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Symposium recordings now available

All the sessions from the 2021 Salazar International Symposium for Conservation Impact in late September are now available to watch on the Center's YouTube channel! Whether you weren't able to attend or want to share or re-watch content, be sure to check out the event website for links to all of the keynotes and panels.
View the symposium YouTube playlist
You can also view and download the graphic recordings from Day 1 and Day 2, and be sure to check out these articles covering Secretary Vilsack's announcement, live at our event, of $3 billion in new climate-smart agriculture and forestry funding:

Stories from Thriving Cities

In September, the Center's Thriving Cities Challenge announced funding implementation awards for eight teams, following the Finalist Pitch Fest - recordings of which are available to watch online. Congratulations to the winning teams: Festival Beach Food Forest, Canfield Consortium, Council for Watershed Health, Ecoworks, EEECHO, Turner Stations Conservation Teams, Western Reserve Land Conservancy, and Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice!

Going forward, we'll also continue to engage with and support the entire finalist cohort wherever possible in their efforts to realize climate equity and resilience through green space in their communities. In that spirit, we're excited to share updates from three of our Thriving Cities Challenge finalists. 

Two Challenge awardees are forging a partnership to improve urban food spaces in underserved communities. The teams, Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice (YMPJ) in the Bronx, NY, and Festival Beach Food Forest (FBFF) in Austin, TX, met during a series of capacity-building workshops offered by the Salazar Center this past summer, which were designed to foster a community of interest and build connections among the Challenge finalists.  

Leaders from YMPJ and FBFF first met during a breakout session in early July. Both teams recognized that they shared similar missions and values, and that they might improve their own projects through collaboration and knowledge sharing. In August, Umair Khakoo of FBFF visited the Bronx River Foodway, YMPJ’s model for how communities can activate underutilized public spaces to build equity, health, and resiliency. YMPJ Director David Shuffler and Lead Organizer Infinitae Speights-Stockton took Umair on a tour of the Foodway, including the opportunity to engage the NYC Parks Deputy Commissioner Liam Kavanagh with questions. Throughout the day, the two finalist teams shared best practices as they relate to partnering with government, the challenges of gentrification, scaling place-based initiatives, shifting policy, and opportunities for collective fundraising. Since then, the partnership has grown. YMPJ and FBFF have begun meeting regularly to plan peer learning sessions, to coordinate social media strategies, and to develop shared communication tools such as a podcast series.  
Earlier this month, the Denver Post sat down with the Challenge finalist team from Denver, CO, to learn more about the group's proposal to restore nature and draw economic activity in the city's Five Points neighborhood. The team, led by local business False Ego in partnership with the National Wildlife Federation, has activated a coalition of local businesses, a major developer, nonprofits, and other organizations to "green" of the Five Points neighborhood in Denver, that has historically been overlooked, in part because of redlining. Acts of what Jevon Taylor, owner of False Ego, calls “guerilla gardening” in public rights-of-way have blossomed into a growing network designed to help businesses attract customers and to restore green space in the former industrial area’s concrete corridors. 

“We now have a pretty well-developed concept, and we’ve got partners who are interested,” says Brian Kurzel, executive director of the regional National Wildlife Federation office. “Now, we’re at the stage of really needing capacity to engage with the community more, to hear their vision as well as leveraging investment and policy advocacy to try to make sure that the policies and practices of the city make this easier, not harder.” Read the full article online.

Photo by Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post

An update from Borderlands Restoration Network, winner of 2020 Connectivity Challenge

In 2020, Borderlands Restoration Network was awarded $100,000 through the Center’s Connectivity Challenge for its proposal to conserve agaves, increase agricultural sustainability, and protect bats in the US-Mexico borderlands. The team proposed to create and implement a sustainability certification for producers of bacanora, a regional mescal distillate. By establishing a framework for these farmers, they hoped they could realize a range of positive impacts in the region, from enhancing habitat connectivity for nectar-feeding bats to celebrating regional food heritages and restorative economies. 

One year into their two-year funding period, the team has made impressive progress. They have built a collaborative network of stakeholders—including eleven partners, three bacanora producers and three brands, and three municipalities—to develop the sustainability certification, and promoted binational collaboration on ecosystem protection efforts on both sides of the US-Mexico border. The team has also signed an agreement with the Bacanora Regulatory Council of the Denomination of Origin, opening a path for the development of an inclusive, science-based policy to support both conservation and local communities in Sonora. On the ground, the team has identified and restored critical areas for agave conservation and the Lesser Maguey Bat, and has started to map and model baseline population data of Agave palmeri and Agave angustifolia.  

To learn more about this innovative project and what’s next, check out the project update the team gave as part of the Thriving Cities Challenge pitch fest, which is available to watch online.

Internship opportunities for CSU students

We're hiring! The Center is currently accepting applications from Colorado State University students for two roles, a Communications Intern and a Graduate Research Associate. Students studying and interested in conservation, natural resources, environmental studies sustainability, and public policy are encouraged to apply by November 19; questions may be directed to catie.boehmer@colostate.edu.

About the Center

The Salazar Center supports and advances the health and connectivity of the landscapes and human communities of North America – be they urban or rural; working or wildlands; public or private. We know that healthy natural systems support climate adaptation and resilience, protect biodiversity, and support long-term human health. Our intersectional approach builds bridges that connect academic research, community practice, and policy development.

We envision a future where healthy, connected landscapes in North America support a rich diversity of life, play a critical role in responding to climate change, support the production of clean air, water and other economic benefits for human communities, and are conserved and protected across political borders throughout the continent.

The Center was founded by former US Secretary of Interior, US Senator, and Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar.

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Our offices at CSU in Fort Collins are in the NE corner of Johnson Hall on the second floor (Room 201), where we are hosted by the School of Global Environmental Sustainability (SoGES). The Center also has an office in the CSU Denver Center at 17th and Glenarm.

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