast, and it is a great honor to be the first new host,” said Louisa Gibson, administrative and communications program coordinator at the CCC.

More than 300 people have attended the course to date, and participants have put the information to practice in a variety of ways. Projects have included an organization’s first program-related investment to establishing a community forest initiative, development of a crowd-funding tool, and use of a loan to bridge finance and acquisition project.

The CCC has been directly involved with planning the syllabus, recruiting instructors, making sure the course is regionally relevant, site logistics, and planning evening events to include members of the local and regional community.

“Through the process of curriculum development, we have begun to create a stronger network between CCC staff, CSU faculty, CFN staff, as well as potential instructors who are experts in the field of conservation finance,” said Gibson. “This is just the beginning of what we hope will turn into an ongoing partnership.”