Land Protection Tools & Techniques


Applications are now closed. Thank you for your interest!

Dates: Thursdays, 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. from September 12 - November 14, 2024 online and an in-person weekend retreat November 8th - 10th

Cost:  $350. Scholarships are available.

Target Audience:  Anyone interested in pursuing land protection as a career, whether or not enrolled in an academic program. Upper level students are encouraged to apply. UMass affiliation not required. College credit may be available through home institution.

Application Process: The course will be limited to 25 participants and chosen through a competitive application process. A goal of the course is to increase pathways into environmental professions for people whose identities have historically been under represented.

Application Deadline:  May 15, 2024.

View a recording of the April 11 information session

Land conservation accomplishes many goals, including habitat protection, climate change mitigation, working land protection, and urban greening. Massachusetts has a long history of conservation and an abundance of government bodies and nonprofits that are active in the arena. But even as support and funding for land protection has increased dramatically in recent years, a shortage of trained professionals to carry out conservation transactions has slowed progress. This course is offered to individuals at any career level and upper level students from all Massachusetts institutions of higher education interested in learning the nuts and bolts of land conservation transactions for professional application in order to grow the conservation workforce and increase the pace of conservation across the Commonwealth. UMass graduate students are able to take the course for UMass credit.

Course framework: This is a hybrid class, with nine weekly webinars led by different conservation professionals from across Massachusetts, and an in-person weekend retreat at The WIldlands Trust Stewardship Training Center in South Plymouth, MA. Paul Catanzaro, UMass Professor and State Extension Forester, and Christa Collins, former Director of Land Protection at Sudbury Valley Trustees, will serve as facilitators for the course and as points-of-contact for students. 

Each webinar is two hours, with a short break in the middle, and may include ½ hour breakout sessions in small groups. The retreat, at the Wildlands Trust Stewardship Training Center in Plymouth, MA, will begin Friday evening, November 8 and conclude midday Sunday, November 10. Participants who complete homework assignments and a final project and attend the weekend retreat will be eligible to receive a certificate of completion at the conclusion of the course. It is the organizers' expectation that students will attend all sessions. If space is available, others who may wish to audit the class may do so, but will not receive the certificate and will not be required to complete assignments outside the webinars. Certificate recipients will be entitled to free admission at the 2025 Mass Land Conservation Conference. 

Course goals: Upon completion of this course, participants will understand:

  1. What organizations and entities are qualified to protect land and how;
  2. Importance of personal relationships and social capital in land protection;
  3. Strategies for prioritizing land for protection;
  4. Specific tools and techniques that protect land;
  5. Basics of budgeting and fundraising for land projects, including forecasting stewardship costs;
  6. How to ensure sound transactions (due diligence);
  7. Importance of community engagement and communication;
  8. How to manage and document a conservation transaction.

Land Protection Tools & Techniques is a selective course.  Applications will be reviewed for applicant experience, whether academic, volunteer, or professional, and interest in pursuing professional work in conservation.

If you are interested, please complete this application.