Conservation by Design is made up of nine modules—customized packages of resources designed to help conservation teams work through strategy planning steps in a time-bound, efficient manner. Each module represents one of the key steps in conservation planning.

Ready to explore the Conservation by Design modules? Let’s dive in.

Effective, Efficient, Accessible

About the Modules (6:01) Josh Goldstein, Sr. Scientist (Strategy Development) for TNC, explains the updated structure of Conservation by Design.

Conservation by Design Modules


Conservation by Design Modules

Getting Started with the Modules

Now that the modules are ready, we are shifting our focus to building the capacity needed at TNC to support the successful implementation of Conservation by Design. Feedback from staff when developing the modules indicates that a trained facilitator is invaluable for using the modules effectively and efficiently. The Retrospective module is the only module that does not require a trained facilitator at this time.  

If you are a TNC staff member planning to implement one or more modules, we highly encourage you to check out our support page to get started. 

Stay tuned for updates. If you want to take a look at the modules to evaluate whether they are the right fit for your team, you can find them below.


Who Participates?

Strategy Lead(s)

Strategy Lead(s)

Strategy leads are the individuals ultimately responsible for the progress of their strategies (such as portfolio or program directors). Their responsibilities include identifying when and how to make use of Conservation by Design modules, assembling a core team, and securing support.

Strategy Team Members
Integrating Equity Mr. Meaker (arms extended) explains the history of his farm at Meaker Farm, Montrose, Colorado. © Ken Geiger/The Nature Conservancy

Strategy Team Members

Anyone responsible for making decisions about strategic direction (typically, members of a core strategy team) should also be included when working through a Conservation by Design module. Highly Effective Teams tools can be helpful for identifying these individuals.

Strategy Lead(s)
People attend an Entrepreneurship workshop on farming at the Skill Development Centre of Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, Punjab. The University is built on an area of 494 hectares and was established in 1962 to offer undergraduate and postgraduate courses related to agriculture, agricultural engineering, basic science, humanities and home science. © Smita Sharma


Module facilitators provide support to help teams work through strategic planning steps. They may be a member of the collaborative strategy team, a subject matter expert, or another TNC staff person who has received training in that module.

The Conservation by Design Modules

Access the modules below to evaluate whether they are the right fit for your team's needs.

  • Thumbnail Integrating Equity

    Integrating Equity

    Build capacity to develop and improve more equitable strategies. EXPLORE MODULE

  • Thumbnail Retrospective


    Reflect on past work to harness learnings for future work. EXPLORE MODULE

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    Planning Scope

    Define and align on the scope of the strategy development process. EXPLORE MODULE

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    Interested Parties

    Identify and prepare to engage interested parties to support an inclusive process. EXPLORE MODULE

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    Defining Objectives

    Identify what the team aims to maintain or improve for nature and people. EXPLORE MODULE

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    Situation Analysis

    Understand the system and identify leverage points for action. EXPLORE MODULE

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    Strategy Selection

    Identify, evaluate, and select strategies to pursue. EXPLORE MODULE

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    Theory of

    Articulate how planned actions will lead to desired outcomes. EXPLORE MODULE

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    Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning

    Develop a MEL plan to focus learning on key assumptions in the theory of change. EXPLORE MODULE


Not sure what module to use next? These common scenarios may help you decide.


“Aligning on our team’s objectives [through the Defining Objectives module] proved essential to our ability to make the case for which strategies we ultimately committed to. Spending time upfront to define objectives pays off immensely later in the planning process." 

— Alison Bowden,
Director of Conservation Science and Strategy
TNC Massachusetts (U.S.)


“The Retrospective module has effectively responded to our need to work as a team to document, reflect, learn, and adjust our work to accelerate our impact. It is applicable to different contexts (e.g., projects, programs), agile, effective, and incorporates fundamental elements of Conservation by Design such as equity. The Retrospective module also helped bring back fond memories and awaken the passion for our work, while strengthening our team’s learning culture and cohesion.”

— Juana Figueroa,
Conservation Planner,
TNC Colombia


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