My favorite definition of conservation is “the careful utilization of a natural resource in order to prevent depletion” ( This definition is critical to our Contract Stewardship program, which offers professionally-trained and experienced staff to assist landowners with a conservation ethic in improving the wildlife value and ecological health of their property. To ensure we take on projects that are in line with our mission, we have created a Conservation Matrix to determine a potential project’s relationship to the mission of Teton Science Schools. This not only makes sure we are in legal compliance but that we are completing projects that have a definable conservation value. Factors we consider include the educational value and audience, project timeframe, ecotype in which the work will be completed (i.e., riparian), land ownership (public or private), project value to wildlife/habitat, and the financial implications of the project. This tool is a new process that is still in development, but will help us to “score” projects by their conservation value. For more information, contact