Becoming A Conservation Leader

12 weeks (+ break for Christmas)

The nature conservation movement is a unique community of amazing people who all want to make a difference, to protect and preserve our wildlife and the environment it depends on. We are all aware of the grave ecological crisis the planet is facing, and if we are going to do anything to help nature make a comeback then we urgently need entrepreneurial conservation leaders who think differently, communicate engagingly and have a bold and proactive vision. You have the potential to become one of those leaders and we hope this programme will help you to, at the very least, gain the mindset you will need to tap into that potential.

Becoming A Conservation Leader is a unique collection of thought-provoking opinion pieces – some written, some audio and a few videos, as well as reflection exercises and discussion points. Week by week we’ll explore the traits of what we believe makes a truly effective leader, and how these skills are relevant for a career in conservation. We’ll also direct you to further reading and other relevant material. Study materials will be added to the website on a weekly basis so that you can read, listen, watch them and complete the exercises at your own pace.  There will be plenty of opportunity to interact with the group; we’d love you to contribute your thoughts and opinions, pose questions to the group and participate in the discussion each week.
The nature conservation material is drawn from the combined experience, thoughts and reflections of Dr Tim Mackrill and Becky Park – our Founder and Programme Manager. Aside from his role with the Osprey Leadership Foundation, Tim leads the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation’s work in England, including the pioneering project to reintroduce White-tailed Eagles to the Isle of Wight, and he has been the driving force behind the successful reintroduction of Ospreys to Poole Harbour. Tim is also well known for his work for the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust where he managed the Rutland Osprey Project. Before joining the Osprey Leadership Foundation Becky also worked at Rutland Water Nature Reserve, where over the past ten years she undertook a range of people engagement roles.
We’ve developed this programme with our Chair of Trustees and Leadership Guide, Barry Dore. Over the past nineteen years, Barry has worked with thousands of people (including hundreds of leaders at all levels within The Wildlife Trusts movement). Barry shares his comprehensive understanding of the key traits of great leaders in his book Lead Like Mary, and podcasts Leadership Reflections; these traits underpin the themes in each unit of Becoming A Conservation Leader. Week by week we’ll explore how the traits of a truly effective leader can set you apart as someone who can and will make positive change in the nature conservation movement.

This twelve-week, online programme is aimed at those in the early stages of their career in conservation, and those looking to improve their leadership skills in entry and middle level roles in conservation or related organisations. Our prerequisites are that you are 18 or over, and that you can commit to the duration of the programme.  You should already be involved in conservation work either as a student, regularly volunteering or paid employment. It is completely free of charge – all you need is access to a computer and the internet so that you can access our website, and an email address we can contact you on. If you would like to join our weekly online discussion you will also need a Facebook account to join our private group where you can chat with other participants, ask advice and strike up discussion throughout the programme.
At the start of the programme there is a meet-up to allow participants to get to know the OLF team and each other, we meet again halfway through to see how you’re getting on with the material and we hold a reflection and networking event at the end of the programme. These events take place via Zoom and we encourage everyone to attend if possible to get the most out of the programme.

If this sounds like it’s for you, complete our registration form by clicking “Register Here” on the top right of this page. 


Becoming A Conservation Leader
1st November 2021 –
9th February 2022

“The OLF 12 week course has been a delight, and I couldn’t recommend it enough. The content touches upon so many relevent, yet too often neglected topics, that will have you reflecting on your experiences in a different light. As for the team, they are genuine, kind and have so much wisdom to share – I couldn’t be more grateful for their support” Jane

2021 Participant

The Osprey Leadership Course was really interesting and accessible. New online material went up every week and was presented through podcasts, blogs and self-guided exercises that you could complete in your own time.  I was lucky to be on this course with several colleagues and we often chatted about the techniques and approaches to leading that we learnt.  The networking event was a really useful and enjoyable day, with the bonus of a walk round a nature reserve and some tasty soup. I liked meeting other people in the conservation sector and seeing how they deal with the issues that we all face. Barry, Becky and Tim have put a lot in to this course and I would definitely recommend it. Sophie (2019 participant)

South West Warden , Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust

I really enjoyed the course content; as someone looking to move back in to the conservation field, it helped boost my confidence, and enabled me to recognise the leadership skills that I’m already using, in addition to making me think about my leadership style, and the type of leader I’d like to become.
The final networking day was excellent. I really great day with like-minded people, and I thought some engaging and interesting conversations.
Amanda (2019 Participant)

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