Cohort 6:


The Center for Collaborative Conservation awarded twelve fellowships to form the sixth cohort of CC fellows. These fellows include six graduate students, two faculty members and four conservation practitioners. In addition, four undergraduate CCC interns were selected to work with the fellows. The fellows represented four departments and one interdisiplinary program from Colorado State University.

Our fellow are focusing on problems as diverse as:
  • Human-elephant conflict mitigation
  • Community-based business models for rural farming communities
  • Adaptive management for improving sage-grouse habitat
  • Ecological and economic tradeoffs with avian species in agricultural fruit systems
  • Restoring degraded and deforested landscapes
  • Traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) regarding endangered species
The sixth cohort of CCC fellows are working across seven countries:
  • United States
  • Kenya
  • Ecuador
  • Uganda
  • Ethiopia
  • Tanzania
  • Vietnam

Learn more about each fellow by clicking on their tab

Jon Trimarco

Combating Desertification with Samburu Pastoralists

About Jon

Jon is a Master’s student in the Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources (HDNR), at the Warner College of Natural Resources. His major advisor is Dr. Brett Bruyere, an Associate Professor in HDNR.

Jon Trimarco

Project Summary

The traditionally pastoralist people of Samburu County (Ewaso East), Kenya, have expressed strong concerns about the problem of increasing deforestation and desertification on their landscape, and its implications for their livelihoods. Jon’s project will bring together Samburu elders/community-leaders, local conservation practitioners and local educators to find tradition-based solutions to land degradation problems. This entails three elements: 1) A joint-learning process where local Samburu traditional knowledge on land use strategies is combined with science-based management practices to design culturally appropriate means for addressing deforestation and desertification2) an educational component, where local students learn and apply these strategies/objectives through hands-on experiential practices in local settingsand 3) a process of networking through collaboration on the part of project partners, such that future dialogue and collaborative planning is ensured.


Samburu County, Kenya

Anna Mangan

Assessing Bird-Mediated Ecosystem Services and Disservices in Colorado Orchards

About Anna

Anna is a Master’s student in the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology, and her home department is Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology (FWCB).  Her major advisor is Dr. Liba Pejchar, an Assistant Professor in the FWCB department.

Anna Mangan

Project Summary

Anna will be investigating the ecological and economic tradeoffs associated with avian species in agricultural fruit systems and the visual cues related to ecosystem services (i.e. insect removal) and disservices (i.e. crop depredation).  Anna will be collecting biophysical data and connecting it with existing economic data to evaluate the role of birds in orchards under various management scenarios. Her goal is to assess the ecological and economic tradeoffs related to birds for the benefit of land users and conservation decision makers and develop effective means for distributing this information. She will be working closely with producers to conduct field work in orchards along the Western Slope, the principle fruit growing region in Colorado.  Potential outcomes of her research will offer novel insights into the fundamental knowledge of avian foraging and will provide practical solutions for optimizing agricultural productivity and conservation benefits.


Western Slope of Colorado

Justin Lee

Incentivising Private Land Stewardship for Habitat of the Great Green Macaw

About Justin

Justin is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (VMBS).  His major adviser is Dr. Susan VandeWoude, Professor of Comparative Medicine and Associate Dean of Research, College of VMBS.

Project Summary

The Great Green Macaw is on the brink of extinction in Ecuador. A successful macaw breeding program led by the nonprofit organization Fundación Jambelí will soon release its first cohort of captive-born birds into the wild. This CCC Fellowship project will investigate the feasibility of private land stewardship incentive programs aimed at conserving and restoring macaw habitat  urrounding the release site.The Maya Golden Landscape, an ecologically important corridor in Southern Belize, is home to over 20 indigenous Qe’qchi Maya farming communities who rely on services provided by these functioning ecosystems. This project will critically analyze two sustainable farming  echniques, agroforestry and inga alley cropping, to assess the extent to which they maintain biodiversity and the perceived benefits of agroforestry in the community of Indian Creek.


Chongón-Colonche Mountains of western Ecuador

Michael Verdone

Restoration of degraded and deforested landscapes through collaborative conservation

About Michael

Michael is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ARE) and is supervised by Dr. Andrew Seidl, Professor and Extension Specialist-Public Policy in the ARE department. Michael is also a program officer at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Global Economic Program.

Michael Verdone

Project Summary

His fellows work will use economic analysis in a multi-disciplinary, collaborative manner to engage with communities and stakeholders in the process of restoring degraded and deforested landscapes in Uganda and Ethiopia. As part of this fellowship, Michael will also provide small grants to local community ‘restoration champions’ to support restoration activities in their communities. Geospatial-bioeconomic analysis will be used to help direct funding towards the landscapes where it will be most beneficial in terms of providing livelihood benefits (e.g. increased crop yields or timber harvests) and ecological benefits (e.g. reducing erosion, recharging aquifers, or conserving biodiversity).


Uganda and Ethiopia

Rebecca Thomas

Traditional ecological knowledge and conservation of endangered species: The case of the Hawai´ian Crow

About Rebecca

Becky is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources (HDNR). She is co-advised by HDNR Associate Professors Dr. Tara Teel and Dr. Brett Bruyere.


Project Summary

The purpose of her fellowship project will be to investigate actual and perceived traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) regarding the endangered Hawai ́ian crow (ʻAlalā) on the Island of Hawai ́i through a comparison of the beliefs of community elders and conservation leaders. Little is known about TEK surrounding the ʻAlalā, and this information could serve to better connect the goals and motivations of conservation leaders with those of community members. The project will involve a local field assistant in data collection and analysis. The information gathered will be used to facilitate improved communication between conservation practitioners and local communities in Hawai ́i to mitigate social conflict surrounding reintroduction of this species. A possible outcome of the project is to ultimately inform approaches to improving livelihoods for Hawai’ians as well as other indigenous communities in the United States and Pacific Island region through an understanding of the institutional barriers that might prevent interaction with nature in a culturally meaningful way.


Ka'u District, Hawai'i

Stacia Sydoriak

The Community Component: A Case Study of Local and Gendered Collaboration in Developing Hydraulic Fracturing Land Use Policy and Procedure

About Stacia

Stacia is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Sociology at CSU. Her advisor is Dr. Lori Peek, Associate Professor of Sociology and Co-Director of the Center for Disaster and Risk Analysis.

Project Summary

Stacia will collaborate with a variety of stakeholders in the Loveland and Fort Collins, Colorado communities to identify and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the way in which oil and gas industry operators, local governments, property owners and activist organization are helping to shape each cities’ respective land use policies for new oil and gas activities. Partnering with Dr. Peter Hall (Sociology) and Dr. Suzanne Kent (Anthropology and Women’s Studies), the purpose of this fellowship is to explore the ways land use policies related to oil and gas production are being created, reformed, and challenged by men and women engaged in the policy development process as local government employees, industry workers, activists, and landowners. The goal of this fellowship is to develop recommendations to guide future collaborative approaches to oil and gas policy development in Loveland and Fort Collins, as well as other Colorado cities facing a similar challenge.


Fort Collins and Loveland, Colorado

Greg Newman

Developing a collaborative citizen science engagement website

About Greg

Greg is a Research Scientist in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability and works in the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory at CSU. He is also the director of, where he designs, develops, implements, researches, and evaluates cyber-infrastructure support systems for citizen science and community-based monitoring programs.

Project Summary

Despite the growing number of existing and newly forming conservation collaborations across Colorado, there exists no central online database to support their citizen science data collection and management needs. Greg’s project will develop a web-based portal for the Colorado Collaborative Conservation Atlas project and integrate capabilities into the portal to increase citizen science data collection and monitoring activities across Colorado’s collaborative initiatives. Greg will use participatory design approaches with practitioners to collaboratively design and develop the Atlas portal. The project will network synergistic efforts together resulting in broader-scale regional efforts that are locally relevant and broadly applicable to maintaining and monitoring the health and integrity of Colorado’s socio-ecological systems.


This project is web-based.


Retta Bruegger

Collaborative adaptive management strategies for sage-grouse conservation

About Retta

Retta is the Outreach and Research Coordinator for the Learning from the Land Project out of the Warner College of Natural Resources, where she serves as the liaison between ranchers, Extension personnel, agency collaborators and students and faculty at CSU and the University of Wyoming. She is based out of the Colorado State University Regional Extension Office in Grand Junction, CO.

Project Summary

The purpose of Retta’s project, located in Moffat County, Colorado, is to collaboratively design and implement an adaptive management experiment using innovative, rancher-identified techniques for improving sage-grouse habitat. The objectives are to help answer the question of what the average landowner can do to manage for sage-grouse in the local area, and to experiment with a collaborative and participatory approach to applied research. Thus, the purpose is both to generate information on process (i.e., how to implement collaborative adaptive management) and results (i.e., improve knowledge of managing sage-grouse on the local scale). She will also work with a social strategist to design web-based outreach materials on the collaborative adaptive management process and results to educate and engage the broader conservation community.


Moffat County, Colorado

Candace Ducheneaux

Mni - Cheyenne River Sioux Collaboration

About Candace

Candace is the tribal liaison and program coordinator for the Mni Water Restoration Collaborative in Cheyenne River Sioux tribal territory in central South Dakota.

Project Summary

Mni is a grassroots, non-profit, indigenous-led collaboration working to restore the world-wide water cycle through rainwater harvesting techniques and ecosystem restoration. Mni will be hosting a water sustainability/ restoration learning camp in collaboration with Tatanka Wakpala (Swiftbird sustainable community) and Engineers Without Borders-CSU to bring in indigenous grassroots volunteers from local and inter-tribal communities. Volunteers will be provided a two-week hands-on experience in rainwater harvesting techniques and sustainable permaculture. Our goals are to build collaborations, have our selected volunteers return to their communities with applicable experience, and complete at least one pilot water restoration project on Cheyenne River Sioux tribal territory.


Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation, South Dakota

Howard Hallman

Backyard Monitoring for forest health

About Howard

Howard is president of the Forest Health Task Force (FHTF), a Summit County, Colorado, place-based forest collaborative founded in 2005. As part of his duties he oversees a volunteer forest restoration monitoring project on U.S. Forest Service land in the Straight Creek Watershed in partnership with the Friends of the Dillon Ranger District.

Project Summary

Howard’s fellowship project will expand the volunteer monitoring program to include all of Summit County, utilizing citizen scientists to document forest health indicators close to home – “backyard monitoring” — and to research historical forest conditions as a basis for increased collaboration between stakeholders and forest managers. Dr. Tony Cheng, Professor, Department of Forest & Rangeland Stewardship and Director of the Colorado Forest Restoration Institute, will act as the Project Advisor, and Brad Piehl (forestry consultant and FHTF member) will assist Howard with the monitoring program.


Summit County, Colorado

Julius Mbuta

Beehive Fencing in Ruaha National Park

About Julius

Julius is the Assistant Director of The Wildlife Connection, located in the Iringa District of Southern Tanzania.

Project Summary

I will engage with leaders and residents of one community nearby Ruaha National Park, Tanzania, to launch a beehive fencing project. The objectives of this project are to reduce elephant crop-raiding behavior, and provide a new source of income to local farmers through the sale of honey. The initiative will also serve as a demonstration site for other nearby community members, who will be invited to see the fences and talk with the participating farmers about their efficacy.


Ruaha National Park, Tanzania

Tanmay Telang

Using rice straw waste as a substrate for mushroom farming

About Tanmay

Tanmay is the Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of a social enterprise called Fargreen, a company based in Hanoi, Vietnam with an office in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Project Summary

Fargreen is working with rural farming communities in Northern Vietnam to create a community-based business model that will stop the air pollution caused by the burning of waste rice straw, a by-product of rice farming, and instead uses it as a substrate for producing high quality mushrooms.  Tanmay will develop a pilot project that will test the community-based Zero Waste Farming production process by developing a standard procedure for production; develop guidelines in the local language for training the farmers in this production process, as well as train the farmers to produce two types of mushrooms and generate bio fertilizer as a by-product from rice straw waste; provide Fargreen a basis to scale and apply what they learn from this pilot to other villages in Vietnam; and precisely figure out the cost of production and labor involved. Tanmay will also develop a business plan articulating the sourcing, supply chain and marketing strategy to effectively sell the mushrooms, as well as document the implementation of the Zero Waste Farming production process.


Northern Veitnam