Conservation Conversation – September 2020

5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

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As fall approaches, we’re looking to re-start our Conservation Conversations series, while being responsible about gathering. We’re going to try a new idea: one Conservation Conversation meeting a month, in which we lead a moderated discussion on topical articles that inspire, intrigue, and challenge us to grow as conservation leaders.

For September’s conversation, we have chosen the article “Modern Land Stewardship Requires a Modern Philosophy” by Marcela Maldonado. In this Op-Ed, she challenges us to explore and deconstruct how we, the environmental movement and land management organizations, both protect and provide access to land. She critically examines the long-held belief that “sound, long-term preservation and stewardship of natural areas requires limiting access by the public.” She does this through the lens of defining “access” and which communities get to enjoy the benefits of nature. If you are unclear of how to go about engaging new and diverse users on your conservation land and trails while still soundly managing your land, this will surely be an article of interest to you.

Marcela has graciously agreed to join us for this conversation. We encourage you to follow this link, read the article, and submit questions you might have for the author to us ( by Sept 7. We’ll summarize these and pass them along to her ahead of the meeting so we can have an impactful discussion. Live questions will be considered as well, as time permits. Please pre-register HERE for this Zoom discussion, to be held on Thursday, September 17 from 5:00-6:30pm. 

In addition to this scheduled Conservation Conversation, we are calling on you for upcoming discussion ideas. What recent articles or topics have you come across that you’d like to share and discuss with the group? Submit to us your ideas and articles, and we may choose one for an upcoming virtual conversation. We thank you in advance for your participation.

This Conservation Conversation is possible thanks to a grant from the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts.

About the author:
Marcela Maldonado is a land steward for the Nature Conservancy in New York. She majored in biology and graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 2011. Since graduation her career has taken her from habitat restoration in California to land trust stewardship in Massachusetts and finally preserve management in New York. She is a member of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Next Generation Advisory Council and founding board member of TerraCorps, an AmeriCorps program based in Lowell MA, where she serves as chair. She will start graduate school this fall at the CUNY Graduate Center Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences program. When not busy at work, school, or volunteering, Marcela hosts the Woke in the Woods podcast discussing the outdoor and environmental field from a womxn and POC perspective. She also enjoys painting and going on hikes. Born in Pasaje, Ecuador, she grew up in NYC and lives in Westchester County, NY with her husband Ben.