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Environment / Sustainability

Fellowship empowers individuals to solve conservation issues through collaboration

December 12, 2013

CSU's Center for Collaborative Conservation is now accepting applications for its 2014-15 Collaborative Conservation Fellows Cohort.

David Knight, CCC Cohort 4 Fellow and Ph.D. Student, in the Philippines in 2012 where he worked to link local education programs with coastal communities to improve sustainable livelihood opportunities through environmental education. Unique fellowship

The unique fellowship is open to CSU students, faculty and research scientists, as well as conservation practitioners and stakeholders who will have a collaborator within CSU. The application deadline is Jan. 31, 2014, and application forms and information are available on the CCC’s website.

The CCC Fellows Program is designed to amplify contributions to solving critical conservation issues by strengthening diverse stakeholder engagement and forging novel collaboration opportunities. The program promotes interdisciplinary research and connects learning with action to create solutions for conservation issues locally and around the world.

Global reach

Each Fellow selected for the 2014-15 Cohort will receive mentoring support and up to $8,000 in funding to pursue a collaborative project they have designed to help conserve an ecosystem or enhance a community anywhere in the world. Previous projects have included implementing a regional trail network to strengthen community-managed ecotourism in Mexico, studying the impacts of disease on sustainable nomadic herding in Mongolia, and working to overcome roadblocks to expanding urban agriculture in Colorado.

Sebastian Africano, international director Trees, Water & People (TWP) and CCC Cohort 4 Fellow, working with partners in Haiti to help farmers develop sustainable sources of income by adding diverse, agro-forestry plantations to current farming practices.  “The Collaborative Conservation Fellowship Program is about taking a conservation idea or issue that is bigger than you and connecting to a powerful network of collaborators who, together, can achieve really big things,” said CCC Director and renowned CSU ecologist Robin Reid. “CCC Fellows are mentored to think outside of the box and collaborate with diverse minds to transcend boundaries to reach conservation goals.”

Once selected, Fellows attend a multi-day training retreat, and meet with other fellows and CCC staff members to discuss individual projects as well as topical issues in collaborative conservation. During this 18-month fellowship period, Fellows will assist each other with their projects, participate in CCC conferences and take short courses, classes and trainings to advance their knowledge in collaborative conservation.

Collaborative conservation

The Fellows also get to contribute their work to the CCC’s Collaborative Conservation Learning Network - a free, online network and resource portal where collaborative conservation tools and principals are developed, shared, tested and adapted for real world applications. Following their term, Fellows are encouraged to remain engaged with the CCC by attending CCC activities, participating in future fellowship review panels and acting as trainers for future retreats and short courses – creating a growing and meaningful conservation network.

Liba Goldstein, assistant professor at CSU and CCC Cohort 1 Fellow, working with public and private landowners in Hawaii on 'win-win' conservation for biodiversity and livelihoods through native birds conservation that also supports seed dispersal and restoring understory fruiting plants.

The selected members of the CCC’s sixth Fellowship Cohort will be announced March 1, 2014, and fellowships will begin on that date and run through August 2015.

'Dig deep'

Advice for Fellowship hopefuls? “When people are applying for the CCC Fellowship, I ask them to really dig deep and think about their conservation dream - and apply for that,” said Reid.

The CCC is an initiative of CSU’s Warner College of Natural Resources and connects conservation interest areas at CSU with communities around the world who are vested in those same interests. The program is led by renowned environmental scientist Robin Reid who has dedicated her research to finding a balance between the conservation needs of humans and wildlife through participatory community research. Reid was awarded the 2012 Sustainability Science Award from the Ecological Society of America, and recently published the book Savannas of Our Birth: People, Wildlife, and Change in East Africa. In addition to directing the CCC, she is a senior research scientist at Warner College’s Natural Resource Ecology Lab, and a faculty member in the College’s Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, Department of Forest and Rangeland Stewardship, and Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability.