33 people. 8 nations. 4 days. ONE VISION.

Last week, a select group of Snow Leopard Trust staff, leaders, and board members from all over the world gathered to discuss strategies for improving global conservation practices. Fueled by a passion to make a difference for snow leopards and the people who share their habitat, we envision a world where ethical, fair and inclusive nature conservation efforts are supported and led by Indigenous peoples and local communities.

This team workshop, held in Seattle, WA, was a long-awaited reunion for our staff, some of whom hadn’t seen each other in person since 2016. For our newer staff members, it was a heartwarming introduction to the team – with members traveling from around the US, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, India, Pakistan, Sweden, the UK and Qatar. After years of Zoom meetings at odd hours, the joy of being together, without the separation of multiple time zones, was truly inspiring!

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But the benefits of a diverse and caring global team far outweigh any scheduling woes – and that sentiment was on full display last week as we gathered to discuss important and timely issues facing global conservation.

Our team spent the first two days reaching a shared understanding of the definition of ethical conservation and Snow Leopard Trust’s role in promoting it within our networks and the global conservation community. Topics ranged from how we view and treat animals to strengthening the role of Indigenous peoples and local communities in research and conservation. No topics were off-limit for this diverse cultural and multidisciplinary gathering. We are proud to have a team that is committed to a sensitive and inclusive outlook on conservation and willing to embrace complex and delicate subjects to improve how nature conservation is practiced.

It wasn’t all heady discussions, though. We left time for team-building and fun – including trips to Woodland Park Zoo (just days after three new snow leopard cubs were born!), Seattle’s famous Pike Place Market and a hike along the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River.

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While we were sad to part ways, we came away with a solid framework for understanding ethical conservation and the next steps we will take to further these critical discussions and promote them within and outside the Snow Leopard Trust Partner Network – including the newly formed Ethical Conservation Alliance.

Executive Director Dr. Charu Mishra shared an inspirational quote from Margaret Mead as we ended our workshop: Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

We are a small but impactful team, in no small part thanks to supporters like you, who care about and support our mission. Together, we will ensure a future for snow leopards by committing to ethical, inclusive and community-led conservation practices.

Thank you to the Trust for Mutual Understanding for their support of this workshop.

Special thanks to these organizations for their support of the Ethical Conservation Alliance: Whitley Fund for Nature, Melkus Family Foundation, Acacia Conservation Fund, Kenmour M. & Marjorie Spencer Wild Animal Fund at Bainbridge Community Foundation and Snow Leopard Trust.


  1. Invaluable when you can all get together in person to build relationships and share ideas. I hope you can all meet again next year!

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