Competition Abstracts

The following is a list of abstracts submitted by students for the student award competition.  Students contributions are listed alphabetically. Additional abstracts will be added as they are processed.

The Drowning Fish: Large Landscapes and the Burden of Significance
Blair Braverman, USA
University of Iowa, Nonfiction Writing Program (Graduate)

Using examples from a recent deer-hunting trip, nature writing tropes, a formula for literary tragedy, and an aging cowboy, the writer proposes three unique burdens that young environmentalists carry into a landscape: first, external pressure to develop and display a personal relationship to nature; secondly, anger and guilt over the landscape’s ongoing destruction; and thirdly, an expectation that solace for one’s anger and guilt should come from the very same landscape that inspired them. Ultimately, these expectations limit one’s ability to develop a comfortable and genuine connection to the natural world. “Outdoorsmen” (hunters, fishermen, dogsledders, etc), who often orient a trip around physical tasks rather than the more abstract goals of “meaning” or solace, provide an alternative model for comfort with and connection to nature, one that will better sustain a young environmentalist over the course of his or her life and activism. In this way, the presence of large landscapes and a student’s time in them will come to serve as catalysts for that students’ involvement in further land conservation, and in other forms of environmental engagement.

Preserving the New England Cottontail in Southern Maine
Katelyn Buttler, USA
University of New England, Environmental Studies (Undergraduate)

The New England Cottontail (Sylvilagus transitionalis) is a medium rabbit, native to New England, with a brown coat and white tail. The NEC relies on thicket for habitat in which the rabbit can find food and protection (Chapman 2011). The NEC has declined since 1960 by almost 86% (Barry 2011). This decline has been attributed to habitat loss caused by development, maturing of young forests, and the competition of the Eastern Cottontail (U.S Fish and Wildlife, 2011). In order to end the population decline of the NEC, private lands can be used for habitat, while providing jobs for local loggers, and an foster interest in conservation from students and the community.

The MBC in Nicaragua, and how it might affect the Quiscalus nicaraguensis
Sarah Cowles
University of New England, Environmental Studies (Undergraduate)

The concept of conservation comes from the United States, but has been spread all over the world.  Large landscape conservations are often motivated by the government’s desire to be able to manage the resources on the land.  In developing countries, the government does not always take the needs of the people who live on and around the land into account.   In Nicaragua, there is a large landscape conservation in place called the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, which helps preserve a large chunk of land on the Eastern side of the country.  Unfortunately, the MBC doesn’t have much land on the Western side of the country, which leads to uneven development.  One of the animals that lives solely on the sestern side of Nicaragua, the Nicaraguan Grackle (Quiscalus nicaraguensis), may be expanding its range due to human changes to the area it is endemic to.  The species lives in the marshlands and wetlands that surround lakes Nicaragua and Managua.  A large landscape conservation would help this bird because it would help protect the land that the nicaraguensis lives on and the land around it.  Furthermore, a large landscape conservation would hopefully prevent the forested land from being destroyed and giving the species the opportunity to expand further.

Preservation of Rainforests in Dominica
Sarah Croston
University of New England (Undergraduate)

Dominica is one of the most well preserved places left on this planet. It is teeming with life from its rainforests to its ocean surrounding. Dominica is trying to protect its rainforests in a struggling economy. Rainforests worldwide are suffering because their resources are being exploited. Dominica’s forestry, wildlife, and national parks division’s (FWP) number one goal is to find ways to sustainability use their natural resources while enforcing the need to preserve its protected areas. The resources which are being utilized are the trees for timber for exporting and making room for more banana plantations. There is a need to expand their protected areas to ensure the further preservation of the rainforests. Dominica needs to create an understanding of how vital their resources all for all of their citizens. In the future Dominica could act as an exemplary society the rest of the world to follow. If they continue protecting the most fragile ecosystems left on planet earth, other countries could follow in Dominica’s footsteps.

The Big Picture
Joshua Currier, USA
University of New England, Environmental Studies (Undergraduate)

Human development has a big influence on land conservation but in order to live sustainably we can’t be focused on project level problem solving in individual areas. Patterns of land use stem from economic, ecological and social values of towns and their surrounding communities. We must examine larger areas to fully recognize how they are connected to helps us create opportunities for growth of conservation, restoration and development. A Large landscape approach looks at how these geographic areas are connected by conditions and trends of natural and human influences. Allowing us to plan development that reduces the effects of physical infrastructure like roads, on wildlife and natural resource conservation. This information can be used to deal with problems like sprawl, and build stronger communities that are more knowledgeable of their impact on the land.

The Importance of Urban Agriculture in New York City
Zachary DeLorenzo, USA
University of New England, Environmental Studies (Undergraduate)

New York City is one of the most iconic cities in the world and therefore acts as a catalyst for many of aspects of popular culture in society. Currently, about one half of the Earth’s population lives in urban environments. The importation of resources to maintain contemporary lifestyles in cities around the world has been a immense contributor in the rising levels of air pollutants. Because of this, cities are thought to be somewhat in opposition to nature or absent of it entirely. Urban agriculture may be a possible way to take these industrial environments back to nature. The growth of plant production in New York City would not only provide fresh locally produced food, but it would also reduce the output of Carbon Dioxide in our atmosphere, cleanse the air, purify waters, provide jobs, affordable food for citizens, provide more diversifying ecosystems, and create natural protection from floods and natural disasters.

2012 Establishment of a National Nature Heritage Network in Germany
Tilmann Disselhoff
University of Berlin, Environmental Assessment and Planning Research

Under the supervision of professors Johann Köppel and Johannes Küchler, PhD Student Tilmann Disselhoff at the Technical University of Berlin is working on his dissertation about Voluntary Instruments for Nature Conservation, using the US Land Trust Movement as a case study.
His work has enabled Mr. Disselhoff to transfer knowledge from the US to the nascent private land conservation movement in Germany. Because of his experience with the US land trust movement, Mr. Disselhoff has been hired by the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU), the biggest owner of conservation land in Germany, to help create a national network of land-owning conservation organizations.
At a recent conference organized by the DBU in October 2012, about 70 German conservation and environmental groups formed the “National Natural Heritage Network” – the German equivalent of the Land Trust Alliance. It is hoped that this umbrella organization of all land-owning conservation organizations in Germany will act as a catalyst fostering further growth of private land conservation. Already this National Natural Heritage Network represents some 37 organizations that own about 240,000 hectares (nearly 600,000 acres) of land.

Terminating Eucalyptus Plantations in Brazil
Brittany Dunay
University of New England, Environmental Studies (Undergraduate)

The goal of this paper is to testify for the indigenous people and species of Brazil on the harmful effects eucalyptus plantations are having and to discuss a possible solution to the problem. Impacts include, but are not limited to, culture degradation, water shortages and native species loss. It is necessary to find an economic solution that will make up for the loss of the plantations. An array of solutions exists, however there are two highly notable ones: hydropower and cogeneration. Farms and plants in Brazil, other than those of the eucalyptus trees, can use ecologically sustainable practices so that both the environment and economy can prosper. Countries following the Kyoto Protocol must abide by guidelines to reduce carbon emissions and use Clean Development Mechanism projects to offset damaging effects. The indigenous people wish to be freed from the burden the eucalyptus plantations are having on them. In order to reverse this problem, it is essential to stop their spread within Brazil and discontinue all eucalyptus production.

Conservation of Maine’s Lakes and Stream’s from Invasive Milfoil
Jake Farrell
University of New England, Environmental Science (Undergraduate)

Maine’s iconic lake systems are in jeopardy of infestation from a non-native invasive aquatic weed, most commonly known as milfoil. Milfoil has invaded over 30 lakes in Southern Maine and effects and limits the lake’s recreation use, local economies and vital ecosystems, which reside in that body of water. There are several methods, which can be used to conserve Maine’s lakes from the spread of this invasive species, such as physical control, which is the most commonly used method in Southern Maine today. This fight to conserve our lakes requires not only the efforts of lake officials but also everyone that uses and enjoys these majestic waters to keep them open and clear for years to come.

Protecting the biological phenomenon of the migration of Danaus plexippus
Ryan Fawcett, USA
University Of New England,
 Environmental Science (Undergraduate)

In 1975 it was discovered that the monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus, migrated every year from as far north as Montreal, Canada in the spring to a series of twelve wintering sites in southern Mexico every fall. The current threat level to the monarch butterfly as a species, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, is listed as “near threatened.” However, the natural phenomenon of the monarch’s migration has been labeled as an “endangered biological phenomenon” and has been gaining the interest of conservation groups across the three countries of The United States, Mexico, and Canada. A series of threats to the migration have been identified around the wintering sites in Mexico and around breeding areas and flight paths in other parts of North America. The most apparent threat being the growing scarcity of the monarch caterpillar’s primary food source, milkweed. The plants in the milkweed (Asclepias) genus are being target for removal from both public and private land due to their toxic properties to many forms of livestock. Proposed in this essay are ideas to deal with the degradation of wintering sites in Mexico and ways to protect the breeding areas in other parts of North America.

The Jaguar Corridor as a Model for Large Landscape Conservation
Joe Figel
University of Central Florida, Conservation Biology (Graduate)

The range-wide Jaguar Corridor is the largest working model for wildlife conservation in the world.  One of the most immediate and widespread threats to the Jaguar Corridor is oil palm monoculture, an anthropogenic habitat type in which jaguar ecology is limited to anecdotal data.  Jaguars have adaptable habitat requirements but expansive acreages of oil palm mono-cropping may present a formidable barrier to movement.  Ongoing conversion to oil palm plantations has occurred at two sites with the highest conservation significance anywhere within the Jaguar Corridor – north-central Honduras and northern Colombia.  My ongoing study uses the jaguar and its prey as focal species to examine habitat characteristics and configurations in oil palm plantations that could potentially support jaguar persistence.  Study results will support better land use planning and zoning measures, both of which are crucial for increasing the connectivity value of oil palm plantation landscapes within the Jaguar Corridor.

Taking a Stronger Approach Towards Deep Sea Conservation
Drew Fortin
University of New England, Environmental Studies/Business Department (Undergraduate)

When the Wilderness Act of 1964 was written it defined wilderness as “…an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain…” The definition goes on to describe wilderness as a place where human influence is unnoticeable, where there are outstanding opportunities for solitude or primitive recreation, there are at least 5,000 acres, and has geological, ecological or other features of scientific, educational, scenic, or historical value. I feel that this definition has just as strong of a parallel with aquatic ecosystems as it does with terrestrial ecosystems. I find it concerning that far more terrestrial systems have been designated as wilderness areas than marine. There are not many terrestrial areas left that can be found in their primitive state, yet we have only explored a fraction of our oceans and there remains to be no section of ocean designated as a wilderness area. Now that current research can endow us with more knowledge of the ecology of individuals within these specific oceanic environments we can start finding solutions to the problems that are at hand. For example using the Megaptera novaeangliae or Humpback Whale and the organisms that support them as one group of individuals that share commonalities among species and how they are affected by disturbance, we can see directly how wild marine communities are being affected, and how/why they should be protected.

Implications of Conserving and Preserving Korea’s Tidal Flats
Emily Greene
University of New England, Environmental Studies/Political Science (Undergraduate)

One of the major defining geological characteristics of Korea is its tidal flats.  Along the western and southern coastline, the tidal flats are abundant in biodiversity.  A unique maritime lifestyle also remains a strong characteristic to the culture of Korean people.  However, to understand why tidal flats are an important land mass to Korea it is equally important to understand the political implications of conserving and preserving the tidal flats. Recently, there have been small land reclamation projects to accommodate the development of Korea’s growing population and agriculture.  Land reclamation projects have been used to increase agriculture, arable land, and irrigation systems to meet the consumer demands of the country.  The current conservation and preservation crisis lies within economic and political areas which stem from the decision making of government officials and their interactions with the environment.

Conservation of the White-crowned Pigeon and the Land of Southern Florida and the Florida Keys

David Hague, USA
University of New England, Environmental Studies (Undergraduate)

The Florida Keys and the southern tip of Florida are home to some of the most beautiful and exotic plants that attract both animals and humans. The White-crowned Pigeon (Patagioenas leucocephala) is a threatened bird in the state of Florida and is struggling due to human action and restrictions of traveling and habitual space. Humans need to understand that the bird and its habitat are more important to nature than it so us for a resource. Conservation efforts must be made in order for this bird to survive in a healthy and sustainable way. Examples of conservation practices that include support the White-crowned Pigeon include eliminating the use of herbicides/pesticides, zoning the land to preserve any parts of the land that have not been developed, and educating the people of the White-crowned Pigeon’s lifestyle. Conserving the White-crowned is specifically important because of the high beneficial impact that the bird has on the ecosystem by distributing a large variety of fruit-bearing trees in Florida. Not only can this model of conservation biology be used in save the White-crowned Pigeon, but it can be used by managing other species. Nature holds more intrinsic value than instrumental value.

Peter Huntington
University of Vermont, Environmental Program (Undergraduate)

The existing structure of modern society is supported by industrial practices that
are destructive to people and the planet. A new definition is required for large landscape observation that will lead to a new understanding of the importance of a landscape’s health and connectedness. With this new vision, a radical new approach is offered for conservation.

Conservation of Salmon in the Pacific Northwest
Molly Kelleher, USA
University of New England, Marine Biology/Environmental Studies 

Large Landscape Conservation is a mode of conservation that is complex in many senses. Large Landscape Conservation focuses on a broad geographic scale, and therefore potentially affects a great number of people. This type of conservation can be implemented through groups called Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, such as in the North Pacific. One focus of the North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative is the commercially and culturally valuable Pacific salmon. The Pacific salmon, (Onchorhynchus spp.) are subject to a multitude of environmental problems such as overfishing, habitat degradation, and climate change. The successful management of salmon is dependent on the network of people working together, from private landowners, government agencies, native groups, and more. To achieve true conservation of salmon in the North Pacific, people must work together and with scientists to increase their knowledge and learn about this species ever-changing environment.

Encouraging Voluntary Population Decrease
Ellie Linden, USA
Colby College, Environmental Studies (Undergraduate)

When considering large landscape conservation, overpopulation is the major reason for the conversion of natural terrestrial landscapes into their unnatural condition (Gutzwiller, 2002). In order for other efforts to conserve large landscapes to be productive, the issue of the human population needs to be addressed. A smaller population size will put less stress on natural resources and will require less living space, therefore opening up room for the natural environment. Overpopulation is a large challenge, but could be controlled if more people chose not to bear offspring. This alternative needs to be organized through changing social expectations, making birth control more available, and encouraging people to consider adoption.

A preliminary study into the framework of conservation easements and its application as a private lands conservation strategy in Trinidad & Tobago
Karena Mahung, Belize
University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus, Environmental and Natural Resource Management (Undergraduate)

Conservation easements are a highly innovative and successful conservation tool created out of the need for private lands conservation in the US, and are a conservation strategy looked at by other regions for addressing land management challenges. A basic framework highlights crucial financial, legal and management elements countries should consider when exploring the adoption of conservation easements with their own countries. Based on this framework, the paper then discusses the potential for the use of conservation easements in Trinidad & Tobago, by exploring the country’s ability to meet the various prerequisites outlined in the model framework and innovative ways other countries within the region have met these prerequisites. Through exploratory research, it was found that Trinidad and Tobago finds itself in a unique position to meet financial and legal prerequisites demanded for the application of easements. The Green Fund, an existing financial structure available to the conservation community, is policy mandated to support the provision of economic incentives to private landowners for conservation purposes. Belize, another country within the region, provides key legal frameworks that can possibly be adapted to provide legal support to the movement in Trinidad & Tobago. The possible solutions to financial and legal prerequisites for conservation easements already available in Trinidad and Tobago and the region, along with the strong need for an innovative and effective private conservation tool, provide very strong justifications for further research and exploration into the application of conservation easements in Trinidad and Tobago.

What do a Retired Bus Monitor and Large Landscape Conservation have in Common?
Jacob Marx and Meredith Bates
Colby College (Undergraduate), College of the Holy Cross (Undergraduate)

Colleges are full of people who want to make a difference. Not everyone is an environmentalist, but what animates conservation is the same thing that drives all sorts of seemingly disparate endeavors, and that is a desire to make the world a better place. The Internet presents enormous potential for cohering people towards a common goal and social good and Large Landscape Conservation is a prime example. One way to accomplish this is by creating an online magazine that targets college communities; a magazine based on good ideas and collaboration. The magazine works by disseminating ideas outward, but it also brings doers inward. It takes the people who want to make a difference and puts them in one virtual village. By providing this community with professional guidance and corporate funding we can collaborate better and create smarter. We can also help get college students employed by helping non-profits and responsible corporations to find the choice leaders and ideas among them.

Quabbin Reservoir
Brian Miglorino
University of New England, Conservation and Preservation (Undergraduate)

The Quabbin Reservoir in Massachusetts is one of the largest man-made reservoirs in the United States. It supplies drinking water to all of Massachusetts, including one of the largest cities in New England, Boston. The reservoir covers 39 miles squared, is 18 miles long, and has 181 miles of shoreline. It can hold about 412 billion gallons of water at a time (Dept. of Conservation and Recreation). This reservoir is absolutely crucial to the survival of Massachusetts. Owning a reservoir as large as the Quabbin Reservoir is an enormous benefit to any state. No state would want to be in debt to another state by means of providing drinking water. The Governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, has recently allowed logging to occur in the area and since then, it has severely impacted the quality of the drinking water. Trees around any body of water will act as a natural filtration system and keep the water fresh and remove any toxins that are present, making the water clean enough for people to drink. If the trees are all taken away and the area around the reservoir turns into a barren field, the land around the reservoir would erode. Deval Patrick will soon decide whether or not to allow logging to be permitted in the area. It is absolutely imperative that the logging around the entire reservoir be stopped forever. This reservoir is too important to the state as a whole to risk losing it for the extraction of lumber. One solution that would benefit the state greatly is to make the entire area around the reservoir a wildlife reserve. This would allow the trees to stay in-tact and the wildlife to flourish. Deval Patrick and the rest of the state need to dramatically rethink their priorities if they are choosing to risk everything for the logging industries. If Massachusetts lost the Quabbin Reservoir, there is no doubt that the state’s economy would be crippled. The people of Massachusetts need to get together and help convince Deval Patrick to discontinue logging around the reservoir forever.

Conservation of Wolves in the Western United States
Mathew Miller
University of New England, Environmental Studies (Undergraduate)

There has been a history of conflict between people of the Western United States and wolves. In 1926 they were completely extirpated for ranchers to work without wolves harassing their cattle, and in 1995 the wolves were reintroduced to great success. However the conflict has shifted, rather than focusing on the ranchers as the problem, the issues are found in development. In order to protect the culture of the ranchers and keep the character of the land alive, development must be slowed and eventually stopped in this area. There are two possible routes of actions that will lead to the best outcomes. The first is through zoning the areas surrounding Yellowstone for agriculture use, or even as an expansion of Yellowstone, or perhaps a new park. The other action is simply buying the land and placing easements on the issues. The wolves of this area are important to the ecology of Yellowstone. Their presence encourages healthier elk and increases biodiversity. However protecting the rancher’s is critical to the survival of the wolves. With less ranchers there is less green-space, this hurts the wolves more so than a few of them being shot by ranchers.

Mangrove Preservation in Thailand
Shane Murphy
University of New England, Conservation and Preservation (Undergraduate)

The objective of this paper was to analyze the problems associated with mangrove degradation in Thailand and to create a viable solution to the problem. The main problem associated with the destruction of these mangroves is shrimp farming. Looking at past government regulations and the changes in practices, one can see why the mangroves are in the state they are in today. By focusing on economic incentives, replanting programs, and the addition of stricter regulations, preservation of mangroves can begin. Community involvement will be crucial for this preservation to be successful since the local people are the ones who depend on mangroves for a food source and a barrier from storms. If all goes according to plan, Thailand will be able to live sustainably for generations to come.

Shark Finning in the Galapagos as a Large Landscape Conservation
Katie Pickering
University of New England, Environmental Studies (Undergraduate)

Shark finning in the Galapagos is a serious issue that the islands are facing today. The Galapagos is home to at least 29 endangered shark species. There is currently a temporary shark finning ban set into place this still allows “accidental” catches to be sold. I believe that in order to gain a larger number of supports, the public needs to be better educated on this pressing issue. My solution of education the public is to start with the children of Ecuador. Once children are educated, they can go home and teach their parents what they know. From there, parents can get involved with organizations such as WildAid or Sea Shepherds and work towards raising money and backing for the anti-shark finning movement. With enough support, I believe a permanent ban could be created that no longer allows any sort of shark finning activities to take place.

Examining Large Landscape Conservation to Preserve Native Habitats
Lucy O’Keeffe, USA
Colby College (Undergraduate)

While wildlife conservationists often associate the benefits of large landscape conservation projects with large, charismatic species like wolves that depend on large contiguous tracts of land for their survival, the strategies used in this conservation approach may also positively impact smaller species on a more fragmented landscape.  Areas of the United States and other parts of the world with high population density and concentrated habitat disturbance, may also benefit from land management approaches that actively maintain habitat space for threatened species who often fall under the radar because of their size and perceived lack of significance.  In the United States, state wildlife agencies are responsible for carrying out the conservation of native wildlife and their habitats within their respective state.  However, the decline of early successional habitat in the northeast caused by increased human development and poor forest management, has brought many ecologists to question whether current efforts are enough to maintain healthy populations of this region’s endemic species.  Not surprisingly many of the threatened and endangered species in this region such as the New England Cottontail, are dependent on early-successional habitat, which has decreased by 50% in the northeast since the mid-twentieth century (Brooks, 2003, p.71).  Given that 73% of the land in this region falls under non-commercial private ownership, it is difficult for conservationists to acquire large tracts of contiguous land area that they can be set aside for restoring or creating new habitat for wildlife (Oehler, 2003, p.175).  By investing in the routine management of early-successional habitats and applying the necessary disturbance mechanisms to increase the resilience of this habitat type, conservationists will receive greater results than just taking a species-specific approach. Additionally, state and federal wildlife agencies must extend beyond acquiring land through land trusts and conservation easement programs, and develop a conservation strategy that can be transferred to and accessible for private landowners.  This will require implementing incentive programs that already exist, but also a more active effort on behalf of wildlife agencies to engage the public on the importance of large landscape conservation for maintaining a healthy population of native species in this region.  By addressing the conservation needs through a broader large landscape approach, conservationists can encompass more land into the overall planning process even if they are not going to be directly managing it.  To examine the potential for large landscape conservation in reversing the decline of early successional forest habitat in New England, I use the New England Cottontail as a case study to demonstrate the opportunity that exists to save a species and its habitat on a fragmented landscape.

Restoration for Red-Cockaded Woodpecker Habitat
Kendrha Rosenfield, USA
University of New England, Conservation and Preservation (Undergraduate)

Since 1973, when the Endangered Species Act came into being, conservationists and private landowners have debated over whether to preserve the habitats of many endangered species found in protected and unprotected areas (Ligon et al, 1986). The only woodpecker to make its home in living pine trees is the red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis). However, populations of this non-migratory species have drastically declined, and the bird is now on the endangered species list due to the fact that most of its required habitat has been altered through clearing, urbanization, incompatible forestry practices, and lack of periodic fire to maintain the pine stands in an open condition (Smart, et al, 2012). These activities have greatly contributed to the fragmentation of wildlife habitat, which have led to dire effects on the population size and structure. Because the red-cockaded woodpecker provides important ecological and economic benefits to both humans and the environment, we should strongly consider enacting better conservation efforts for this species and its broad land area.

Managing forest land scape in Northern Maine for the Lynx Canadensis
Joe Simonowicz
University of New England, Environmental studies (Undergraduate)

The Lynx Canadensis, more commonly known as the Canada Lynx, was federally listed in 2000 as a threatened species in the contiguous United States. This species was listed due to its decreasing population within its historical range. This decline was largely due to over trapping for their soft fur. Historically, the Canada lynx range from Alaska, Canada, and across the northern US border as far south as Connecticut and Pennsylvania in the east, and New Mexico in the west (Hoving et al. 2003). Today, lynx are known to exist in Maine, Montana, Washington, Minnesota, and were reintroduced to Colorado. Maine is the only contemporary lynx population in the eastern United States, making it special concern in regards to species conservation. Although the lynx cannot be legally trapped anymore the population has still not fully recovered and remains at risk. It is estimated in some years before 1967 when lynx were protected from harvest in Maine, 200-300 lynx were harvested in Maine (Hoving et al. 2003). Lynx also suffers from habitat fragmentation from logging, road building, and winter recreation. In order to assure the survival of this species in its historic range conservation, efforts through preservation of habitat and forest management should be taken.

The Potential Turn Around for New Mexico

Erika Streim
University of New England, Environmental Studies (Undergraduate)

This essay explores the land degradation that has occurred over many years due to mass droughts in Southwestern North America. Particularly in New Mexico, efforts to combat such destruction of the land have been implemented; however, effective changes have yet to result. This large landscape conservation project entails the origins of the land, the fragile nature of the ecosystems and the political environment that the attempt to reverse the devastation takes place in. My plan, ultimately, is to argue why New Mexico’s officials and residents, thus far, have not been satisfied with their efforts to restore their state’s land.

Colorado College’s Large Landscape Conservation Strategy
Alex Suber
Colorado College (Undergraduate)

Over the last ten years students at Colorado College, with the help of State of the Rockies, have been developing a comprehensive approach to large landscape conservation. In the last few years the efforts of almost a decade have culminated in an engaging and innovative strategy. Student researchers have taken to the field with scientific rigor, producing a full length report card, while each year we have been increasingly incorporating and cultivating an adventurous spirit by bringing a cinematic narrative to the perspective. By delving into the landscapes headfirst and taking a camera along the way, the State of the Rockies project has accumulated a unique compilation of footage taken completely by students. This video component has allowed us to meld traditional research methods with cutting edge film making in order to further engage the youth and the increasingly digital culture. It’s not only the youth we seek to engage. At State of the Rockies students have been influencing policy makers. In the 2011-2012 year alone students have been engaged with policy makers near and afar. We realize that while in school we may not have the ability to enact policy ourselves, but we have the ability to affect those that do. By presenting both the science behind our research and the empirical evidence showcased by videos and photos we have shown policy makers and leaders the scope of the landscapes at stake. The images truly speak for themselves, as you are about to see. As youth, we realize that the conservation decisions made today affect our future. Thus we have taken a stand to influence the people that make them while educating our fellow peers in creative ways.

Student-Driven Conservation and Land Management at Ithaca College
Amber Zadrozny and Madison Vander Hill
Ithaca College, Environmental Studies (Undergraduate)

Ithaca College’s (IC) commitments to student leadership and experiential learning have led to many opportunities for students to get hands-on experience in conservation and land management. The most notable opportunity at the College has been the creation of the IC Natural Lands reserves. The IC Natural Lands organization practices collaborative management, with a continually-adaptive management plan written entirely by students, and a vibrant community of volunteer land stewards. Our definition for large landscape conservation is to maintain the educational value and ecosystem services of the College’s natural areas, to support co-curricular activities, and to guide compatible economic and recreational development. In this essay, we offer the story of the IC Natural Lands reserve system, and the critical role that students have played in its creation and the codification of its management priorities.