Cohort 5:  2013-2014

On March 1, 2013, the Center for Collaborative Conservation (CCC) awarded 13 fellowships to form the fifth cohort of CCC Fellows. These fellows included seven graduate students, three faculty members, and three conservation practitioners. In addition, several undergraduate CCC Interns were selected to work with the new CCC Fellows. These fellows also represent seven departments and three colleges from Colorado State University, and three NGOs.

Our fellow are focusing on problems as diverse as:
  • Barriers in expanding urban agriculture
  • Sustainable composting of coffee harvest waste to mitigate watershed degradation in Mexico
  • Mongolian zoonotic disease brucellosis in the livestock and human populations
  • Community land stewardship on the front range
The sixth cohort of CCC fellows are working across eight countries:
  • Belize
  • Mexico
  • Mongolia
  • Ghana
  • Costa Rica
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Indonesia
  • United States

Learn more about each fellow by clicking on their tab

Jaime Fuller

Collaborative agent-based modeling: assessing livelihood and land-use change in a coastal village in Papua New Guinea

About Jaime

Jamie is a PhD student in the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology (GDPE) at CSU, advised by Melinda Laituri in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability.


Project Summary

Jaime will collaborate with a coastal community in Papua New Guinea (PNG) to explore the utility of agent-based models as a communication and collaboration tool. Understanding how local land managers adapt their livelihood strategies to cope with environmental and social changes is vital to address the complex dynamics of socio-ecological relationships and improve sustainable development objectives. Jamie is collaborating with Peter Ben, Chair of the Kamiali Community Advisory Board.


Papua New Guinea

Andrew Spencer

The Fire Learning Network Training Program: Building Capacity and Bridging the Implementation Gap

About Andrew

Andrew is a Master of Science student in the Forest and Rangeland Stewardship Department at CSU, advised by Courtney Schultz, Assistant Professor in Natural Resource Policy.

Andrew Spencer crop

Project Summary

Andrew’s research project will investigate the effectiveness of the Nature Conservancy’s Fire Learning Network (FLN) and make recommendations for land managers to consider when developing programs that seek to return natural fire processes to fire-dependent ecosystems. Andrew is collaborating with Dr. Chad Hoffman, Assistant Professor- Fire Science; Dr. Leann Kaiser, Assistant Professor- Adult Education and Training Program; Lynn Decker, The Nature Conservancy- North America Fire Learning Network Director; and Jeremy Bailey, The Nature Conservancy- Fire Training and Network Coordinator.


Front Range of Colorado

James Hale

Exploring the Barriers to Urban Agriculture Collaborations in Denver, Co

About James

James is a PhD student in the Department of Sociology, CSU, advised by Michael Carolan – Associate Professor and Chair of the Sociology Department.

james hale

Project Summary

James’ research seeks to shed light upon barriers to expanding urban agriculture. He will be exploring stakeholders’ knowledge and motivations for participating in urban agriculture initiatives in Denver, CO, as well as identifying potential ways for collaborations to leverage resources toward creating more food-secure, just, and sustainable urban communities. James is collaborating with Laurel Mattrey, Sustainability Planner, Denver Public Schools; Nick Gruber, Owner, Produce Denver; Haley Sammen, President of the Board, Sprout City Farms; and Milan Doshi, Owner, Five Points Fermentation Company.


Denver, Colorado

Jennifer Higgins

Brucellosis in Mongolia: Disease control as a mechanism for improving animal, human, and ecosystem health

About Jennifer

Jennifer is a PhD candidate in the Department of Veterinary Medicine, CSU. Her faculty advisor is Richard Bowen, Department of Biomedical Sciences.

JenHiggins_2 crop

Project Summary

Jennifer’s project is a collaborative effort to characterize the prevalence and causative agent of the zoonotic disease, brucellosis, in the livestock and human populations in northern Mongolia with the goal of enhancing the sustainability of the nomadic herding culture in this region. She is collaborating with Dr. Cliff Montagne, Montana State University, Department of Land Resources and Environmental Science, and founder of the NGO BioRegions International; and Mongolian collaborators Mishig Jijigsuren (former governor and veterinarian of Renchinlhumbe sum) and Dr. Erdenebaatar (Head of Public Health at the Mongolian University of Agriculture).


Northern Mongolia

Marianna Castiaux

Watershed approaches for sustainable composting of coffee harvest waste

About Marianna

Marianna is a Master’s candidate in the Conservation Leadership Program of the Human Dimensions of Natural Resources Department at CSU. She is advised by Dr. Jennifer Solomon, Assistant Professor, Human Dimensions of Natural Resources.

Marianna Castiaux.jpg

Project Summary

Marianna’s fellowship is a team fellowship, awarded to the four members of her project team, which also includes Katie Crossman, Matt Jurjonas, and Lorena Mondragon. Their project will be working in the La Suiza Pilot Project Watershed of Chiapas, Mexico to develop a watershed-approach for the sustainable composting of coffee harvest waste to mitigate acute toxicity events, sedimentation of rivers, and water quality degradation. They will identify, develop, and exchange best management practices for harvest waste through stakeholder engagement. They are collaborating with INIFAP (Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales, Agrícolas y Pecuarias’s – National Institute for Forestry, Agriculture and Livestock) and El Colegio de La Frontera Sur (ECOSUR) in Mexico.


Chiapas, Mexico

Megan Matonis

Group learning and collaborative thinking in the Uncompahgre Partnership

About Megan

Megan was a PhD student in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability at CSU during her fellowship. Her advisor was Dan Binkley, Professor, Department of Ecosystem Science & Sustainability. She currently works as a Colorado State Forest Service Liaison.

Megan Matonis

Project Summary

Megan’s fellowship project tells the unique history of the Uncompahgre Partnership, a large forestry collaborative in western Colorado. By unlocking the power of group learning and creative thinking, they have built social capital, accomplished on-the-ground conservation, and sustained momentum over time. Megan is collaborating with Dr. Tony Cheng – Professor, Department of Forest & Rangeland Stewardship and Director of the Colorado Forest Restoration Institute; and Tammy Randall-Parker, Ouray District Ranger, Uncompahgre & Gunnison National Forest, USDA Forest Service.


Southwest Colorado

Melinda Clarke

Enhancing health partnerships near Gunung Palung National Park

About Melinda

Mindy was a PhD student in the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology (GDPE) at CSU. Her advisor was Kathy Galvin, Department of Anthropology and the Natural Resource Ecology Lab.

Mindy Clarke.jpf

Project Summary

Mindy will provide assistance to Health in Harmony (HIH), an innovative, rapidly growing non-governmental organization working to improve human health and conservation near Gunung Palung National Park in Indonesia. Mindy will collaborate with HIH to conduct a participatory evaluation of the organization’s conceptual models, develop a social network analysis, and cultivate relationships with new partners in Indonesia and the United States in order to test, refine and possibly replicate their models in other areas. Mindy is collaborating with Dr. Kirsten Leong, Human Dimensions Specialist, National Park Service and Dr. Kinari Webb, Founder, Health in Harmony.


Gunung Palung National Park, Indonesia

Eduardo Boné

Creating links for rural Conservation in the Sierra Madre Range

About Eduardo

Eduardo is the Coordinator of the Conservation Leadership Through Learning (CLTL) Master´s program in the Human Dimensions of Natural Resources Department at CSU.

Eduardo Bone

Project Summary

He will work to further consolidate ongoing conservation and rural development efforts in and around protected areas in the Sierra Madre range of Chiapas, Mexico. The project will link people, communities and landscapes through development of a regional trail network and associated community-managed ecotourism enterprises. Eduardo will collaborate with communities’ representatives from five biosphere reserves Volcán Tacaná, El Triunfo, La Encrucijada, La Sepultura and El Ocote as well as from communities within the areas connecting these reserves, universities, and NGO’s. He will also work with Jim Barborak, Co-Director for CSU’s Center for Protected Area Management and Training.


Sierra Madre Range, Chiapas, Mexico

Jennifer Solomon

High School collaborative education on plastic waste and behavior in Belize.

About Jennifer

Jennifer is an Assistant Professor in the Human Dimensions of Natural Resources Department in the Warner College of Natural Resources at CSU.

Jennifer Solomon

Project Summary

Students and faculty from Warner College’s new course, Integrated Social and Ecological Field Methods in Belize, will engage in a collaborative education program with Belizean high school students and the Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE) to provide the first estimates of rates of marine plastic accumulation in southern Belize.  This collaborative education program will also gather information on what drives plastic consumption and barriers to behavioral change. Jennifer is collaborating with Celia Mahung, Executive Director of TIDE (Toledo Institute for Development and Environment); James Lord, Environmental Educator at TIDE; and a local high school teacher in Punta Gorda.


Punta Gorda, Belize

John Rizza

Engaging small land owners in conservation stewardship

About John

John is the Small Acreage Management Specialist for CSU Extension and USDA-NRCS in western Colorado.

John Rizza crop

Project Summary

In 2013 John and his partners offered the first Colorado Master Steward program to 12 participants, who own more than 51 acres of land. The purpose of the program is to increase the knowledge of the importance of proper stewardship and support the implementation of stewardship practices on the land. Landowners learn about the benefits of land stewardship, receive practical, hands-on instruction, and are given knowledge to actively and effectively implement stewardship practices. Each topic is customized by local experts in order to provide landowners with the technical information they need to make informed decisions that will protect the resources on private lands. Developing partnerships with local agencies and organizations has been a key to promote the program and ensure the availability of stewardship opportunities in the future.  As a direct result of the class, participants have already begun implementing better noxious weed management, improved grazing rotation schemes, properly composting wastes, and become more efficient at managing their irrigated pastures. Beginning in April, 2014, the second offering of the course will be in Montezuma County.


Montezuma County, Colorado, USA

Katherine Hamilton

Creating collaborative coursework for ecosystem services marketplaces

About Kate

Kate is the Director of Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace.

Project Summary

Kate will work to create a curriculum for a field-based course on Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) in the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica. The objectives of this project include: teaching students and practitioners how ecosystem services connect to the economy and livelihoods in the region; connecting potential decision makers with what is happening in local communities and environments; and creating an engaging, experiential overview course on PES. She will be collaborating with Dr. Josh Goldstein, Assistant Professor, Human Dimensions of Natural Resources.


Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

Lacey Gaetcher

Green livelihood business development within Native American reservations

About Lacey

Lacey is the National Director of the Fort Collins-based NGO Trees, Water & People.

Lacey Gaechter.jpg

Project Summary

In her Tribal Business Development Program, Lacey is helping create “green” livelihoods on Native American reservations in the United States, where there are few other employment options, especially those that honor the Native tradition of respect and care for the resources of Mother Earth. With the help of CSU’s College of Business, Lacey will expand this idea of developing tribal businesses to include creating a format and foundation for Trees, Water & People to act as an incubator for livelihoods in energy conservation. During the Fellowship, Lacey will work with one selected tribal renewable energy start-up business candidate, helping that person or persons establish a viable Native American-owned and operated business in the energy conservation field. Lacey is collaborating with Jessica Rawley and Kathryn Ernst  at CSU’s Center for the Advancement of Sustainable Enterprise; staff associated with the NEON Global Research and Analysis consulting service, and Henry Red Cloud, a Lakota tribal entrepreneur.


Fort Collins, Colorado and Native American reservations across the United States

Noah Jackson

Documentation and storytelling of Ghana cocoa harvests

About Noah

Noah is the Director and Founder of Forest Voices and a Community Forest and Sustainable Agriculture Researcher and Storyteller.

Noah Jackson.jpg

Project Summary

Noah will partner with a group of cocoa farmers in Ghana to develop a course for U.S. undergraduates that involves documenting ecological knowledge of Ghana farmers, participating in the local cocoa harvests, and storytelling. This course is unique because it uses the power of storytelling to help students effectively communicate about farming and this global commodity. Noah is collaborating with Dr. Mary Bricker, Forest Voices; Dr. Bill Borrie, University of Montana, College of Forestry and Conservation; John Asante, Lead Farmer, Asuntua, Bia-Juabeso, Western Ghana; David McNally, TREES Project Manager, Rainforest Alliance, Accra Ghana.