Conservation Exchange Programs

QLF’s Conservation Exchange Programs foster the exchange of knowledge, experience, and innovation across borders while promoting international cooperation between organizations and individuals facing common environmental and stewardship challenges.

International Fellows participating in QLF’s Conservation Exchange programs come from 75 countries and six regions around the world. Exchanges have focused on migratory birds, forest stewardship, protected area management and private land conservation, wildlife conservation, consensus building and collaborative conservation, environmental conflict resolution, and collaborative marine management. Exchange programs typically involve study tours, site visits, meetings with local practitioners, and ample time for ongoing discussion and sharing.

Middle East

For over twenty years, QLF has directed exchange programs between conservation leaders from the Middle East and North America. Program Alumni now represent leading environmental organizations across the Middle East, North Africa, and the Gulf States. A central theme of the program is using the environment as a bridge to mutual understanding, allowing for cooperative conservation across geographies, political boundaries, cultural frameworks, and socioeconomic borders.


QLF Alumni gather at a Regional Meeting in Oman to mark the 20th Anniversary of QLF’s Middle East Program, 2012

Program Publications


The Garden of Wisdom: Earth Tales from the Middle East

The Garden of Wisdom: Earth Tales from the Middle East is a collection of entertaining and humorous children’s stories that grew out of a decade-long collaborative effort between partners in QLF’s Middle East Program.

The entertaining and humorous traditional folklore in The Garden of Wisdom conveys life lessons that have been handed down through the generations: protection of endangered species, habitats, and water quality, knowledge of healing plants, and the virtues of truth, justice, and generosity. Time-honored wisdom shows children how to live in kinship with Earth and humankind while celebrating the wonder and beauty of nature. Stories are arranged by theme: Animals, Plants, Friendship, Stewardship, and Wisdom. A special section for parents and teachers reveals the sources of the stories, suggests lessons to teach, shares the journey behind this unique book, and includes a firsthand account of nature and environmental issues in the Middle East.

The book, which was edited by QLF alumnus Michael J. Caduto, is available online worldwide in paperback, hardcover and eBook formats. Signed, personalized copies can be purchased directly from Michael at:

The Garden of Wisdom has recently been recognized for a number prestigious awards.

  • The Garden of Wisdom has received the Storytelling World Honor Award (Storytelling Collections) from the National Storytelling Network
  • After being considered along with hundreds of new releases, The Garden of Wisdom has also been nominated for the prestigious Green Earth Book Award
  • The book is also a finalist for the Foreword Indie Award, which is one of the most notable indie publishing awards that a book can receive

Environmental Peacebuilding

This website is a valuable resource to read and share knowledge on environment, conflict and peace.

Gulf of Honduras

QLF’s Gulf-to-Gulf Conservation Exchange Program seeks to share models for stewardship of natural resources and cultural heritage across the Western Hemisphere. Building on two decades of programs in-region, a current focus is on the Gulf of Honduras: Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and southern Yucatan (Mexico), and an exchange on marine and coastal conservation in the Gulf of Maine.

A core element of the program is a Fellowship that brings Latin American and Caribbean practitioners together with their counterparts in New England to exchange innovations and experience, and to develop new strategies for meeting conservation challenges. The theme of the 2016 Fellowship Program is Conservation and Stewardship, with an emphasis on collaborative management and other techniques to involve diverse stakeholders in conservation and resource management, with a particular focus on coastal and inshore marine issues.

Port Honduras Marine Reserve, Toledo District, Belize

Southeast Asia

QLF held the first Southeast Asia Conservation Exchange Program (July 2014) designed to share knowledge, expertise, skills, resources, and training on land conservation and forest stewardship. Despite our different geographies (U.S. and Vietnam), both countries share conservation challenges. Prior to the program and reported by QLF President Larry Morris, Vietnamese conservation leaders – faced with daunting hurdles in implementing plans for forest protection and biodiversity conservation – indicated a strong interest in tapping QLF’s knowledge of stewardship approaches of parks and protected areas; and exploring principles in large landscape conservation.



Vietnamese Fellows birding, 2014

East Asia

With support from the Trust for Mutual Understanding and in partnership with the Mongol Ecology Center (MEC), a QLF East Asia Conservation and Cultural Exchange Program was convened in March 2019. It was QLF’s first exchange with Mongolia, and first partnership with the MEC, a non-governmental organization. The Director of Public Administration & Management in the Ministry of the Environment and Tourism of Mongolia, the Director of the Ulaanbaatar Environmental Department, and a MEC board member represented the delegation of three.

Appalachian Trail, Harpers Ferry, WV

The theme of the exchange was Sustainable Communities ~ Urban to Rural. Sustainable communities are defined here as economically viable, environmentally and socially responsible, and culturally respectful. Conservation challenges in Mongolia include habitat loss and fragmentation, loss of biodiversity and, climate change and its impacts. In addition, wildlife plays an important role in traditional Mongolian culture, with reverence for animals and nature remaining important today, especially among rural communities.

Download the full report on the Exchange here.