First Light Short Course

with Lokotah Sanborn, Ellie Oldach and Peter Forbes

August 29-September 1, 2023

4 day workshop


First Light is an effort to re-learn history, recenter Indigenous voice, and return land, access, resources, and power to Wabanaki communities. Together, Wabanaki and non-native collaborators have created The Wabanaki Commission on Land & Stewardship, granted legal access to 78,000 acres for visits and gathering, and returned 965 acres (with more to come). Equally transformative, non-native organizations have committed to working collectively for Wabanaki prosperity, contributing staff time, financial resources, and technical expertise for Wabanaki-led projects.

In this short course, we delve into topics like allyship and solidarity, land access and return, respect and making amends. We’ll draw on case studies and lessons learned from First Light, as well as examples unfurling elsewhere across non-native and Indigenous worlds. The ideal audience for this course includes those who work with land-holding organizations and are actively seeking to understand how to collaborate effectively with Indigenous communities.

This is an intensive program.  There will be 6 hours of presentations and group dialogue each day. 

Learning Objectives:

  • A deeper understanding of the through line of white culture from colonization to conservation, and how colonization continues to underpin the primary tools of conservation.
  • A thorough review of the year-long educational process that inspires white dominant organizations to evolve their practices, share power, and return land.
  • A review of the new real estate tools that are emerging in conservation to share and return land.
  • An analysis of the organizing approaches that have led to collective action and the pooling of financial and human resources from among the conservation movement to directly support Indigenous prosperity.
  • A deep dive into dominant culture practices that hinder real collaboration with Indigenous communities, and those which open a path toward real allyship.
  • Dialogue among the participants: What is calling you to do this work? What are the foundations of your commitment to it?  How do you hope to be changed by it? Why is this work important to the future of conservation? How do you hope it will shift what conservation means?
  • Learn about existing examples of large-scale collective action within the conservation movement to address justice, diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Learn how land trusts fit into the land back movement


This tuition-free short course is by application, and priority will be given to First Light organizations, to land trusts, philanthropies, and landholders in New England.

This is critical information and knowledge for anyone connected to land trusts, but the ideal audience is senior staff, program managers and board members who can be leaders in the process of organizational change that is required of this work.

Group size will be limited to 20 people. Application deadline May 1.

Full workshop cost:

Room & meals (3 nights): $480.00

Tuition: This course is tuition-free and supported by New Learning Journey, the nonprofit partner of First Light and Knoll Farm.

Please apply below to be included in this year’s program

    What is the work that you do that might benefit from this workshop?*

    Why are you drawn to taking this workshop, what do you need to get from it?*

    Do you work for a specific organization or is your work connected to a specific community?*

    Thank you for taking the time to tell us about yourself. We will respond to your registration by May 1.

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