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Chief Christiansen, Leslie Weldon share FS values, career experience at Women in Conservation seminar

WASHINGTON, DC—The Leadership of Women in Conservation Seminar brought together women who work in biodiversity conservation, forest management, protected area management, climate change and sustainable development of rural communities. The 10-day seminar focused on developing both technical and leadership skills. Participants spent time in Colorado at Rocky Mountain National Park and in Washington, D.C., meeting with influential women who work in natural resources management.

Two of those influential women were Chief Christiansen and Leslie Weldon, senior executive for Work Environment and Performance. On Oct. 28, the two spoke to 17 women from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru about the values and priorities of the USDA Forest Service, as well as also reflecting on their own careers and lives.

Chief Christiansen speaks with a seminar group.
Chief Christiansen visits with participants at the Leadership of Women in Conservation seminar in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy Erin Hicks, Colorado State University.


The seminar was supported by Colorado State University’s Center for Protected Area Management and Forest Service International Programs. This initiative is part of a larger program supported by the Forest Service cooperation with Mexico, which for the past three years has supported women’s empowerment by working with female firefighters from Mexico and throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. The program also hosts a yearly workshop with the Coronado National Forest. Additionally, it has supported women’s efforts to receive technical training, has built a network of women working in fire from around Latin America and has provided training for partners in Mexico on gender mainstreaming and unconscious bias.