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OSI Invites Applications for Its 2022-23 Conservation Diversity Fellowship

New York, NY (March 02, 2022) — The Open Space Institute (OSI) today announced that it is accepting applications for its 2022-2023 Conservation Diversity Fellowship. The fellowship is awarded to two college graduates or postgraduates pursuing professional experience in the field of conservation. The one-year Conservation Fellowship has a flexible start date between July and September 2022 and concludes in summer, 2023. The application deadline for the upcoming session is April 15, 2022.

OSI’s Conservation Diversity Fellowship is a full-time, one-year, paid position in New York City that offers two candidates from diverse backgrounds the chance to work with environmental leaders and accomplish meaningful conservation goals. Working alongside OSI staff, the Conservation Fellow spends the year exploring career topics in conservation such as expanding recreational access to public lands; administering grants for land protection; protecting land through conservation real estate transactions; developing science and research on conservation and climate; and learning non-profit administration and finance.

“OSI is enthusiastic about finding and supporting talented, young conservationists from various backgrounds who are passionate about the field of conservation and who provide new ideas that can enrich our work,” said Kim Elliman, OSI’s president and CEO. “For the past six years, OSI has been grateful for the opportunity to mentor, and also learn from, our Conservation Fellows.”

OSI established the year-long Conservation Diversity Fellowship in 2016 and the fellowship is aimed at discovering and mentoring exceptional, conservation-minded young professionals and helping them take the next step in their career.

In 2021, the thriving program was expanded with support from the Merlin Foundation to fund two fellowship positions for the next three years. This 2022-2023 application round marks the second year that the fellowship will be awarded to two recipients.

OSI’s two current fellows, Neeyati Johnson and Sydney Williams, have found the program rewarding and are eager to use the skills they have gained during the past year to help launch their environmental careers.

“My time as a Conservation Fellow at OSI is very fulfilling. I am so grateful for the opportunity to work on a variety of projects because it really has enabled me to find clarity in my professional strengths and interests. Additionally, applying an equity lens to projects in land conservation has deepened my critical thinking and made me a better advocate,” said Neeyati Johnson, one of OSI’s 2021-22 Conservation Fellows.

The 2021 recipients of the OSI Conservation Diversity Fellowship are Sydney Williams (left) and Neeyati Johnson.
The 2021 recipients of the OSI Conservation Diversity Fellowship are Sydney Williams (left) and Neeyati Johnson.

“This fellowship allows me to be a part of OSI at a critical moment when there is a lot of positive change happening. As someone extremely passionate about environmental and land justice, I have been grateful to work on equity initiatives and projects and push myself outside my comfort zone,” said Sydney Williams, another of OSI’s 2021-22 Conservation Fellows.

OSI’s multifaceted programs give the Conservation Fellow wide-ranging experience in the field of conservation and, throughout the year, fellows have the chance to work on projects based on their education and desired career path. At the end of their fellowship, candidates create a final project, delving into a singular aspect of conservation and creating a tangible community resource.

Past projects completed by Conservation Fellows include a series of online zines about conservation, a literature review and survey about minority participation in outdoors recreation, creation of an interactive website and video promoting OSI’s McHenry Awards, and a literature review and survey about policies and procedures to make our grantmaking more equitable. Several of the past fellows have continued working in a conservation field, securing full-time positions such as: an event organizer for local parks, a research associate for improving biodiversity through land use planning, or continuing their education by studying owl conservation in the Sierra Mountains.

To learn more about the fellowship and application process, visit: https://www.openspaceinstitute.org/funds/cdfellowship.

About OSI

The Open Space Institute protects scenic, natural, and historic landscapes to provide public enjoyment, conserve habitat and working lands and sustain communities. Founded in 1974, initially, to protect significant landscapes in New York State, today, OSI has been a partner in the protection of over 2.3 million acres in North America.

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