Today’s youth are inheriting complex and mounting environmental challenges. They want to act and lead on behalf of the planet.
That’s why the National Geographic Society and The Nature Conservancy have joined forces to offer young adults from across the globe a leadership experience to equip them with the knowledge, tools and relationships to seek solutions and take action for nature.
Together, the National Geographic Society and The Nature Conservancy developed a program centered around a rigorous externship—a highly relevant training, mentoring and research experience for people ages 18-25.
The goal: intentionally create more opportunities for young people from communities traditionally underrepresented in conservation to experience and prepare for careers in conservation and exploration.
Representing more than 90 countries
Increase in level of conservation career field knowledge
More than 50 community projects have received funding
The National Geographic Society and The Nature Conservancy are hosting multiple externships each year, and they are working to secure support to include hundreds of global youth annually.
Apply online through ParagonOne, which works with the partners to recruit, guide and inspire participants.
- Freshwater and Community Conservation: Spring 2023 applications closed. Stay tuned for 2024!
- Marine and Community Conservation: Applications open March 30, 2023 for a May 29 - July 23 externship
- Fall Externship (Topic TBA): Applications open July 3, 2023 for a September 11 - November 5 externship
Join hundreds of global youth who are connecting with the National Geographic Society and The Nature Conservancy.
Addressing the complex challenges facing the world requires leaders willing to try new approaches and take risks. This partnership is designed to foster those kinds of leaders—our colleagues, partners and advocates of tomorrow.
Elevating Voices for Conservation
Morgan Foster's love of nature is connected to childhood memories—like the comforting smell of saltwater wafting through the open windows of her parents' car as they approached Virginia's Buckroe Beach near where her mother was born and raised. For much of the 20th century, Buckroe Beach was one of the only coastal recreation areas open to the local African-American community.
Morgan earned a degree in environmental sciences and a double minor in politics and English from the University of Virginia. She is working on a Masters in natural resources at Virginia Tech. She participated in the externship program in 2022. Her project—engaging with local people to learn about the past, present and future of Buckroe Beach—was inspired by her family's connection to the area. "Talking about Black history is important to me in the conservation space," she says. "Sometimes our stories aren't necessarily highlighted, and so I decided to tell this conservation story from a cultural standpoint."
Today, Morgan works full-time with TNC, coordinating with the impact finance and markets team to support conservation finance, corporate engagement and carbon markets projects. According to Morgan, "I want the things that I work on and the projects that I'm a part of to be accessible to all because conservation should be accessible to all."
What's it like to be an Extern?
Our Partner: National Geographic Society
The National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit organization that uses the power of science, exploration, education and storytelling to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world. Since 1888, National Geographic has pushed the boundaries of exploration, investing in bold people and transformative ideas, providing more than 15,000 grants for work across all seven continents, reaching three million students each year through education offerings, and engaging audiences around the globe through signature experiences, stories and content. The Nature Conservancy is proud to partner with the National Geographic Society to connect thousands of diverse young people through this collaborative, relevant and successful externship program; together, we are investing in the people who will lead conservation into the next decade.