Leigh Whelpton

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

Leigh Whelpton leads the Conservation Finance 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
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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, “NRCS and Investment Capital: Investing in America Together.” This is the second article of a two-part series.
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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, “NRCS and Investment Capital: Investing in America Together.” This is the first article in a two-part series.
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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 Conservation Finance Network’s recent report, “Private Capital and Working Lands Conservation: A Market Development Framework,” responds to these questions by translating practitioner insight into a framework and common language in the hope of speeding solutions to market development. The report attempts to describe how stakeholders could better delineate their roles and focus their money and authority. It is meant to help stakeholders set realistic...

Report: Private Capital for Working Lands Conservation

The purpose of this new report from Conservation Finance 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 time. Click here to view the report. Attempts to recruit private capital into conservation often start out as a cluster of public, private, nonprofit and philanthropic groups all working to try to get a new environmental good or service appropriately measured, valued, bought and/or sold. The most promising business models...