Mar 082010
Authors: Abel Oshevire

A $300,000 alumni donation is helping CSU’s graduate conservation specialization program to make connections with ecology organizations in Southern Mexico.

Set to begin on August 23, the Conservation Leadership Through Learning program will offer students the opportunity to partner with Mexican environmental agencies to develop and promote sustainable living practices for locals.

“CLTL will help emphasize the fact that the United States does not have to work alone to help bring change where it is needed, but also work with these people to bring change,” said Peter Newman, an associate professor and associate dean of Academic Affairs of Natural Resources.
“This program is all about building relationships,” he said.

CSU students will travel first to Mexico, said Scott Webb, director of Advancement for Warner College of Natural Resources.

“Students will immediately be exposed to and be able to deal with real life issues, which involve natural resources,” he said.

The program will give students a chance to interact with resource managers from different countries and develop recycling and water treatment programs for rural communities in developing nations.

CLTL is partnered with the United Nations, Mexico’s National Commission of Protected Natural Areas, ECOSUR –– a public institution of scientific research in Southern Mexico –– Conservation International and the Nature Conservancy. 

Though Mexico is the first, CLTL plans to travel to other countries in the future.

“Besides Mexico, we have connections with various countries around the world including Africa,” Webb said. “This (educational) model could be used wherever there are natural resources.”

Newman said he believes the program would benefit students and faculty by creating a learning community made up of non-governmental organizations, locals, government practitioners and university researchers in Mexico.

To enhance the research network, CSU’s Department of Forest, Rangeland & Watershed Stewardship, Department of Fish, Wildlife & Conservation Biology and the Departments of Anthropology and Sociology are contributing faculty and resources.

The idea for CLTL came from CSU associate professor of Natural Resources George Wallace who has conducted research in America and Latin America for more than 20 years. CSU and Latin American students have done research under Wallace while enrolled in exchange programs.

Warner College of Natural Resources received a gift of $300,000 from Ying Lee, a CSU alumna, in November. Following Lee’s requests, the money will support CLTL.

Lee, who graduated CSU in 1973, has made donations to the library and to student support funding. This is the largest donation she has made.

Staff writer Abel Oshevire can be reached at

CSU’s new Conservation Leadership Through Learning program

  • The master’s specialization program is set to begin August 23
  • 50 people have applied to the two-year program
  • Connects CSU researchers, students with resource managers from developing nations to develop and promote sustainability in rural c communities
  • Will send students first to Mexico
  • Received a $300,000 donation from CSU alumna Ying Lee in November
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