Ernest Thompson Seton Institute, Inc

Valuing nature for a better society

aka ETSI   |   Las Cruces, NM   |


Through expansive thinking and acting, the Ernest Thompson Seton Institute inspires curiosity and respect for nature and humanity aligned with ET Seton’s ideals.

Ruling year info



Mr. Joseph W. Trindal

Main address

4781 Quail Run Ave

Las Cruces, NM 88011 USA

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NTEE code info

Historical Societies and Related Activities (A80)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Environmental Education and Outdoor Survival Programs (C60)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990-N.


Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

“I believe that natural history has lost much by the vague treatment that is so common”, wrote Ernest Thompson Seton in 1898. More than a century later, communities continue to struggle with the consequences borne from disrespect of nature and human rights. The digital age provides unprecedented opportunities to promote Seton’s philosophies of actionable natural resources conservation and respect for human rights. The multi-media platforms available today – not even imagined during Seton’s life – afford opportunities to reach with youth and adults through creative expressions of Seton-values in art, literature, and his woodcraft program. Seton’s legacy of values resonates more urgently now than during his lifetime. Ernest Thompson Seton Institute addresses Seton’s prediction of the consequences of “vague treatment”, bringing renewed urgency to address our shrinking natural resources, threatened wildlife, human rights challenges and unrestrained global consumerism.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

ETSI Oral History Project

We conduct oral history interviews of people who knew E. T. Seton personally or have purposefully visited locations where he lived/worked, or who attest to abiding by Seton's philosophy/teaching, or who belong to organizations Seton helped establish.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of groups/individuals benefiting from tools/resources/education materials provided

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Academics, Retired people

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Hours of volunteer service

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Academics, Activists, Retired people

Related Program

ETSI Oral History Project

Type of Metric

Context - describing the issue we work on

Direction of Success


Context Notes

Includes monthly meetings, oral history interview preparation, interviews, interview processing, website maintenance, research, artwork, inquiries responses, administration, and planning.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The Ernest Thompson Seton Institute [The Institute] provides engaging opportunities for people to develop and deepen respect for our environment and one another through appreciation and assimilation of Ernest Thompson Seton’s ideals and philosophies. The Institute focuses on interactive activities that draw people to seek out deeper understanding and appreciation of nature, conservation, and ethical co-existence. The Institute’s goals are to provide forum for (1) developing an understanding of Ernest Thompson Seton’s ideals and philosophies; (2) gaining appreciation of the modern age importance of those ideals and philosophies; (3) developing curiosity for modern interpretation and application of Seton’s ideals, values and artistic expression, and; (4) developing actionable self-awareness and interpretative expression in the form of conservation, education, art, literature, and human rights activities.

The Institute is pursuing four (4) interconnected strategic tracks, building upon milestones and performance benchmarks.
Preservation of Ernest Thompson Seton’s literature and art is an important priority. There are many well documented Seton collections in museums and private hands. However, there are lost works as well. The Institute is working to identify and catalog collections for further study and awareness of his works. A significant aspect of Seton’s legacy that is vanishing is the recollections of people who had first-hand experiences with him. The Institute is seeking out these people to preserve their memories through recording their oral histories. Capturing oral histories in media form is an important way for the Institute to relate Seton’s ideals and philosophies to new generations.
Enhancing the Institute’s web presence is critical to our communications strategy. We are reformatting our website for easy navigation and continually updating Seton references. Virtual visits to Seton’s homes and sites of special interest brings his literature alive. His extensive travel, now documented for the first time on the Institute’s website, provides people with the opportunity to physically visit locations nearby, thereby developing closer personal connection and deeper interpretative meaning in his works. We are also using a select number of social media venues to expand awareness of Seton’s ideals and philosophies.
The Institute’s educational programs constitute an important strategic track. We leverage our network of organizational and professional “friends” in developing and delivering presentations and workshops on several Seton-centric topics such as conservation, cultural heritage, and natural history. We have working relationships with woodcraft, conservation, and Scouting organizations across the world.
Youth engagement through promotion of arts and literature is an important outreach strategy. The Institute collaborates with others on artist workshops and contests, where participants create and exhibit their own interpretation of Seton’s artistic and literary themes. These experiences build self-esteem, creative confidence, and deeper appreciation of nature and humanity.

The Ernest Thompson Seton Institute has identified, located, and, in many examples, acquired an impressive amount of Seton works. The Institute has also identified Seton works and collections at risk with success in preserving those works. The Institute has and continues to develop an impressive oral histories database. Through our extensive networks and growing global presence, we continue locating works and recording oral histories from sources abroad. Based upon our past success, current positioning, and forecast growth, our Ernest Thompson Seton preservation capabilities continue to expand.
The Institute has a well-established web presence. Over a decade ago, we developed, and recently reformatted, an easy to navigate, informative webpage at Our site draws regular and growing traffic. The Institute and our network of contributors keep the content fresh and relevant. We also moderate and contribute to our blog, accessible within the website. Our blog is also kept current and relevant. The Institute has created a presence on Facebook - With 140 followers in just a few month, The Institute’s social media presence continues to grow. We are strategically managing the implementation of communications strategy to ensure that we place content quality and relevance over unmoderated exposure. Through our digital presence, people are able to enjoy and pursue the Ernest Thompson Seton experience today.
In 2020, our educational programs development and delivery has grown. Notwithstanding the distance learning challenges (or opportunities) provided by COVID, the Institute has delivered several presentations and participated in workshops domestically and abroad. Our network of speakers and subject matter experts, while currently robust, continues to grow. Many of our virtual workshops are available to broader audiences through our organizational partnerships, our professional relationships, and our virtual engagement infrastructure.

Building upon our accomplishments and relationships, the Ernest Thompson Seton Institute is focusing on several key areas in progressive enhancement. Given the perishable nature of our oral history sources, we are concentrating on capturing as many oral histories and recollections of Ernest Thompson Seton as possible. This is an important initiative in preserving Seton’s legacy that requires timely action. Our oral history preservation project will continue as a priority for as long as we are blessed with people willing to share their experiences. We are looking to migrate the “oral history” approach into “oral interpretative history” over the coming years as those people with direct, first-hand experience become less available.
We are expanding and deepening our selective organizational partnerships. We are strengthening our collaboration with the Woodcraft Rangers [], a Los Angeles, CA based non-profit educational organization with nearly a century of service to urban youth. Emerging out of Ernest Thompson Seton’s Woodcraft League as a means for instilling values of inclusion and access for young people, Woodcraft Rangers now serves over 14,000 at over 73 sites in the greater LA area carrying on Seton’s legacy value-based youth education. Similarly, we are strengthening our partnerships with other select organizations domestically and abroad in further our vision and mission.
We are expanding our networks and organizational certifications to participate in grant funded initiatives. As a 501(c)3, non-profit educational organization, we are registered with the System for Award Management (SAM) and other systems to qualify eligibility for grant funding.
The Institute continues developing and refining our digital presence and marketing materials to promote our capabilities and service offerings. We are actively, strategically seeking non-profit funding sources for general financial and special projects fiscal support. We are working for sustainable, consistent revenue sources inclusive of but not limited to donor contributions. Capitalizing on our successes, strengthened by resonance with our vision and appreciation of Ernest Thompson Seton’s ideals, values and philosophies, we are actively seeking supporters who are equally energized to make the world a better place.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    People - children, youths and adults - who enjoy nature through camping, hiking, birdwatching, and animal tracking, nature photography and art, among other outdoor activities.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees, Website blog,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    Adding a Blog page on our website, and a new Face Book page. We have also started providing E. T. Seton quotes and trivia questions, with additional information provided for each.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    Feedback from various sources has not shifted any power to any of them. We inform them of changes and discuss the results with them.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,


Ernest Thompson Seton Institute, Inc

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Ernest Thompson Seton Institute, Inc

Board of directors
as of 3/25/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Joseph Trindal


Term: 2020 - 2022

Ronald Edmonds

Principium Group, Inc

Julie Seton

Indelible Enterprises, LLC

Howard Prager

Advance Learning Group

Lucinda MacKethan

Blythe Toussaint

Longmont Public Schools

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Not applicable
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 3/4/2021,

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.


No data

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data


No data

Sexual orientation

No data


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 03/04/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.