NGLI was established to equip conservation district leaders with the tools to become national leaders through personal, civic and organizational leadership development. The program was created in response to a high demand for leadership instruction for conservation district leaders facing the challenges of a changing world.

Officially conceived in 2018 and launched in 2019, the program is a first-of-its-kind endeavor. The important early planning and development by the advisory committee (listed on page 13) laid the cornerstones for the program goals and approaches. The NGLI program had a momentous launch of the first application period in August 2019 at the NACD Summer Meeting in Santa Fe, N.M. The response from our nation’s conservation district leaders was quite remarkable, with an impressive collection of high caliber and exceptional individuals submitting applications to be considered for the program.

The entries reflected a broad range of backgrounds and motivations. In December 2019, seven local leaders who shared genuine enthusiasm and wisdom in their applications were selected for the inaugural cohort. During their four sessions in 2020 and a capstone session in 2021, the NGLI participants are faced with challenges of transitioning their work to meet the shifting needs of local conservation priorities. The momentum for the program continues to grow, and NCF is eager to announce the impact made on the 2020 cohort, as well as the application period for the 2021 program.

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