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CALL FOR PAPERS on Students as Conservation Catalysts

The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in Cambridge, Massachusetts announces its 2013-2014 call for papers from undergraduate and graduate students, recent students, and young professionals that participate in and lead projects that catalyze large landscape conservation initiatives.

Authors of 4 or 5 selected submissions willing to further develop their work for a widely-circulated publication will be eligible to be awarded a Lincoln Travel Grant (approx. $3,000 per participant) to attend the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Parks Congress taking place in November 2014 in Sydney, Australia.

For the purposes of this call for papers, large landscape conservation initiatives of interest are categorized as:those initiatives, projects and programs that are proving to be novel, strategically significant, measurably effective, and transferable to other institutions and jurisdictions in conserving land and biodiversity across multiple jurisdictional boundaries, involving multiple sectors (public, private, non-profit/non-governmental and academic), and potentially involving multiple fields of study.

Of particular interest are initiatives in which collaborative efforts across parcel and sectoral boundaries demonstrate that the cumulative impact of the profiled initiative is "greater than the sum of the parts" in terms of biodiversity conservation, water quality, sustainable resource production, amenity value, or some other ecosystem service. Profiles of exemplary initiatives may be found on this website.  

Requirements:

  • Applicants must be students currently enrolled in either an undergraduate or graduate college or university program; or be recent graduates that are now serving as conservation professionals that have graduated within the past 3 years; or be young conservation professionals 35 years in age or less.
  • Initial submissions should be presented in narrative style (or some other style accessible to a large lay audience) of 1,000 words or less; visual presenations must not exceed 5 images, or 5 minutes of audio or video content.
  • Deadline: All interested applicants must submit their proposals no later than February 15, 2014 for review to James Levitt, Fellow, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, at  studentsascatalysts@gmail.com.

For more details please click here.

News

November 20 Webinar: 

Insights On Global Collaboration 

Our FREE online dialogue will take place on Wednesday, 11/20/2013 at 11 am EST.

Register here to be a live participant.  

We will talk with Senior Advisor to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Stephen Woodley, who is an expert on global strategies for reaching ambitious habitat and biodiversity conservation goals.  Woodley will be joined by Crista Valentino and Elaine Hsiao, two of the young leaders working to engage a new generation in the global biodiversity conservation movement. 

Stephen, Elaine and Crista will be discussing plans for the upcoming IUCN World Parks Congress, to be held in Sydney, Australia in November 2014.  As reported  by the IUCN WPC website, 

"The IUCN World Parks Congress is a landmark global forum on protected areas held every ten years. As the world's most influential gathering of people involved in protected area management, it sets the global agenda for the following decade."  

Conservationists from around the world hold high hopes for what can be achieved both at the Congress, and what standards can be established for the decade to come. 

In Focus: Conservation Lessons from Kenyon College

In the scenic town of Gambier, OH, Kenyon College has put itself on the map of global conservation efforts for its astounding innovations engaging a small liberal arts college in the process of private landscape-scale conservation. Ever since Bishop Philander Chase founded the college in 1824, Kenyon has prided itself on its picturesque rural campus that has won the hearts of decades of students, faculty, and visitors alike. Kenyon has tapped into the identity its community associates with the college campus and natural landscape in order to fuel conservation efforts and establish a legacy of land conservation that the college continues to expand with each passing year. Especially in the context of nearby farm auctions, land sales, subdivisions, and accelerating commercial development, timely and continuing action is necessary for a place like Kenyon College.

As a result of encroaching threats to Kenyon’s surrounding lands over the years, the Philander Chase Corporation (PCC) and the Owl Creek Conservancy (OCC) were both established in 2000 in order to promote land conservation throughout Knox County, where Kenyon is located. The principle objective of PCC is to preserve and maintain the open spaces, scenic views, farmland, and characteristic landscapes surrounding Gambier, OH. The OCC focuses on the conservation of natural and agricultural land primarily through the preservation of woodland, wetlands, farmland, waterways, scenic vistas, and wildlife habitats of environmental, historic, and community importance.  Both organizations operate as land trusts that are separate entities from the College, allowing the community to take advantage of agricultural and conservation easements that the College itself could not qualify for.

Through various successful alliances that the PCC and OCC established with government agencies, as well as partnerships with policy makers at the Township, County, and State levels, Knox County lands surrounding the College have been conserved at astounding rates over the past decade, all with the collaboration and input of both the local community and Kenyon College. To the best of our knowledge, PCC is the only land trust in the country that is part of an educational institution, and utilizes the catalytic and financial power of a college, its students, and its alumni network to advance local conservation efforts. Students were enlisted to aid local farmers in preparing funding application essays for conservation easements, and Kenyon student groups centered around conservation efforts establish mechanisms for students to be more directly involved in tangible local conservation efforts. Additional benefits to Kenyon’s catalytic conservation dynamic include more amiable relationships between Kenyon students and the local community, an increasingly impressive campus that draws prospective students and alumni to Kenyon’s campus, and enduring conservation efforts that will preserve the local heritage of natural beauty.

For more information on the conservation initiatives surrounding Kenyon College, a CCN profile written by Douglas Givens, can be accessed here: http://www.conservationcatalysts.net/members/kenyon-college-knox-county-ohio-land-preservation

A video on Kenyon College’s conservation efforts with PCC and OCC can be found here: http://www.kenyon.edu/x44947.xml

Below, please find maps of Knox County and conserved lands pursued by the PCC, and notice the incredible change in conserved lands between 1998 and 2013.

 

 


Resurrecting the Colorado River Delta

Multi-disciplinary focus helps to bring the estuary back to life

Since the 1930s, a series of huge dams along the Colorado River - including the Hoover Dam, which serves a variety of municipal, agricultural and industrial uses – have virtually drained the Colorado River Delta.  After the dams arrested the spring floods that had come for millenia, expanses of mudflats and invasive salt cedars could be seen in the dry riverbeds and seemingly empty estuaries stretching from the US-Mexican border all the way to the head Gulf of California (also known as the Sea of Cortez). Where Aldo Leopold and John Steinbeck had once observed abundant marine life and waterfowl was now left arid and relatively inhospitable conditions.

Although some experts had given up hope of seeing the Delta revived, others carefully studied and nurtured some modest springs of hope.  These springs of hope were both physical and virtual, ranging from inventively repurposed wastewater sources to cross-boundary research collaboratives. Today, with the help of universities, colleges and research institutions located throughout the Colorado River Basin and beyond, the Delta is slowly but surely coming back to life.

The video posted above describes the work of the Sonoran Institute, a Tucson-based organization that has focused both on science and on community development in the Delta area for a number of years. Their work, spearheaded by Francisco Zamora, has included a number of demonstration projects that show, literally on the ground, that bi-national collaboration can have dramatic impacts both on ecosystems and community expectations that a recovery of the Delta is a real possibility.

Several different departments at the University of Arizona in Tucson likewise are working on longstanding efforts to revive the Colorado River Delta. Prominent among them is the bi-national Research Coordination Network (RCN) that was initiated by Karl Flessa, head of the U of A’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, with the support of the National Science Foundation in the US.  Flessa discusses his work, and how it advanced conservation in the real world, in the video featured here.

In some cases, focusing institutional attention on the Delta has involved getting your feet – indeed, your entire body – wet. Very wet. The State of the Rockies project at Colorado College, based in Colorado Springs, is focusing for two consecutive years on the Colorado River, from its headwaters to the Delta.  Through the project, undergraduate researchers have engaged top decision-makers at the United States Department of the Interior in their explorations. Most dramatically, perhaps, is the interaction of two CC undergraduates who kayaked the length of the river and then spoke to senior Interior officials about what they saw.

The recovery of the Colorado River Delta is still in its very early stages, and the shape and pace that recovery will take is still very much in question.  What is much more clear is that the active participation of colleges, universities and research institutions will make critical contributions to the effort, adding expertise, in-depth experience in the region, and considerable energy and enthusiasm.


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The Conservation Catalysts network is a project of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.


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