Public-Private Partnerships: Making Conservation Work in the West

Three representatives from the Chama Peak Land Alliance presented a panel discussion at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Sciences on April 12. The panel was part of a 2-panel series entitled “Public-Private Partnerships: Making Conservation Work in the West.” The series, sponsored by the Ucross High Plains Stewardship Initiative, the Westies (a group of Yale students and faculty interested in the American West), and the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy, hosted representatives from the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge the week following the CPLA panel. Emily Olson, CPLA’s Stewardship Coordinator, Manny Trujillo, a CPLA board member, and Mary Stuever, a CPLA partner and New Mexico State Forestry’s Chama District Forester provided an hour’s discussion on the successes and challenges of working together to create a healthier and more resilient San Juan – Chama ecosystem. Students engaged with Ucross High Plains Stewardship Initiative were particularly intrigued with history of land disputes and disagreements in our area. “Why are you willing to be on the CPLA board?” one student asked Mr. Trujillo. His first reply was simply “so I would know what they are doing.” The panel provided examples of how CPLA’s perspective is expanding to include concerns of all area communities. Another student asked – “How is it to have a board with such diverse backgrounds and interest?” Ms. Stuever replied, “Honestly, it is sometimes awkward. Yet the alternative is to surround yourself with like-minded individuals and run the risk of continuing a century-long disconnect between the people who share this landscape. It is hard, but it is how we must operate if we wish to be successful in creating a resilient landscape that supports everyone.” The last question asked of the panel was, “Are you hopeful about the future?” Emily replied, “Yes. There are also many things that unite us including a shared desire to steward the landscape, and in my short time with the organization, have seen how the board has welcomed new perspectives.” The UCross Program and CPLA staff are equally excited to continue fostering a collaboration between CPLA and the University. Should CPLA have a particular research interest, question, or project, Masters and PhD students are always interested to tackling “real-world” issues. CPLA looks forward to continuing and nurturing our Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Sciences connection.

Manuel Trujillo, Emily Olson, and Mary Stuever participating in the Yale School of Forestry Panel.

Manuel Trujillo, Emily Olson, and Mary Stuever participating in the Yale School of Forestry Panel.