Note to Reporters: If members of the media are interested in speaking with any of the Latin American natural resource management professionals, alumni of the program or would like to sit in on a course on campus on Friday, Aug. 6, contact Kimberly Sorensen at (970) 491-0757 or Kimberly.Sorensen@colostate.edu.
For the past five weeks, 18 natural resource management professionals from 10 Latin American countries have participated in Colorado State University’s Management of Wildlands and Protected Areas program. The training, given in Spanish, is celebrating its 20th year.
The course has trained more than 400 conservation professionals since 1990 and is recognized as one of the premiere training events of its type. The training is offered by the Center for Protected Area Management and Training within CSU’s Warner College of Natural Resources with sponsorship support from the USDA Forest Service office of International Programs.
From their extensive experience working with Latin American conservation professionals, CSU researchers George Wallace and Craig MacFarland developed the Management of Wildlands and Protected Areas course in 1990 to respond to the region-wide need to develop planning and management capacities among natural resources technical personnel.
Rapid growth in Latin America’s national protected area systems during the past two decades, accompanied by social and political changes, has meant that the best and brightest natural resource professionals often have ascended quickly to positions of authority.
The course allows them to be removed from their daily responsibilities in order to gain extensive field experience, 70 percent of the course occurs outside the classroom, learn about and share experiences with colleagues from other countries, interact with U.S. managers, and develop strategies for confronting the challenges they face at home.
Recognizing that no single definition of protected areas is adequate, the course makes use of the entire range of federal, state, county, municipal and private land conservation initiatives in order to build skills in land use and public use planning, community and inter-agency communication and cooperation, landscape-level conservation, rural economic development, field level protection, maintenance, monitoring and various other topics.
On Saturday evening, Aug. 7, a closing event will include a dinner and celebration of the 2010 course, as well as the course’s 20-year history. Several participants from past years will speak about the course’s influence on their professional careers. In addition, George Wallace, who is retiring from CSU, will be recognized for his efforts in support of the Management of Wildlands and Protected Areas course and of conservation in general. The event is not open to the public.