Round River Conservation Studies is an ecological research and education organization whose goal is the formulation and implementation of conservation strategies that conserve and restore wildness. We recognize that flourishing wildlife, wildness and wild places are important in and of themselves and that conservation to be sustainable must be tied to the communities most dependent upon these landscapes.

Round River is an international non-profit registered in the USA as a 501(c)3 organization with daughter registered organizations in Botswana and Canada, as well as affiliations in Chile and Mongolia.

The whole concept of ‘wild’ was decidedly European, one not shared by the original inhabitants of this continent. What we called ‘wilderness’ was to the Indian a homeland, ‘abiding loveliness’ in Salish or Piegan. The land was not something to be feared or conquered, and ‘wildlife’ were neither wild nor alien; they were relatives. Doug Peacock, Grizzly Years: In Search of the American Wilderness

Round River began in 1991 out of a shared love for wildness. Over the years, we have learned the importance of collaborating with local people with strong, enduring land ethics and the necessity of making long-term commitments to the land and people where we work.

A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.  — Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac with Essays on Conservation from Round River

We take our name from Aldo Leopold’s instructive essay Round River, along with the idea that ecological study enriches one’s personal land ethic. From the outset, we recognized the importance of sharing our work with young adults. Round River Student Programs are field-based, authentic experiences where students become part of our efforts working alongside our conservation biologists and local community partners.

Today, thanks to the perseverance of our supporters and partners, we are witnessing success. As a small organization we are proud of our effectiveness, assisting with the creation of recognized conservation plans exceeding 100 million acres and over 10 million acres of designated protection. We also continue our partnerships long after the plans are completed – helping implement and monitor success of our collaborative efforts and continuing to gather critical information to inform on-going conservation decisions.

Below is a brief outline of our recent activities.



In 2019, Round River will be assisting the Ya’axché Conservation Trust in their work to preserve Belize’s Maya Golden Landscape, a vital link within the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor.









On September 3 – 5, 2018, Round River, with its partners Natural Selection Conservation Trust, Botswana Predator Conservation Trust and the Okavango Research Institute, conducted the Makgadikgadi/Nxai Pans Conservation Initiative Charting Connections Workshop. A summary report of this workshop is available for download at this link:

Makgadikgadi-Nxai Pans Conservation Initiative_Charting_Connections_Workshop_Summary_10:18


For millennia, great herds of wildlife, from Namibia’s Zambezi, Zimbabwe’s Hwange and Botswana’s Linyanti, Chobe and Okavango Delta, traveled to reach the nutrient-rich grasses of the Makgadikgadi-Nxai Pans and the Central Kalahari. Our principle goal is to reestablish this largest and longest of Southern Africa’s large mammal migrations and to provide mechanisms to maintain this essential ecological process to sustain Botswana’s wildlife populations.


In association with the Ta’an Kwach’an Council, Kwanlin Dun First Nation and Carcross/Tagish First Nation, Round River is assisting the Southern Lakes First Nations to complete a Cultural and Ecosystem Based Conservation Design, as a vital component of the Southern Lakes First Nation Land Planning Initiative.



In summer 2016, Round River initated our Costa Rica Conservation Program in association with the organization Osa Conservation.


The Yukon North Slope Conservation Initiative was established with the Wildlife Management Advisory Council and the Inuvialuit Game Council.


Round River’s work in Chile expanded to include Corporación Nacional Forestal (CONAF) as a partner to develop a conservation assessment for the Asyén Region. Students assist CONAF guardaparques in the remote fjords of Bernardo O’Higgins National Park, conducting research on the endangered huemul deer, birds and plants.



The Idaho Wolverine – Winter Recreation Study was expanded to include sites in Montana and Wyoming.


With the Navajo Nation, Round River developed the 1.9 million acre Diné Bikéyah Conservation Plan which was adopted by the Bear Ears Coalition as the Bears Ears National Monument proposal for consideration by the Obama Administration.


Initiated a partnership with the Okavango Research Institute to and create a new student program in the Okavango Delta to assist with Community-based Wildlife Monitoring in Selected Communities of the Okavango Delta.


Began working with Conservación Patagónica in Chile and initiated student program in the Chacabuco Valley, site of the Future Patagonia National Park.


Flanagan Slough
After a 14-year partnership with the Taku River Tlingit First Nation, formal negotiations with the BC government resulted in over 8 million acres receiving conservation measures and protection.


Reached the successful conclusion of a 10-year forest reserve and capacity building partnership with Fundación Cordillera Tropical in the biologically rich highlands of southeastern Ecuador.



To curb the hunting of carnivores in northwestern British Columbia, a hunting business and its 2 million acre guiding territory was purchased and transferred to the Taku River Tlingit First Nation.


Tracking Wolverines

The Wolverine – Winter Recreation Study was initiated in the mountains of central Idaho, in partnership with the US Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station.



Under a directive from the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism and with assistance from our students, Round River completed the Kunene Regional Ecological Analysis, identifying the region’s ecological values to help guide the land planning of tribal conservancies.


Following on an engagement that began in 1993 with the Heiltsuk First Nation, Round River assisted with a youth cultural camp in the Koeye River watershed of British Columbia.



The Great Bear Rainforest campaign utilizing a Round River Conservation Area Design achieved 5 million acres of new protected areas on the coast of British Columbia.


Horseranch Lakes

The Government of the Northwest Territories’ Department of Environment and Natural Resources sought Round River’s technical capacity to identify priority areas for inclusion in the Northwest Territories Protected Areas Strategy.



For the British Columbia government, Round River developed a Conservation Area Design for the Muskwa-Kechika Management Area that set a new standard for adaptable information systems for the conservation of large intact landscapes.