Colorado State’s Center for Collaborative Conservation Awards Fellows

Colorado State University’s Center for Collaborative Conservation awarded 17 fellowships as part of the center’s fellows program that strengthens engagement among students, faculty and conservation practitioners by promoting collaborative research, education and action on critical conservation issues both locally and around the globe. The fellowships are 18-month appointments.

"We created this program to help the fellows learn the skills that rarely get taught in the classroom: how to lead and collaborate with people from diverse backgrounds, how to link research with conservation action and how to communicate more powerfully. The current fellows are working around the globe on critical problems affecting local communities as they try to conserve their landscapes and build their livelihoods," said Robin Reid, director of the Center for Collaborative Conservation.

The awarded fellows include 11 Colorado State graduate students, three faculty members and three conservation practitioners.  Center for Collaborative Conservation fellows will be working on conservation problems as diverse as marine conservation in the Philippines, to pasture management in Mongolia, to elephant-human conflicts in Tanzania.

Undergraduate CSU students will have the opportunity to work with the fellows over the course of the year.

The center fellows are from five nations and represent six departments and three colleges at Colorado. The fellows are part of the new Collaborative Conservation Learning Network where principles and practice of collaborative conservation are developed, exchanged, tested and adapted.

The following are descriptions of each of the new Center for Collaborative Conservation fellows:

Arren Mendezona Allegretti

Allegretti is a graduate student in the Department of the Human Dimensions of Natural Resources working with Stu Cottrell. Her thesis and fellowship involves understanding and targeting links between local perceptions of coastal resource management and the social success of Marine Protected Areas in the southern Cebu, Philippines. The fellowship will allow her to engage fully with her Philippine partners in completing this thesis. She also intends to display her study results on the existing online Marine Protected Area database that is accessible to local and international coastal resource managers and the general public.

Batkhishig Baival

Baival is a doctorate student in the Department of Forest, Rangeland and Watershed Stewardship working with Maria Fernandez-Gimenez. For her doctorate work, Baival is focusing on understanding the relationship between community-based rangeland management and the social-ecological resilience of rural Mongolian communities. Her fellowship will allow her to organize and facilitate several workshops with Mongolian herders, policy makers and nongovernment organization representatives to discuss the results of her research, as well as widen the discussion to other issues in rangeland conservation and livelihoods. The products of her fellowship will be an additional thesis chapter on this collaborative process, as well as creating policy briefs for local government or local newspaper articles describing the outcomes of her research.  

Adam Beh

Beh is a doctorate student in the Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources whose research is focused on exploring the proper learning environments that need to be cultivated in order to develop a conservation education curriculum in northern Kenya. During the last four years he has been working with his advisor, Brett Bruyere, on identifying the challenges and opportunities for the creation of such a curriculum.  Beh will be employing a "photovoice" approach, allowing Kenyan park rangers, teachers and students the opportunity to document their understanding of conservation through discussion and storytelling of their own photographs. A local photography exhibit will also be co-created so that the Kenyan partners involved in the project may showcase their own stories to the world.

Ashley Cobb

Cobb is a graduate student in the Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources working with Jessica Thompson. Her thesis will evaluate the collaborative process of scenario planning as applied to climate change management initiatives in the National Park Service and other land management agencies.  For her fellowship, Cobb will facilitate a mini-scenario planning training session for the members of the collaborative to help them better understand the collaborative process and begin to conceptualize an innovative way to collaborate and manage uncertainty. She will also produce a thesis chapter about the process of scenario planning and how this process compares to other multi-agency collaborative processes.

Esther Duke

Duke is a graduate student in the Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources working with Josh Goldstein. Her thesis project will use collaborative processes to engage government, non-profit and coffee-producing community groups in understanding and using ecosystem-service mapping and valuation techniques to support conservation and livelihoods in a transboundary area between Costa Rica and Panama. Duke’s project will explore the opportunities and challenges for steering ecosystem-service payment schemes to benefit the poor through a carbon sequestration and biodiversity conservation scheme based on agroforestry practices.  Her project will generate a separate project report for the community partners and the creation of interactive digital maps that are useful to these partners.

Josh Goldstein

Goldstein is an assistant professor in the Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources whose research and teaching focus on ecosystem services and conservation finance. For his fellowship, Goldstein is working with ranchers and other stakeholders in northern Colorado to explore ways to develop business models that align conservation and economic incentives for working ranches and the communities that they are a part of. To reach out to a diverse audience, he will create deliverables that span research publications, community outreach and a teaching case study for students at Colorado State University.

Ed Iron Cloud

Iron Cloud III is a board member and bison caretaker of the Knife Chief Buffalo Nation Project at the Pine Ridge Reservation in Porcupine, South Dakota. This project is a community-based initiative whose mission is to strengthen the connection between the Lakota people and the buffalo. He also was recently elected to the South Dakota State Legislature.  For his fellowship, Iron Cloud will work with a collaborative team to produce a video about the role of the buffalo in Lakota conservationism which will help strengthen collaborative relationships among reservation youth, educational institutions and other community-based initiatives on the reservation. The focus of this video will be to promote the Lakota belief and concept that the buffalo are relatives and their importance to the spiritual and cultural survival of the Lakota people.

Jeff Jones

Jones is the executive director and founder of The Conservation Cooperative, a Colorado non-profit corporation. He has more than 25 years of experience working on social justice and land conservation issues. For his fellowship, Jones will develop and complete a short course on Private Land Conservation Law through the Center for Collaborative Conservation’s Collaborative Conservation Learning Network.  The four-day course will focus on conservation legal issues on private lands, including land use regulations, private property law, water and oil, gas and mineral law and conservation easement transactions. He is also working with the Wyoming Stockgrowers Agricultural Land Trust on conservation agreements with ranchers in Wyoming and land stewardship of properties where they hold a conservation easement.

Sarah Maisonneuve

Maisonneuve is a doctorate student in the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology at Colorado State University, working with Mike Coughenour, studying the conflict between humans and elephants outside Ruaha National Park, Tanzania. The aims of her research are to characterize and distinguish the areas where elephants leave protected area to raid farms and those where they do not, to determine whether their movements may be predicted by landscape quality, proximity to the protected area or proximity to known corridors. This fellowship will allow her to share her research findings with local Tanzanians who are most affected by this conflict. She will produce films, radio programs and written reports in both Kiswahili and English, which include general information about elephants, a description of the research project and its main conclusions and methods to mitigate human-elephant conflict in the area.  

Heather Messick

Messick is a graduate student in the Department of Forest, Range and Watershed Stewardship. She will work with Roy Roath to develop a long-term conservation management plan for the Visintainer Ranch, in northwest Colorado. The Visintainer Ranch is a third generation ranch that has an impeccable history of land stewardship. The ranch is comprised of 50,000 acres of private land legacy with an additional 75,000 acres of public land permits. The goal of the plan is to ensure that the Visintainer Ranch is maintained as a working ranch operation that supports the production of livestock, wildlife and other land-based amenities into the foreseeable future.

David Ole Nkedianye

Ole Nkedianye is a founding director of the Reto O Reto Foundation in Kitengela, Kenya, which aims to link research with local pastoral livelihoods and conservation. He is also a doctoral candidate at the Centre for Environmental Change and Sustainability at the University of Edinburgh linked with the International Livestock Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya. He is studying drought mitigation and adaptation strategies among the Maasai pastoralists in East Africa. For his fellowship he will facilitate linkages among Maasai communities and conservation organizations, with a goal of enhancing mutual participation in conservation, and in so doing exploring innovative and sustainable ways of generating revenue for local households while conserving the environment. He will write a case study report and a working paper at the end of his fellowship.

Patti Biddle Orth

Orth is a doctorate student in the Department of Forest, Range and Watershed Stewardship working with Tony Cheng. Her dissertation will evaluate the success of several conservation collaboratives in the American West. For her fellowship, Orth will work collaboratively with conservation practitioners to develop a set of criteria and indicators that can be used to evaluate the progress/success of collaboratives. In addition to a dissertation chapter and a refereed journal article, she will develop a brochure that can be used by practitioners as part of her fellowship.

Liba Pejchar

Pejchar is an assistant professor in the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology whose research focuses on "win-win" opportunities for biodiversity and livelihoods on private land in Hawaii and Colorado. For her fellowship, Pejchar will work with public and private landowners in Hawaii to understand the seed dispersal services that native birds provide and their role in restoring understory fruiting plants for conservation and Hawaiian cultural practices. Her project will involve partnering with conservation and cultural practitioners to explore the opportunity of reintroducing native fruit-eating birds as a cost-effective alternative to conventional restoration.

Joana Roque de Pinho

Roque de Pinho is a doctorate student in the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology at Colorado State University, working with Kathy Galvin.  Her doctorate research explores the coexistence of Kenyan Maasai pastoralists and wildlife from cultural, cognitive and economic perspectives. During her fellowship, she will return to her field site in the Amboseli ecosystem to share her research results with the three communities she worked with, and carry out a participatory photography exercise through which local participants will express how they perceive their coexistence with wildlife, as well as a community workshop to share these findings with policy-makers. She will also explore the possibility to involve local Christian pastors as partners in collaborative conservation. The fellowship products will include an exhibit of the photographs and associated stories and a film that will document the steps of this collaborative process.

Aleta Rudeen

Rudeen is a graduate candidate in the Department of Forest, Rangeland and Watershed Stewardship working with Maria Fernandez-Gimenez. Her research focuses on the roles of communication, conflict and science in natural resource collaboration using a two-phase approach. She will use the fellowship to communicate results from her first phase of research on an inactive collaborative group and to implement phase two of her research integrating data and local knowledge in state-and transition models through participatory workshops. Rudeen will write at least two peer-reviewed journal articles and incorporate all phases of research into her final thesis.

Heidi Steltzer

Steltzer is a research scientist in the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory at Colorado State University, whose research is assessing the biological consequences of earlier snowmelt from desert dust deposition in alpine landscapes. For her fellowship, Steltzer will collaborate with the Mountain Studies Institute from Silverton, Colo. to create visualizations of the seasonality of Rocky Mountain alpine landscapes in the year 2020, if desert dust deposition remains high. These visualizations will take several forms, including photos, a slide show and a film, and will fulfill a stakeholder recommendation on an approach to communicate scientific results to stakeholders from a stakeholder-scientist conference on climate change in the San Juan Mountains that was hosted by the Mountain Studies Institute.

April Wackerman

Wackerman is a graduate student in the Department of Construction Management working with Brian Dunbar. Her thesis involves exploring how to shift individuals’ mental paradigms about how construction is conducted. Her research is based on the understanding that the design and construction industry needs to engage in a new conversation and a new approach in order to reverse the damage done by major resource consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from buildings. For her fellowship, and in collaboration with the Institute for the Built Environment at CSU, Wackerman will apply her results to further develop a process guide, called LENSES (Living Environments in Natural, Social, and Economic Systems) that will be used by design and construction professionals to foster a living systems approach to buildings.