For almost five weeks in late summer, 22 natural resource management professionals from 13 Latin American countries and Equatorial Guinea in Africa participated in an international field course on protected area management through Colorado State University’s Warner College of Natural Resources. The training, given in Spanish, celebrated its 21st year.
The training allowed participants the opportunity to gain extensive field experience in U.S. parks and reserves, compare case studies from their own nations and develop strategies for confronting conservation challenges within their home countries. All participants developed an action plan for follow-up activities they would implement on their return to the parks and nature reserves where they work.
“Sharing the experience among participants from Latin America and Africa and getting to know the U.S. protected area system enriched and broadened my perspective on different protected area management strategies I might apply back home,” said Eri Ortiz, a training participant from the Mexican Protected Area Commission.
Many federal, state, county, municipal and private land conservation initiatives in the Rocky Mountain region provided field sites for instruction and skill development. Key ideas covered in the classroom, field trips and practical exercises included:
- Social, economic and environmental benefits of protected area
- Fostering effective stewardship of parks and reserves
- Tourism planning and management
- Community and stakeholder outreach
- Climate change and protected areas
- Inter-agency cooperation
- Landscape-level conservation
- Rural economic development
- Law enforcement
- Research and monitoring
- Conservation finance and governance
According to Jim Barborak and Jim Wurz, course coordinators from the Center for Protected Area Management and Training in CSU’s Warner College of Natural Resources, the course has trained more than 425 conservation professionals since 1990 and is recognized internationally as one of the premiere training events of its type.
In addition to CSU’s sponsorship through the Center for Protected Area Management and Training, the course received support from the USDA Forest Service Office of International Programs. This year’s course also was supported by Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Wildlife Conservation Society, the German Development Cooperation Agency, the US Agency for International Development, the Butler Foundation, Semeia Institute of Brazil, and DAR-Peru. The US National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Land Management, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Program, and Larimer County Department of Natural Resources provided in-kind support by hosting the course’s field components.
For more information about CSU’s Center for Protected Area Management and Training, visit http://warnercnr.colostate.edu/cpam-home/