Thursday, November 17, 2011

Interesting International Interdisciplinary Internship

For the last three years, CSU's Human Dimensions of Natural Resources Department (HDNR) has been developing and implementing a program of collaborative capacity building efforts with the Wildlife Institute of India (WII). A formal partnership was established between CSU and WII through the signing of an International Memorandum of Understanding in 2008 to carry out research and training initiatives focused on enhancing protected area management, mitigation of human-wildlife conflicts, and the incorporation of social sciences in conservation planning and decision making.

An internship opportunity was developed this past summer for Vinamra Mathur, a student from India who is currently an honors undergraduate in the Environmental Science Program at University of Manchester, UK. The goal of the internship was to provide opportunities for Vinamra to develop skills and experience in several aspects of environmental science as a volunteer intern working on projects for both HDNR and CNHP during the summer of 2011.

Vinamra with his improvised raingear and ready for anything. Photo by David G. Anderson.

Vinamra spent several weeks assisting CNHP Ecologist Joe Stevens and Botanist Bernadette Kuhn and their field crews with vegetation sampling and mapping in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado and Yellowstone National Park and Bighorn Canyon Recreation Area in Wyoming as a part of our GLORIA project. He then spent some time at the US Air Force Academy with CNHP Director Dave Anderson, where he saw some of the rarest plants in the area. Another day was spent with CNHP Botanist Pam Smith on surveys of rare plants and plant communities within Jefferson County.

Vinamra then spent a week with CNHP's wetland field sampling crew, led by Laurie Gilligan and Erick Carlson, sampling wetlands all across the state. On this trip Vinamra learned wetland sampling methods that are being used by CNHP as partners in EPA's National Wetland Condition Assessment. Another three days were spent in the field with John Sovell, CNHP Zoologist monitoring the Pawnee Montane Skipper. The Pawnee Montane Skipper is a federally threatened species of butterfly that occurs only in the South Platte River drainage of Colorado. In partnership with the USDA Forest Service and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, CNHP has been monitoring this species since 2004.

Measuring weeds at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Photo by David G. Anderson.

After nearly 2 months in the field with CNHP, Vinamra spent some time in and around Fort Collins working with HDNR faculty and staff, learning about basic concepts and methodologies for examining the social aspects of natural resource management.

For all the details of Vinamra's summer internship at CSU, check out the full article in the Warner College of Natural Resources fall newsletter.

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