Emerging and Innovative Environmental Leadership

by Environmental Leadership Program
Megan Ward
Megan Ward

With a fresh layer of snow on the ground, ELP's 2010 Eastern Regional Fellows met at Light on the Hill Retreat Center in Van Etten, NY for their third and final retreat. The retreat focused on two core training pieces, the development of partnerships and collaborations, and a day long training on strength based leadership.

ELP Senior Fellow and Board Trustee Kevin Bryan lead the partnership and collaboration training, drawing on his experience as a mediator at the Meridian Institute and his participation in the USCAP project in particular. Fellows shared stories of their own success and challenges while participating in coalitions and other programmatic collaborations.

One interesting outcome of this training, which both the Eastern Region and New England Region, completed was the collaboration that resulted between Karen Purcell (ERN 2010), Project Leader for Celebrate Birds at the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology, Ogonnaya Dotson-Newman (ERN 2010), Senior Environmental Health Coordinator at WEACT, and Sarah Dunagan (NERN 2010), Staff Scientist at the Silent Spring Institute. Karen and Ogonnaya met Sarah at ELP’s cross-regional retreat which brought together our Eastern and New England Network Classes. Out of discussions that began during their retreat, and extended through emails and conference calls, the trio created an ELP Webinar, Translating Environmentalism: Strategies and Tools to Create Healthy Communities which focused on the role of community based participatory research. It was fascinating to see how an ornithologist, environmental justice activist and breast cancer researcher recognized the similarities of their tools across disciplines and created a public program to showcase their success. 

During our second day of training, Fellows had in-depth conversations about their personal strengths and how these were or were not currently being utilized in their jobs. Fellows developed strategies for returning to work and engaging their supervisors and staffs about strength based leadership. For example, Megan Ward, the Programs Manager at the Nanticoke Watershed Alliance, discussed with the class how her organization had doubled in size from two to four in the last few months. Upon returning from her retreat Megan scheduled a time to meet with her Executive Director (also an ELP Senior Fellow) about scheduling a day for the staff to take a leadership assessment, discuss their results and strategize how the organization could best align the strengths of its staff with the tasks and projects that needed to be completed.

The retreat concluded with Fellows graduating into ELP's Senior Fellowship Program and beginning the process of visioning for their future together. Though it is unlikely that all 15 members of the class will be in the same room together anytime soon, they have already begun making plans for future meetings and know that each can be counted on for support, encouragement and perspective as they move forward in their careers.

With all 29 of ELP's 2010 Fellows now in the Senior Fellows Program, we turn our eyes to our 2011 programming. Applications for our 2011 program will be accepted through April 1. 

Thank you for the tremendous support you have provided to the Environmental Leadership Program in supporting our 2010 Fellows. We know each member of the program benefits tremendously from the experience and that experience just can not happen with out you! Please join us March 16th for our GlobalGiving one day challenge - we hope to raise $10,000 for scholarships for the 2011 classes and know we will be successful with your help!


Errol Mazursky

Karen Purcell and Bill Craig
Karen Purcell and Bill Craig
Zena Nelson and Jody Roberts
Zena Nelson and Jody Roberts


Peer Learning
Peer Learning

As an agile organization, ELP strives for experimenting with new programmatic ideas, new retreat formats and new ways of increasing the likelihood of partnerships and collaborations between its Fellows.


This year, ELP created its first ever cross-regional retreat which brought together the 2010 Eastern and New England Regional Networks. The retreat, which took place in Litchfield, CT, was the second of three retreats for both classes. The programmatic focus of this retreat was on increasing Fellows' capacity to use social media to increase their capacity to reach diverse constituencies, communicate with their supporters, and effectively share their stories.


"I enjoyed meeting my fellow ELP'ers. It was great to expand my network and to learn there are others in the network faced with similar issues pertaining to work and future prospects." Zena Nelson, 2010 Eastern Regional Fellow


"The opportunity to bridge new connections and refresh old ones was fantastic." Courtney Rudd, 2010 New England Fellow


Post-retreat evaluations strongly recommend that ELP continue to provide cross-regional retreats for future Fellowship Classes and we look forward to continuing the practice in 2011.

Learning through Laughter
Learning through Laughter
Expertise is in the room
Expertise is in the room


2010 New England Class
2010 New England Class

On July 22, 14 New England Leaders began their ELP Fellowship Program in Friendly Crossways Retreat Center in Harvard, MA. The first day of the 4 day retreat focused on creating community and building the foundation for the challenging two days of work focused on diversity and leading across difference. This year's diversity training has been redeveloped with the help of ELP Senior Fellow Marcelo Bonta, Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Diversity and the Environment, to incorporate more tools and actions for Fellows to bring back to their organizations, agencies and institutions. The orientation retreat concluded with sessions dedicated to the development of Fellows’ Personal Leadership Plans.

“I learned many new ways to reach out to communities my organization has not yet worked with. I also plan to apply and translate some of the tools of our diversity training to my organization’s mission statement”

Peter James, NERN 2010 Fellow



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Organization Information

Environmental Leadership Program

Location: Greenbelt, MD - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.elpnet.org
Project Leader:
Errol Mazursky
Executive Director
Greenbelt, MD United States

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