American Bird Conservancy's (ABC's) Conservation and Justice Fellowship program provides opportunities to examine and expand how we care for both birds and people. Our paid, part-time fellowships allow individuals with a wide range of backgrounds and expertise to work closely with our staff and partners on understanding how bird conservation efforts can support local communities, ensure the consideration of varied perspectives, and engage more people.

What is the goal of the Conservation and Justice Fellowships?

Effectively protecting wild birds throughout the Americas requires the creativity, dedication, and participation of far more people than are currently involved.

At ABC, we have always believed that bird conservation benefits from strong partnerships across numerous communities and groups. Conservation and Justice Fellows help us to expand and strengthen these partnerships and to illuminate varied ways of caring for birds and people. Many such ideas are already present within communities, but may be largely invisible or ignored.

Through reciprocal learning, mentoring, community engagement, and the abundant inspiration inherent in wild birds and places, we seek to provide Fellows with access to new insights and career possibilities. Over time, we believe that Fellows, ABC staff, and partners will create transformative change to benefit birds, people, and the health of our planet.

 What will Fellows do?

Fellows use community engagement and research to create engaging stories about ABC staff, partners, and the birds and places we work to protect.

Fellows must apply for specific projects that fill existing needs identified by ABC staff and partners. However, applicants are welcome to shape projects based on their own expertise and ideas.

All Fellows will learn about a specific geography, program, or partnership through a combination of interviews, meeting attendance, and research. Each Fellow will work closely with a project manager and with ABC's chief diversity officer. We will work to match each Fellow with an external mentor with experience in social justice and/or ethical storytelling.

In 2022, projects included:

  1. Pilina: Stories about People's Relationships with Hawaiian Birds
  2. Farmworkers and Pesticide Exposure
  3. Communicating Climate Justice
  4. Gender Inclusion in Preventing Species Extinction in Latin America
  5. Envisioning Conservation with Indigenous Communities on California's Central Coast
  6. Bird City and Community Engagement
  7. Indigenous Grasslands Stewardship
  8. Together for Birds Artist Residency

Who should apply?

We welcome applications from a diversity of people, including people historically excluded from biodiversity conservation.

Fellowships are available for freelance workers, consultants, current students, recent graduates, and to those with full-time positions. There are no degree requirements, but we require an interest in birds, experience in biodiversity conservation or social justice, and a passion for intersectional work. Beyond that, requirements vary by project.

Applicants need to be 21 or over. Fellows must be authorized to work in the United States; the exception to that requirement is if a Fellow is hired by one of our international partners.

What is the duration of Fellowships and when are they offered?

We launched our fellowship program in 2022 and our first eight fellows are wrapping up their projects in 2023. We hope to announce the next round of fellowship projects in early 2024. Fellows will work part time over one year, spanning from mid-2024 to mid-2025. The specific number of hours per week will vary based on each Fellow's schedule and project deadlines.

In 2023, we will offer small grants (Story Seeds) for stories exploring intersections between bird conservation and human wellbeing, including stories that could grow into future fellowship projects. Story Seeds grants are available to anyone, with preference for 2022 finalists and applicants.

Where will Fellows be located?

Most projects allow for Fellows to be based anywhere in the United States, and the majority of the work will be remote. Fellows can be based outside of the United States only if project work directly supports one of ABC's partner organizations in Latin America. For some projects, there is a preference for Fellows to be based in a specific geography or to travel to places where ABC and our partners work.

Are the Fellowships paid?

Yes. We believe that those who care for people and the planet should be compensated for their work. Awards are based on experience. In 2024, awards will probably range from $8,000 to $20,000.

How can I support Conservation and Justice Fellowships at American Bird Conservancy?

Thank you for your interest in supporting this important work! You can contribute directly ABC's Fellowship program by making a gift via our secure online form, or by contacting Naamal De Silva (

For more information about ABC's Conservation and Justice Fellowships, please contact Naamal De Silva (

Banner art: "Murmurations” by Neha Misra, 2022. Neha is a contemporary eco-folk artist, poet, and Climate Justice advocate with a deep belief in the power of human (re)imagination to create new realities.