The Don Aldrich Award
Len Broberg - 2022
Dr. Len Broberg’s influence in Western Montana’s conservation efforts intersects education, policy, ecological knowledge, and volunteership. Prior to his career in Montana, he acquired his B.S. in Zoology from Michigan State, practiced law as a J.D. for a number of years, then earned his PhD in Biology from University of Oregon. His expertise as a public interest scientist and lawyer brought him to the University of Montana’s Environmental Studies program in 1994 as faculty, later serving as its program director for a number of years. As a professor, Len always focused on helping his students acquire the knowledge and skills to be effective conservationists and stewards. He oversaw over 200 Master’s theses and fought for funding opportunities to support his mentees throughout his tenure. His mentorship extends overseas, as he co-developed and directed Study of the United States Institutes and Young Southeast Asian Leaders Institutes, traveling to Southeast Asia and India to facilitate workshops and support their efforts to address pressing environmental and social issues of their home regions. Many who’ve learned under Len have gone on to work for Sierra Club, Yellowstone to Yukon, Center for Large Landscape Conservation, Wilderness Society, Advocates for the West, National Parks Conservation Association, National Wildlife Federation, and numerous other conservation organizations.
Alongside his academic career, he served on several boards and committees, including Missoula City-County planning, Crown Managers Partnership Steering Committee, Crown Roundtable leadership team, Montana Forest Restoration, Lolo Restoration. His work includes writing public comments on various project proposals, building bridges between timber enthusiasts and conservationists, advocating for inclusion of bear connectivity.
As a Vice Chair and multi-committee member of the Sierra Club’s Montana chapter, Len played a critical role in advocating for SC’s endorsement of National Bison Range reinstatement, recruiting student organizers as a volunteer manager, writing comments to the Congressional Committee, and supporting the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribe in passing legislation.
Len also conducted & published significant research, including a study of snowpack resilience in the Crown of the Continent for the Crown Manager’s Partnership. He also co-authored books and book chapters on Yellowstone Bison ecology and management and transboundary management between Montana, Alberta and British Columbia.
He was most recently acknowledged for his contributions to natural resource conservation as the Missoula Conservation Roundtable’s 2022 recipient for the Don Aldrich award.
Dr. Broberg’s contributions reflect a unique synthesis of legal expertise, awareness of anthropocentric impacts on all forms of life, and the capacity to mentor hundreds of young people to be future leaders against climate change. His strategic advocacy and collaborative problem-solving skills working on campaigns have had a huge impact on Western Montana. Though he retired as a professor in 2022, he achieved Emeritus status and continues to support UM’s Mansfield Center and the Wyss Scholars for U.S. Conservation.
Biography by Kalle Fox