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ATA's Michelle Doerr Graduates From Groundbreaking New Effort To Train Next Generation Of Conservation Leaders

Washington, D.C. – Michelle Doerr, ATA’s director of archery and bowhunting programs, recently graduated from the National Conservation Leadership Institute, an intense seven-month experience to address one of the nation’s most significant conservation challenges-preparing and retaining leaders. Doerr is one of 36 chosen for the second class that culminated in April 2008.

In the next 10 years, nearly one-third of today’s natural resource leaders will retire. According to research conducted in 2004, about 77 percent of state fish and wildlife agency senior leadership will retire by 2015, and more than half of federal conservation leaders would have retired by the end of 2007.

“It is a huge honor to be part of this outstanding leadership program, especially to be chosen among the nation’s top conservation professionals,” said Doerr. “With the help of the Institute, it is possible that the conservation legacy created by many of today’s leaders will continue.”

The National Conservation Leadership Institute was created to better equip tomorrow’s conservation leaders in the latest leadership thinking and practice, and each Fellow learns from the nation’s most influential conservation leaders and leadership experts including Harvard’s Kennedy School of Leadership professor Marty Linsky, co-author of the book, Leadership on the Line. Through the Institute, 21 state fish and wildlife employees, 6 federal conservation agency employees, 1 industry employee and 8 nongovernmental agency employees worked together over the past seven months on priority leadership challenges and solutions.

“This year, from all across the nation and from the potential hundreds of natural resource related conservation organizations, 36 Fellows were selected through a competitive process to participate in this year’s world class leadership experience,” says Steve Williams, Chairman of the Institute board and President of the Wildlife Management Institute. “Those selected represented a diverse mix of people and perspectives from across the country and across organizational boundaries. We believe that the Institute will have powerful results.”

In Fall 2007, the 36 Fellows conquered the Institute’s intense 10-day residency at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. In late April, the Fellows re-convened at Big Cedar Lodge in Ridgedale, Missouri to present the results of their five-month leadership challenge projects where they had individually experimented with their learning from the Fall and carried out real, in-the-trenches applications for their respective organizations.

The ATA nominated Doerr – who joined the ATA staff in 2003 — for the NCLI program because of her past achievements in research and management as well as her current work with community leaders, and county, state and federal wildlife agencies to develop community archery and bowhunting programs nationwide. As part of her fellowship, Doerr further developed the ATA’s Community Archery Program (CAP), which has been and will continue to be a primary focus this year.

Offered each year to a select group of approximately 36 individuals identified by their nominating organizations as “high potentials,” the Institute is by no measure only a training program. Each Fellow was chosen for potential to build effective coalitions, lead organizational change, and deliver results; as well as for their work experience and goals.

Executive Director of the Institute, Dr. Sally Guynn, says, “Training alone is insufficient to develop the extraordinary leadership called for in our uncertain times. The Institute is a unique, comprehensive learning experience designed to challenge assumptions, teach skills, facilitate networking, and strengthen confidence. It is not a redundant program; it is a remarkable experience for preparing an extraordinary leadership capacity for the future.”

The National Conservation Leadership Institute is supported by the nation’s most passionate conservation interests. Sponsors include: The Keith Campbell Foundation for the Environment, The Weatherby Foundation, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies among others.

About The National Conservation Leadership Institute

The National Conservation Leadership Institute is a non-profit, multi-organizational effort with the single purpose of providing a world class experience for developing extraordinary leaders in natural resource conservation. The National Conservation Leadership Institute does not discriminate according to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, marital status, military status or any other category protected by applicable federal, state and local laws.

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Kevin Paulson

Kevin Paulson is the Founder and CEO of His passion for Hunting began at the age of 5 hunting alongside of his father. Kevin has followed his dreams through outfitting, conservation work, videography and hunting trips around the world.

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