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Palmer Welcomes 2020 Summer Fellows

‘As the young aspen tree grew, plants and animals taught the tree new lessons each day.
A conversation with the wind one morning told the little tree all about how its strength would cause snow to drift around the aspens, protecting them from the cold of winter.
The young aspen tree loved the constant chatter of all the creatures in the forest and realized that she was learning something new all the time.” 

- Heather Campbell Chaney



Palmer Land Trust, along with the Heather Campbell Chaney Environmental Foundation (HCCEF), is proud to welcome two new environmental fellows. This year’s fellows, Sam and Maitland, are students at Colorado College and have been accepted to the Public Interest Fellowship Program, which facilitates the pairing of qualified undergraduate and graduate students with local non-profit organizations. Both Sam and Maitland, through their diverse educational, life, and work experience offer an impactful range of skills that will make them valuable assets to the Palmer Land Trust Team. These talented and passionate individuals have been chosen as recipients of the Heather Campbell Chaney Environmental Fellowship grants due to their commitment to environmental causes. They will assist Stewardship Manager Candice Hall throughout the summer monitoring season and assist with other Palmer initiatives. 

Sam Cadigan grew up in Massachusetts and Maine roaming forests and coastal marshes with family and neighbors. She learned early that accessible open spaces depend on community commitment to conservation. Sam chose Colorado College to live and study in a completely different conservation-aware region, and to learn why conserved spaces are so important to community vitality. Sam is a Studio Art major with a particular concentration in Integrative Design and Architecture. Her geology and environmental science classes have not only informed her art, but they have also taken her to a multiplicity of unique Colorado geographies. During a semester in Copenhagen, she studied sustainable cities and adaptive/mitigative climate change measures within the context of urban architecture. She is interested in a career at the confluence of environmental science and design. Although this particular summer poses unique challenges due to COVID-19, Sam is excited to take them on with her co-fellow Maitland, her team members at Palmer Land Trust, and with the support of the Heather Campbell Chaney Environmental Foundation.

Maitland Robinson grew up in Connecticut surfing in the Atlantic Ocean in his free time. Forsaking his ocean, he spent a high school semester at the High Mountain Institute in the mining town of Leadville., He studied while living in a sustainable off-the-grid cabin; backpacking and skiing in Colorado’s mountains with classmates and instructors in his free time. The experience drew him to enroll at Colorado College where he now studies Environmental Studies.  Maitland interned for the Fountain Creek Watershed District in Summer 2019, learning to love community-based environmental work while confirming his love for Colorado open spaces. He recently returned from New Zealand where he did policy-based research for Forest and Bird, a leading conservation organization. Maitland can’t wait to learn from the passionate team at Palmer Land Trust this summer and the community of landowners who have conserved their Colorado lands in perpetuity. 


The Heather Campbell Chaney Environmental Foundation (HCCEF) provides funds to support undergraduate or graduate fellowships at impactful environmental nonprofit organizations working in the Pikes Peak region. Fellows are provided with meaningful, career-building opportunities focused on conservation leadership and legacy. 

Heather Campbell Chaney was on the board of Palmer Land Trust when she passed away in 2001. In 2014, to honor her interest in and dedication to Palmer’s work, the Foundation began funding an HCCEF position at Palmer in addition to funding fellowships at the Catamount Institute. Since that time, Palmer has gratefully welcomed 7 fellows. Read more about their experiences here.