Inspiring and mentoring young women conservationists

ACR’s Conservation Science Intensive is a highly-regarded residential immersion experience giving young woman conservationists the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of the field, connect with fellow environmentally-minded youth, and learn from conservation professionals. The program is in its 6th year and draws young women from across the country. In summer 2020, ACR recast the program within a virtual platform in response to the Covid-19 public health crisis. With the success of the 2020 program, and in light of the ongoing pandemic, the 2021 program will also be conducted remotely.

In the 2021 virtual program, young women participants will meet and learn from ACR conservation science staff—from research ecologists to communications professionals to land stewardship practitioners. Participants will deepen their naturalist skills and explore conservation science where they are, all within a framework of strong leadership—a culture of safety, encouragement, and mutual respect on all levels and at all times.

This virtual program is similar to a college-level seminar-style class. It is best suited for individuals with a budding interest in conservation science and a desire to think deeply, reflect internally, and discuss collaboratively.

Daily programming will include: group discussions, independent study, team building activities, and more. Two separate week-long programs will be held.

2020 CSI participants had this to say: 

“Something I took away was that there were so many more connections and roles within conservation science than I ever really thought about or knew and it was really interesting to learn about them.”

"I feel like I took away so much from the experience! It was the most interesting thing I’ve done this summer and by far the most well organized and informative virtual event that I’ve done.”

“My horizons have been broadened [by CSI].” 

WHERE: Each day, participants will gather on Zoom and complete independent activities between the hours of 9:00 a.m. PST and 2:00 p.m. PST. Participants are expected to be available for the duration of the program.

WHO: Young women entering their junior or senior year of high school in fall 2021 are invited to apply. Applicants must live within the Pacific, Mountain, Central and Eastern US time zones.

WHEN: Two programs will be held this summer. Session dates are:

    • July 12–16, 2021 
    • July 19–23, 2021

Applicants should indicate their availability for each session on the application form (linked below).

COST: $30 non-refundable fee; to be paid upon acceptance to the program. Cost should not be a deterrent for participation; waivers will be granted to those for whom payment is a hardship. CSI is a program of Audubon Canyon Ranch, a nonprofit organization whose programs are made possible thanks to donations from generous individuals, foundations and businesses.

Questions? Contact program staff at [email protected] or 415-868-9244 extension 310. 

HOW TO APPLY:Thank you for your interest; the application period for CSI 2021 has ended.

About Our Program Staff

ACR has a highly competent and deeply committed team of biologists, ecologists, and writers who view mentoring young women in conservation science, supporting their educational and professional goals as both a privilege and a responsibility. 

In a landmark 2015 study, the National Science Foundation found that American women earn fifty percent of science and engineering degrees yet hold just twenty-eight percent of jobs in these fields. In conservation science, women hold only twenty-two percent of jobs. Audubon Canyon Ranch (ACR) is proud to be bucking the national trend: Women hold eight of twelve conservation science positions at our organization. ACR’s philosophy of “Conservation in Action” means that we are committed to catalyzing in others the desire to understand and care for the land. ACR believes that leveling the playing field means not only inspiring and equipping young women to access and enjoy natural lands, but also supporting them to cultivate a sense of belonging to and curiosity about the natural world, and a desire to engage with stewarding the wild.

Questions? Contact program staff at [email protected] or 415-868-9244 extension 310.


More About the CSI Residential Program

ACR's Conservation Science Intensive inspires young women to develop a stronger connection to themselves, each other, and the natural world while learning about and practicing land conservation, stewardship, nature writing, and illustration. The 5-day, 4-night collaborative expeditionary program challenges participants—individually and collectively—physically, creatively, and intellectually, as they work with and learn from ACR’s highly-skilled conservation biologists, ecologists, educators and guest artists, writers, and musicians.

Due to Covid-19 public health restrictions, the 2020 and 2021 sessions will take place within a virtual meeting platform (Zoom), mixing group discussions, independent study, team building activities, and more.

Once we are able to gather again in person, daily activities include extensive time on the land, natural history skill building (tracking, botany, birding, working with maps/GPS, etc.), stewardship & conservation projects, directed journaling, solo time, team building, and group discussion, all within a framework of strong leadership - a culture of safety, encouragement, loving kindness, and mutual respect on all levels and at all times.