Leigh Whelpton

Leigh Whelpton
Program Director at Conservation Finance Network
Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, Master of Environmental Science, 2012

Leigh Whelpton leads the Network’s (CFN) effort to accelerate land and resource conservation by expanding the use of innovative funding and financing strategies. By sponsoring intensive trainings and supporting a growing number of public, private, and nonprofit professionals, CFN helps to increase the financial resources deployed for conservation. As Program Director, Leigh has spearheaded the development of new trainings and workshops while building a network to enable interaction and exchange among practitioners. Prior to Island Press, Leigh managed professional training programs and applied conservation initiatives for the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia. Leigh holds an M.E.Sc. from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a B.S. (Hons.) from the University of California at Berkeley.

Authored Articles
Everyone learns in meetings - but what can we learn about how to run meetings?

How to Bring People Together to Unlock Scaled Conservation Impact

When we talk about the scale and complexity of intractable social and environmental problems, we are speaking of issues that require collective action. These challenges demand that we step beyond individual mission statements and business models to craft strategies, chart paths forward, and unlock scaled impact—together. A new guide draws...
Oregon's Zumwalt Prairie, courtesy Julius Pasay of the Climate Trust

(Courtesy Julius Pasay of the Climate Trust.) When delicate landscapes like Oregon's Zumwalt Prairie comprise the asset, the off-take partner needs to pass rigorous review. 

Who's Going to Pay? Due Diligence in Conservation Finance Starts With the Offtake Agreement

This op/ed builds off the Enduring Arches: Building Projects for Impact report. Gordian Knot Strategies developed that report in collaboration with the Conservation Finance Network and with the generous support of the Walton Family Foundation. The full report can be accessed here. This op/ed originally ran on ImpactAlpha...
Corn field

Investment Capital Can Join Forces with NRCS: Part 2

How might the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) better leverage private capital to support its mission? Could certain conservation practices generate financial returns and attract investment? In this interview, Ricardo Bayon and Alex Eidson, a partner and an analyst at Encourage Capital, share insight and ideas from their new report...
Rooster

Investment Capital Can Join Forces with NRCS: Part 1

How might the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) better leverage private capital to support its mission? Could certain conservation practices generate financial returns and attract investment? In this interview, Ricardo Bayon and Alex Eidson, a partner and an analyst at Encourage Capital, share insight and ideas from their new report...
Herding sheep image

Cultivating Market Maturity Will Unlock Billions for Conservation

What if the development of these approaches could be responsibly accelerated? What if we could shorten the time it takes for environmental markets and investment vehicles to be defined, piloted, scaled, and matured—without cutting corners? The Network’s recent report, “Private Capital and Working Lands Conservation: A Market Development...

Report: Private Capital for Working Lands Conservation

The purpose of this new report from Network is to showcase how environ­mental markets do not emerge in a fully functional state but are built incrementally. It also shows how public, private and philanthropic groups each have unique roles to play in con­tributing to this market development over...