For six weeks this summer, ECOSS had the pleasure of co-hosting two Doris Duke Conservation Scholars (DDCS). Arunika Bhatia and Chris Spencer split their time in a shared internship between ECOSS and The Nature Conservancy.

2017 Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Chris Spenser & Arunika Bhatia

Chris Spencer and Arunika Bhatia


Both from Colby College in Maine, they are in the final phase of a two-year program funded by the Doris Duke Foundation and hosted by the University of Washington.

Every year, 20 students come to Washington from around the country with a shared passion — to change the face, practice and future of conservation.


“They packed a lot into their short time with ECOSS and quickly became indispensable,” said Executive Director Cluny McCaffrey. “They worked alongside staff to deliver environmental training in people’s homes, conducted an analysis of our Spill Kit program and drafted case studies for the Conservancy.”

Chris studies Environmental Studies and Policy. He’s interested in exploring the interactions between human communities and wildlife, in search of effective policy solutions to reduce human-wildlife conflict.

Arunika studies Environmental Science and Policy. She is searching for ways of making natural resources accessible to all and promoting traditional conservation practices in mainstream environmentalism.

When asked what three words capture the essence of their time with ECOSS, here’s what they said: Empowerment, Holistic, Protection (Arunika), Personal, Inclusive, Empowering (Chris)

It’s easy to get caught up worrying about the future of our environment, then you meet students like Arunika and Chris and realize, there is hope, and it lies with the next generation of bright, practical and passionate conservationists.

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