Women in Conservation

Audubon’s Conservation Leaders Program for Young Women

A year of career-focused conservation learning and service for high school girls.

A part of the Texas Women in Conservation Program, Audubon’s Conservation Leaders Program for Young Women stewards high school girls through a year of free hands-on learning, field experiences, and mentorship, to help foster careers in conservation and environmental sciences. Each young woman selected is placed with their local Texas Audubon Center – either Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center in Cedar Hill, Trinity River Audubon Center in Dallas, or Mitchell Lake Audubon Center in San Antonio – from which they embark on outdoor learning experiences like tree planting, invasive plant removal, bird watching, seed-ball making, litter clean-up, and hiking. In addition to center-based learning, the girls have the chance to participate in a variety of off-site experiences with our partners, including:

• A visit to John Bunker Sands Wetland Center to learn about water conservation and management. 
• A rafting trip down the Trinity River to learn where Texas's drinking water comes from first-hand. 
• A Q&A with Marty Leonard, an influential Texas conservationist and 2016 Terry Hershey Award recipient
• Attendance Audubon's 2016 Texas Women in Conservation Luncheon & Terry Hershey Awards in Fort Worth. 
• A behind-the-scenes tour of the Fort Worth Nature Center and Q&A with staff. 
• A field trip to Cedar Hill State Park for a Q&A with Assistant Park Superintendent, Beth Tragus, and a fishing expedition led by Master Naturalist, Eileen Berger.
• A field trip to Sea World San Antonio for an in-depth look at their conservation and animal rehab work, including their new aviary. 
• Attendance at a Local Women in Conservation Career Panel and Q&A, where girls heard the stories and experiences of women from professional conservation organizations across San Antonio and in a variety of career areas.   

The year culminates with a week-long, outdoor-immersion trip to the Texas Coast, which ties together the skills the students have learned, fosters lasting bonds, and solidifies a foundation for lifelong environmental stewardship. Students participated in a bird ID workshop and bird population survey led by Audubon Texas’s coastal scientists and volunteer projects to assist nesting birds in Important Bird Areas, visited Aransas National Wildlife Refuge for scenic wildlife tour, visited the University of Texas Marine Science Education Center in Port Aransas, and took a a four-hour educational boat trip led by University of Texas Marine Science Institute staff. The young women assisted with crab tagging, benthic trawls, plankton tows, mud grabs and fish identification. 

Quotes & Photos from Audubon's Conservation Leaders Program for Young Women 2015-2016 

“There are many powerful women in conservation and we need to keep this trend going. In a world where women are still persecuted, it is a breath of fresh air to know we have important women protecting the Earth.”
“I realized how diverse Texas is and how many animals/species it serves as a home to. It is an important factor and a diverse terrain. We have a lot to offer and is an environment that needs to be protected.”
“I am so so glad that I came on this trip! I was hesitant and a little scared about coming but all of those fears have subsided and now I’m better equipped to take on the outdoors in the future, which is reassuring because I really look forward to spending time outdoors in a job in the environmental field.”
“I really loved doing the conservation work at the sanctuary. I hope to pursue conservation as a career so it was nice to literally be hands on and actually see our work and its direct impact.”
“It made me become even more comfortable with my critter friends. On top of that, I feel as though I could handle anything. I know now for sure that I want to have a career centered on environmental science.”
“It really made me realize the beauty in Texas – things I never saw before.”
“Seeing those plaques with the names of female college researchers showed me that you’re never too young to make a lasting impact on the environment and scientific research.”
“The environment is fragile but so strong and home to more than we know. It is far-fetched to say that it is hard to protect the environment or little changes in our routines won’t help. Everything we do, whether intentional or not, affects it.”

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Audubon’s Conservation Leaders Program for Young Women is a part of a greater effort to raise the stature of women’s roles in conservation, support girls and younger women in environmental sciences, and engage women in important conservation issues in Texas. And it can’t be done without your support

How you can help, right now