Active programs

Conservation Leadership Development

Purpose: To offer leadership training for the conservation partnership on a variety of emerging issues and fundamental initiatives.

Support: The current efforts are funded by two NC Tobacco Trust Fund grants and a NC Agriculture Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund grant. Former supporters include the NC Department of Justice’s Environmental Enhancement Grants, The Altria Group, Progress Energy, and the NC Agriculture Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund for a total project impact to date of over $330,000 in funds raised.

Current Work:

  • Conservation Leaders Fellows Program: A class of 20 conservation district board members will participate in a training program that explores effective communications, organizational management, advocacy and outreach, as well as an introduction to emerging conservation and environmental issues. Program partners include the NC Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts. Registration is closed, for more information contact program partners.
  • Managing Conservation Easement Programs: The initiative includes three training prongs, as listed below. Program partners include the Working Lands Trust, NC Cooperative Extension, and the NC Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts. For more information about these trainings, please email the Foundation’s Executive Director, Amanda Sand
    • Conservation Easement Programs – Is it a good fit for your Conservation District? The training allows conservation district board members and staff to explore the fiscal and legal responsibility of managing an easement program.
    • Conservation Easement Programs – Technical Processes & Stewardship. The training provides resources to conservation district staff on how to manage a conservation easement project and best practices for stewardship of enrolled lands.
    • Conservation Easements – A Tool for Managing your Land. The training provides private landowners with resources on estate planning, land transitioning, and how long-term natural resource protection can help achieve your goals.


  • Over 2,500 people were trained in Conservation Easements, Leading Effective Meetings, Strategic Planning, and other topics.
  • The Guidebook on the Law and Practices of Soil and Water Conservation in North Carolina, edited by Milton Heath is available through the UNC Chapel Hill bookstore.
  • The NC Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts drafted a Strategic Plan and a Communications Plan.