Colorado State University’s department of natural resources recreation and tourism will hold a special homecoming celebration Oct. 3 to commemorate its 50th anniversary.
The department, recognized by the National Recreation and Park Association as one of the top two undergraduate recreation programs nationwide, will honor the achievements of its alumni and faculty at an awards ceremony, reunion and reception.
The reunion runs from 3-4 p.m. at the Colorado State University Alumni Center, 645 S. Shields St., followed by the awards and recognition ceremony at 4:30 p.m. (See list of award recipients below.)
"While the students, faculty and curricula have changed over the years, we continue to believe that stewardship of natural resources and quality of life is closely tied to the recreational use and enjoyment of our great outdoors," said Mike Manfredo, interim department chair. "We take this time to honor alumni and faculty who have made so many contributions in these areas."
The department of recreation and wildlife conservation began at Colorado State in 1947, under the direction of J.V.K. Wagar. As public policy surrounding the management of public lands for recreation changed, the department changed its name as well as the curriculum to prepare students for careers as wildlife managers, park superintendents and scientists. In 1966 the department was renamed recreation and watershed resources, in 1984 it was called recreation resources and landscape architecture, and in 1994 the change was made to its present name.
Today the program is recognized nationally for producing high-caliber employees in wildlife management, the national and state park systems, tourism and research positions. More than one-fourth of all Colorado State Park employees are department graduates and more alumni serve as current National Park Service superintendents than from any other university nationwide. More than 340 undergraduates and 50 graduate students are enrolled in the program and over 700 professionals from around the country are taking correspondence study courses.
The department includes notable research and learning programs, including the Human Dimensions in Natural Resources Unit, which conducts numerous surveys and polls on public values regarding natural resources; and the Environmental Learning Center, an outdoor laboratory for K-12 and college students to learn more about Colorado’s natural resources. The department also operates Pingree Park, where students study ecosystems and natural resource management techniques.
Award recipients include:
- Distinguished Alumni Awards–Jerry Stokes, assistant director for wilderness at the Division of Recreation, Heritage and Wilderness for the U.S. Forest Service; Bob Barbee, former superintendent of Yellowstone National Park, Redwood National Park and many others; and Dan Williams, a 38-year veteran of the U.S. Forest Service.
- Lifetime Achievement Award–Bev Driver, a recently retired scientist from the U.S. Forest Service, former lecturer at Yale’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and the author of more than 140 scientific publications.
- Lifetime Achievement Award for Managerial Leadership–Bob Barbee, whose professional career has been dedicated to the management of national parks, including Yellowstone, Redwood National Park, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Cape Lookout National Seashore.
- Lifetime Achievement Award for Academic Leadership–Art Wilcox, whose academic career at Colorado State began in 1965. Wilcox served as head of the natural resources recreation and tourism department from 1966-1982. Wilcox taught most of the courses in the department and also conducted numerous research projects.
- Environmental Learning Center Award of Recognition–College of Natural Resources student volunteers who lead guided tours, help maintain the center’s grounds and assist in other projects.
For more information about the department of natural resources recreation and tourism, please call (970) 491-6591.