common sense and Common Ground are surprisingly uncommon

Incorporating applied science, collaboration, and common sense, Seventh Generation Institute is bringing fresh ideas and strategies to conservation.  As we work throughout the West and beyond, we are finding common ground with people everywhere. This is what we mean by "new school conservation." The Institute is not interested in the "old school environmentalism" characterized by litigation, arguing, and fighting.

Conservation, restoration, and responsible use are not pie-in-the-sky. If done well and applied wisely, they can work. They can work to ensure that local places and local people keep their economic options as well as their unique and beautiful resources.

As a small organization, the Institute has the flexibility to innovate, to develop and test new techniques in search of greater impact. We plan to grow, to develop new programs and to expand our work, but always remaining nimble and practical.


Work hard. Work smart. Work with friends and future friends. Photo: Sally Thomson

Work hard. Work smart. Work with friends and future friends. Photo: Sally Thomson


Our Mission

Seventh Generation Institute's mission is to build a vibrant future for people and nature through conserving, restoring and promoting responsible use of resources.

Our Values

7GI's approach to achieving our mission is based in three concepts: entrepreneurial-applied science, collaboration and impact.

does it work?

This is the essence of new school conservation - if a technique or tool works, great. We'll use it, happily. If the methods we try don't work, what are we missing? What can we do differently? What can we learn from other fields of business, art, communication that might help? It is entrepreneurial - applied science, also known as adaptive management, (or a more formal version of thinking outside the box) that enables Seventh Generation Institute to evaluate the effectiveness of our conservation efforts and continuously improve them. It also provides a strong foundation to make informed decisions about stewarding natural resources. 7GI utilizes applied science through adaptive management wherever appropriate.

Collaboration - or, can people get behind this project or method?

Conservation that aspires to be effective over the long-term requires collaboration with people. People are the greatest users of natural resources globally and stand to be the most negatively affected as resources become scarce or degraded.

Seventh Generation Institute employs a collaborative approach in all our projects. What does this mean in practice? It means that Seventh Generation Institute adheres to a credo first expressed by the Malpais Borderlands Group, a pioneering collaboration between private landowners, scientists and government agencies in New Mexico.

“[In our work, we] will never do something to someone - it will be done with them or it won’t be done at all.”
— Malpais Borderlands Group

The Institute partners with private land owners, government agencies at all levels, user groups, tribes, and community organizations. We look for shared goals, and positive results that all project partners can embrace.

The Institute is nonpartisan and does not litigate, protest or take confrontational positions on issues.

Impact - or, is it Seventh Generation Institute accomplishing its mission?

And finally, as 7GI develops and carries out projects, we ask the tough questions of ourselves. Are we achieving our mission of conservation and sustainable use?  Has there been a true conservation impact? We are not satisfied with developing a new tool if no one understands or uses it. We are not satisfied with a restoration project that is not self-sustaining in the long term.

Building the Institute's version of beaver dam analogs - a concept developed by Michael Pollock - on a ranch in New Mexico for stream restoration purposes.

Building the Institute's version of beaver dam analogs - a concept developed by Michael Pollock - on a ranch in New Mexico for stream restoration purposes.

Where we work

Initially, the Institute worked primarily in New Mexico, but in 2016, we added a second "location" (because one thing we do to innovate is not spend money on office rent) in Idaho. Our work had expanded into the northern part of the West.

Our staff are proud to participate in regional projects where it makes sense. The project Monitoring Climate and Pika in the Southern Rockies, for example, is our portion of a large regional monitoring project, involving many partners.

The Institute's first project was international. After being on hiatus for several years during the recession, this program was re-started in 2016.

How the Institute got its name

We are often asked where the name Seventh Generation Institute came from. It is from an early and visionary saying of the Iroquois that succinctly describes why sustainability and conservation matter:

“In every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.”
— Iroquois Nation
Participants at a workshop - Winecup-Gamble Ranch Nevada

Participants at a workshop - Winecup-Gamble Ranch Nevada