NEW YORK, NY (March 14, 2023)— The Open Space Institute (OSI) today announced that it is accepting applications for its 2023 Conservation Diversity Fellowship. The Fellowship is awarded to college graduates or postgraduates pursuing professional experience in the field of conservation. For the first time since the program started seven years ago, OSI will award a two-year fellowship this year, in addition to its existing one-year fellowship.
The application deadline for the two-year Fellowship is March 27, 2023. The two-year Conservation Fellowship has a flexible start date between July and September 2023 and concludes in summer, 2025. Candidates interested in being considered for a two-year fellowship should apply to work with OSI through the Environmental Leadership Program’s Ray Diversity Fellowship.
The application deadline for the one-year Fellowship is April 16, 2023. The one-year Conservation Fellowship has a flexible start date between July and September 2023 and concludes in summer, 2024. Candidates interested in being considered for a one-year fellowship should apply through OSI’s online application.
Apply for OSI's One-Year Fellowship
Application deadline for the one-year Fellowship is April 16, 2023.
OSI’s Conservation Diversity Fellowships are full-time, paid positions in New York City offering recent students from diverse backgrounds the chance to work with environmental leaders and accomplish meaningful conservation goals. Working alongside OSI staff, Conservation Fellows spend 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’s Conservation Diversity Fellowships aim to support and add new voices to the world of conservation. Each year, we are excited to support talented and passionate conservationists from various backgrounds who are just getting their start in the field of conservation,” said Jessica Watson, who manages the program as OSI’s Conservation Communities Director. “For the past seven years, OSI has been grateful for the opportunity to mentor, and also learn from, our Conservation Fellows.”
OSI established the Conservation Diversity Fellowship in 2016 and the Fellowship is aimed at mentoring and fostering the talent of exceptional, conservation-minded professionals to help them take the next step in their career.
OSI’s two current Fellows, Annie Lee and Aisha Rodriguez, 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.
“The fellowship is helping me gain a better understanding of the different career paths within the conservation sphere,” said Annie Lee, one of OSI’s 2022-23 Conservation Fellows. “My favorite part about the fellowship, so far, has been working with different departments and learning about how each staff member uses their unique skills and expertise in support of OSI’s mission. As someone just starting their career in conservation, I feel comforted to know that not everyone needs to follow the same path to end up with a career they find personally and socially fulfilling.”
“My time as a Conservation Fellow has been transformational. The rotational design of the fellowship has allowed me to learn about the way non-profits operate, the different facets of conservation, and how to weave equity and inclusion into all aspects of this work. Additionally, this Fellowship has taught me a lot about myself; I'm learning how to navigate professional spaces without sacrificing my authenticity. The space made for us Fellows truly aids me in overcoming the imposter syndrome that so many of us Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and First-generation students feel when first entering the workforce,” said Aisha Rodriguez, another of OSI’s current 2022-23 Conservation Fellows.
Since its launch, the Conservation Diversity Fellowship has continually evolved to meet the needs of the program’s participants. In 2021, the thriving fellowship program was expanded, in celebration of the program’s fifth year and thanks to support from the Merlin Foundation, to fund two fellowship positions. Now in 2023, OSI is continuing to shift the structure of the fellowship to offer a two-year fellowship in addition to the one-year fellowship.
“After intensive research, we decided to offer a two-year fellowship option because of the multiple, documented benefits the longer-term has been found to provide participants. The second year allows for deeper work that’s more meaningful and allows fellows to develop practical and marketable expertise,” Watson added.
The two-year fellowship option is being offered through an OSI-partnership with the Environmental Leadership Program.
OSI’s multifaceted programs provide Conservation Fellows 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 research-based report about minority participation in outdoors recreation, creation of an interactive website and video promoting OSI’s McHenry Awards, a literature review and survey about inclusive grantmaking policies and procedures, and an inventory of equity practices at OSI.
To learn more about the fellowship and application process, visit: https://www.openspaceinstitute.org/funds/cdfellowship.