Fellowship Handbook

EcoLeaders' online tutorial is designed specifically for EcoLeaders Fellows, Advisors, Verifiers, and Grant Processors, serving as an introduction to the National Wildlife Federation and the EcoLeaders Fellowship program.

In addition to reviewing the following information, you can learn from other successful campus efforts in the Greening Projects section, and through various EcoLeaders publications.

Tutorial Topics:

  • Your Role as EcoLeaders Fellow
  • The Roles of the Fellowship Project Advisor and Grant Processor
  • The Role of the Fellowship Program Coordinator
  • Staying the Course—Reporting Requirements
  • Documenting Your Project
  • Networking Among Current and Alumni Fellows
  • Educating and Engaging Your Campus and Community
  • Publicizing Your Project
  • Supplementing Your Project Budget
  • National Wildlife Federation 101
  • Tapping Into National Wildlife Federation Resources and Expertise
  • Advancing Your Career—Activist Development
  • Project Update Examples
  • Questions, Comments, Suggestions

Your Role as a National Wildlife Federation EcoLeaders Fellow (back to top)

As a representative of the National Wildlife Federation's EcoLeaders program and your school, it is important to be mindful of the criteria and attributes upon which you have been selected. Your role as a Fellow is one of an ambassador. Fellows are not only responsible for seeing their project through to completion, but in educating campus and community members about global warming and greenhouse gas emissions reductions issues. Fellows should leverage their efforts by strengthening awareness of campus greening, while identifying additional outreach and funding resources. Such communication and networking is necessary on all levels—among students, faculty, staff, administrators, press contacts, and community members. (To learn more about your role as an ambassador for the National Wildlife Federation, read the National Wildlife Federation 101 and Tapping Into the National Wildlife Federation Resources sections, below.)

Stretching beyond the campus grounds and your educational experience, the Fellowship program provides you with the opportunity to strengthen your skills and real-world know-how. As demonstrated by previous Fellows, this experience empowers participants to fine-tune leadership skills that will advance our world toward a sustainable future. For example, upon completion of their Fellowships, Panama Bartholomy began working with the California governor's Sustainable Building Task Force, and Karyn Stockdale began working with the Trust for Public Land in New Mexico.

However, fellows are not restricted to studying or working within the environmental community. It is vital that leaders with an environmental conscience connect with all sectors of the workforce. Therefore, as you embark on your project and engage others in your efforts, be open to all possibilities, discussions and alliances.

The Roles of the National Wildlife Federation Fellowship Project Advisor and Grant Processor (back to top)

As signatories to your project proposal, your project Advisor and Grant Processor are well positioned to support and advance your efforts. In addition to providing guidance on achieving your project objectives and on-campus functions, the signatories have an understanding of campus politics, as well as credibility to function within the environment. Cultivating these relationships can take the form of weekly or monthly meetings (highlighting achievements, discussing barriers and outlining next steps), carbon copying on bi-monthly updates to the EcoLeaders program, and engaging them in your educational outreach activities. The signatories might also have direct lines of communication with senior-level administrators, local project resources, campus or community press and other funding sources.

The Role of the National Wildlife Federation's EcoLeaders Fellowship Program Coordinator (back to top)

The Fellowship Coordinator is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the Fellowship program: working with the review committee to determine grant awards; processing grant agreements and payments; ensuring networking among current and alumni Fellows; collecting press coverage; ensuring the completion of your project objectives; and most importantly, documenting the results through our EcoLeaders Yearbook. (See Staying the Course—Reporting Requirements for more information.)

The Coordinator is also available to assist to the extent each Fellow sees fit. For example, one need not wait to submit a bi-monthly report to seek feedback. Fellows have a direct line of communication to the National Wildlife Federation and EcoLeaders program staff through the Coordinator. From advice on navigating campus policies to coordinating an event, the Coordinator is willing and able to assist. In addition to connecting current Fellows to previous Fellows and other campus greening contacts, the National Wildlife Federation also has a strong network of activists throughout the country. These contacts can assist Fellows by providing anything from technical assistance to outreach support to volunteer support. At the completion of your Fellowship, you will be asked to do the same.

Staying the Course—Reporting Requirements (back to top)

Fellows are required to submit bi-monthly updates to the Fellowship Coordinator on set dates, as noted in your Grant Agreement. We also strongly encourage you to carbon-copy your project Advisor, Verifier and Grant Processor on your efforts. Project updates do a number of things: they keep Fellows on track with the project objectives; they maintain a working knowledge of your efforts among EcoLeaders staff, your project Advisor, Verifier, and Grant Processor; and they inform other campus greening stewards of your current initiatives.

To that end, submitting comprehensive yet concise updates by the due dates is critical. Project updates are most easily written based upon your original project objectives (as outlined in your Grant Agreement) and need only be two to three pages in length. This is your opportunity to describe what progress you've made, new opportunities exposed, unexpected barriers faced and areas where guidance and support is needed. Such reporting enables the Fellowship Coordinator to provide sufficient assistance, and to modify the project objectives as needed. As with the Fellowship proposals, remember to support your notes with specifics (names, dates, numbers, etc.), verify your grammar, insert page numbers and spell check. The Fellowship Coordinator provides timely feedback on all bi-monthly reports.

Documenting Your Project (back to top)

At the completion of a National Wildlife Federation EcoLeaders Fellowship, each Fellow is required to submit a final report (as noted in your Grant Agreement). An outline, content guidelines and examples are detailed in the Campus Ecology Case Study Database. Bi-monthly reports provide the basis upon which a final report can be crafted. In addition to noting funding support and media coverage, Fellows are required to document their efforts through photos. Don't underestimate the power of a picture—it can paint a thousand words! As part of the fellowship requirements, please provide the National Wildlife Federation with a minimum of eight high-resolution digital action images. Include captions for each photo, names of people depicted and photo release information for each photo. EcoLeaders staff are always looking for engaging pictures to feature in our publications, newsletters, website and other sources.

Networking Among Current and Alumni EcoLeaders Fellows (back to top)

Current and alumni Fellows—your campus greening cohorts—are a very important resource. Former Fellows are able to share their experiences and "20/20" hindsight, while current Fellows can brainstorm ideas and creative opportunities.

Educating and Engaging Your Campus and Community—Coalition Building (back to top)

Education and awareness are key elements to building a broad base of support for your project. As explained in the Fellowship Grant Agreement, all Fellows are required to conduct educational outreach—in the form of a presentation, training session, walking tours, etc. Opportunities exist at campus and community fairs, Earth Day events, other student organization meetings, during class, as well as with the local K-12 schools. Engaging and educating youth will provide additional weight to your efforts. Such events may be a one-time affair or conducted over a series of weeks or months.

Invite diverse campus representatives to your workshop or presentation—president, provost, chief of facilities, department heads, faculty, staff, student union board, other campus organizations, campus newspaper and, of course, your project Advisor, Verifier and Grant Processor. Preparation is fundamental; remember your role as a National Wildlife Federation EcoLeaders Fellow and be sure to acknowledge those supporting your efforts (National Wildlife Federation, other funders, and volunteers). As a precursor to such efforts, Fellows are strongly encouraged to share notice of their grant award with the college or university president, as well as other top-level administrators. Inviting their engagement early on may provide additional weight to your project as you seek to build awareness and support.

In addition to educating campus and community stakeholders about your project, it is important to engage others in your efforts. Building coalitions is a great way to harness people's energy, to strengthen your initiative and to enrich the quality of your efforts. There are a variety of ways to solicit support, from class announcements (not simply for your enrolled classes—think big!) to posters and campus newspapers. Sign-up sheets should also be available at campus or community workshops, presentations or tabling events.

When planning an event or fundraising activity, network and engage other campus organizations. For example, the business fraternity, multicultural student groups or student union board may have connections and resources that may double your efforts—and vice versa! Diverse coalition building is also a motivating force for educating and engaging others.

Publicizing Your Project—Press Outreach (back to top)

Speaking about your project to students, staff, faculty, administrators and members of the press (campus or local news sources) generates additional exposure, interest and coverage, all of which are helpful in advancing your efforts. Publicity can be formal (e.g. press releases, media calls) or informal (e.g. engaging others in discussions). Don't wait until your project is "finished" to seek exposure. By publicizing your efforts early on, you may identify campus allies, volunteers, outreach sources and funding support.

As with educating and engaging your campus and community, preparation is fundamental, remember your role as a National Wildlife Federation EcoLeaders Fellow, and be sure to acknowledge those supporting your efforts (National Wildlife Federation, other funders and volunteers). Press coverage also provides an opportunity to engage in your project, by citing opportunities and contact information. Please provide the National Wildlife Federation with at least two articles in campus and local press on your project. This sample press release and template press release* can be modified to suit your project needs. Contact the Fellowship Coordinator for a Word version of the press release and to review all press releases before distribution.

*This press release is a PDF document. For PDF help, click here.

Supplementing Your Project Budget—Fundraising (back to top)

In addition to the funds from the National Wildlife Federation, Fellows are requested to secure additional funding sources. There are myriad ways to generate revenue—from the innovative to the traditional. For example:

  • Matching support is provided to double the funds secured by one source.
  • In-kind support is quite valuable in terms of office or event space, telephone and mail services or other needed materials.
  • Local businesses may also be interested in providing coupons or discounts as incentives for volunteer support or awards for a campus competition.
  • View the EcoLeaders Yearbook and Fellowship project descriptions to learn about funding sources identified by other campus greening stewards.

National Wildlife Federation 101 (back to top)

The National Wildlife Federation's mission is to inspire Americans to protect wildlife for our children's future. Learn more about the organization you represent through your Fellowship.

The National Wildlife Federation has nine field offices throughout the country, located in Alaska, Michigan, Texas, Vermont, Montana, Washington, Colorado, Georgia and Washington, D.C. The field offices are responsible for implementing the National Wildlife Federation's conservation initiatives, all of which meet local needs. Field Educators and Regional Representatives working at the field offices are excellent resources. They can provide you with expertise and contacts, and they can help strengthen awareness about your efforts. Contact the Fellowship Coordinator or the field office in your region to explore the possibilities.

National Wildlife Federation state affiliates are autonomous statewide organizations that support the purposes and objectives of the National Wildlife Federation. These 51 state affiliate organizations provide an opportunity for current and alumni Fellows to engage in activities at the local level, strengthening their leadership skills. This type of engagement may lead to volunteer or job opportunities.

Tapping Into National Wildlife Federation Resources and Expertise (back to top)

Do certain elements of your project feel overwhelming? Not sure where to begin? Maybe you're interested in receiving feedback from those who work on similar topics?

Beyond the resources and connections of the EcoLeaders program, the National Wildlife Federation has a plethora of other conservation and education programs that may facilitate your efforts, providing resources and networking.

Our environmental education efforts include our the Backyard Wildlife Habitat™ program, Schoolyard Habitats® program, youth and teen programs and more.

Our other conservation programs address habitat protection and restoration, and species recovery.

The National Wildlife Federation also produces a variety of magazines. Spring 2000 EcoLeaders Fellow Lara DuMond was featured as a "Conservation Hero" in the April/May 2001 issue of National Wildlife magazine.

On the National Wildlife Federation's website, taking action can be as easy as a few clicks. Learn about the "hot topics" on America's conservation agenda, and check out our action tools, including ways to email your state and federal lawmakers.

There are lots of ways to get outdoors and enjoy nature through the National Wildlife Federation's educational and action-oriented outdoor adventure programs across the country and around the world.

Membership programs at the National Wildlife Federation provide a variety of ways for our diverse constituents to demonstrate their commitment to commonsense conservation. Learn how you can offer support. Or you can go shopping for nature gifts, books, fine art and "green" products; a portion of the proceeds directly supports the National Wildlife Federation's education and conservation programs.

Advancing Your Career—Activist Development (back to top)

The National Wildlife Federation's job opportunities page lists internships and full-time positions available in our headquarters office and nine field offices, located throughout the country. Opportunities at the National Wildlife Federation suit the desires of a broad range of professionals—from education and conservation, to fundraising, communications, and law. National Wildlife Federation internships provide a great opportunity for EcoLeaders Fellows to advance their conservation career, while maintaining and strengthening their relationship with the National Wildlife Federation. Contact us to learn more about these opportunities. Also check out National Wildlife Federation 101 to learn about other opportunities to advance your career on a local level through National Wildlife Federation state affiliate organizations.

Project Update Examples (back to top)

Example #1

Samantha Weaver
Kalamazoo College
Update 1
April 27, 2007

The Green K-Plan


  1. Securing Academic Credit: I have met with my advisor, Dr. Girdler, about obtaining academic credit for the project as my Senior Individualized Project (SIP), which all Kalamazoo College students are required to undertake in their senior year, in Environmental Studies/Biology Department. I am currently researching solutions implemented at other schools in the hope that they can be included in the recommendation section of my report.
  2. Engaging the Student Body: students attended the community-based "Step It Up 2007" event at a local park. I set up a table at the event with letters in support of global warming legislation directed at Michigan congressmen/women and senators. I have begun networking with student organizations inclined to sponsor environmental initiatives by attending meetings and sending out emails: College Democrats, EnvOrg, and the "Environmental and Sustainability Pre-Guild"
  3. GHG Inventory objectives: I have met with the Director of Facilities Management and together we are working to select a base year from which to begin the greenhouse gas inventory. I will have data on direct sources of emissions on campus by early next week.
  4. The Green K-Plan Coalition, and Student and Staff Support: students involved in the relatively new "Environmental and Sustainability Pre-Guild" have been the most receptive to my project. Guilds are a new concept on campus as of this year, and are designed to involve students, faculty and alumni in campus issues. I initially intended to create a new student organization, but this one has emerged as a very viable 'coalition' of people interested in reducing campus emissions. Some of our student-based activities will take place this weekend, at the college’s annual "Spring Fling" event. Our plans are as follows:
  • A light bulb exchange at the event, in which students will receive free compact florescent bulbs in exchange for incandescent light bulbs if they answer a "Sustainability Quiz" question correctly. The National Wildlife Federation grant money was used in purchasing these bulbs.
  • Students will have the opportunity to write their ideas for a "green" campus on a sign to be displayed at the event.
  • At the suggestion and support of faculty members, a petition calling on the college president to sign the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment will be available for students to sign
  • We will conduct a letter-writing campaign directed at Michigan senators and congressmen/women in support of global warming legislation
  • I will be dressed as a wind turbine, and a fellow student will be a smokestack in an effort to recreate the infamous EcoLeaders wind turbine/smokestack battle. Hopefully this will attract students to our table at the event.

Future tasks will include recruiting more students to join the Environmental and Sustainability Pre-Guild. The majority of the current members are studying abroad next year. A second and more major undertaking will be the greenhouse gas inventory. As mentioned previously, I plan to get a good start on that at the beginning of next week.

Example #2

Charlie Forbes
Rhodes College
Update #2
June 20, 2008

The Power of Solar Energy

This second update does not differ significantly from the last update because I am home for the summer, but there are a few changes. While I am gone for the summer a faculty member from physical plant is monitoring the panels and making sure that they are functioning properly. As of March 28, the materials for our panels were delivered, and were installed on April 10.


  • My abstract for the "The Power of Solar Energy" was accepted into URCAS (Undergraduate Research and Creative Arts Symposium), which was on April 25.
  • The panels have been installed and are powering the display case in the lobby of the physics building which includes information on solar energy, a pamphlet on my project, and recognition of the National Wildlife Federation for funding.
  • My poster presentation for URCAS will include pictures of the panel, information on the mechanics behind how photovoltaic cells work, the short and long term goals of incorporating alternative energy into the Rhodes and surround community, as well as recognition of funding provided by the National Wildlife Federation that made “The Power of Solar Energy” possible.
  • This symposium is recognized in the state of Tennessee

Geology 214 (The teacher for this class- Environmental Geology- is my advisor for the solar project, Carol Ekstrom)

  • On Tuesday April 1st, myself and two other students in my Environmental Geology class constructed and taught a lab on how to assemble a solar iPod charger.
  • The goal of the project was to introduce a more hands on experience with solar panels (in addition to the large panels that will be installed), and considering that a majority of people now own an iPod or any other mp3 device, and put concept of renewable energy into their everyday lives.
  • The write up included a lot of information on solar power, as well as information on direct current compared to alternating current. (Attached is the lab that we wrote and taught in class)

"The Power of Solar Energy"

  • As I discussed above, the panels are installed and are working very well
  • I have been active with the EPC (Environmental Planning Cooperative- the group on campus that implements the President’s Climate Commitment) in order to publicize my project
  • I have given my presentation on my solar project to the Geology 214 class, the EPC, and to Cypress Middle School


  • For the month of February a picture of myself, along with a description of my solar project was on the front page of the school newspaper

Questions, Comments, Suggestions (back to top)

The Fellowship Coordinator welcomes your thoughts and ideas on this tutorial. Has this been informative and helpful? Is there a topic you would like to see covered? What additional resources would enhance your project and experience? Please contact us!


Get Involved

Where We Work

More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. The National Wildlife Federation is on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 53 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.

Learn More