Interview with Martha Bierut

In this installment of Field Notes, we chat with PhD student Martha Bierut. Martha completed her MSc in Conservation Leadership at Colorado State University in 2019, and she is currently a PhD student and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow in Dr. Jon Salerno and Dr. Jen Solomon’s labs in the Human Dimensions of Natural Resources department. As a conservation social scientist, Martha’s research explores elephant management and polycentric governance. In our interview, we talk about how she found her way to social science, the importance of collaborative research, and more.

Interview with Monica Lasky

In the latest installment of Field Notes, we chat with Masters student Monica Lasky. After conducting multiple field research projects throughout the U.S. and beyond, Monica decided to pursue a Masters degree through the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology, under the advisement of Dr. Sara Bombaci with a focus on large African mammals. We speak about her recent trip to South Africa for ecological field research, some of the challenges of conducting cross-cultural research, and her achievement in receiving an NSF GRFP award.

Interview with Dr. Matt Luizza

Our latest instalment of Field Notes is an interview with Dr. Matt Luizza, a program officer with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Africa Branch. Matt completed his PhD at CSU, and now serves as the lead to the Africa Branch on issues of pastoralism, transhumance, community-based conservation, and conflict-conservation dynamics in Africa’s Sudano-Sahel. In our conversation with Matt, we talk about his work supporting African elephant conservation, his reflections on the complexity and importance of ethical conservation, and the latest trends in conservation that have caught his attention.

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A Conversation with Dr. David Reip -Art and History in Southern Africa

In this episode of Field Notes, we interview with Dr. David Reip, an associate professor of Art History at CSU. David's area of research centers on South Sotho art and history in southern Africa. He spent more than five years living in South Africa between 2000 and 2011, working with several NGOs and completing his field research with support from a Fulbright Fellowship, and a Stanley Award for International Research. Most recently, David has been involved in an ongoing multi-disciplinary project entitled Africa Meets Africa, which explores southern African cultural heritage and uses cultural context as a link to understanding the arts, mathematics, language, and history. In our conversation we talk about Dr. Reip’s work, his journey in academia and what it means to do, good, socially responsible research.

Reflections on a career as a geographer: A conversation with Dr. Melinda Laituri

In this instalment of Field Notes is an interview with Dr. Melinda Laituri, a soon-to-be retired professor in the department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability. Dr. Laituri is a geographer, a geospatial analysis specialist and the Director of the Geospatial Centroid at Colorado State University. In our conversation, we’ll talk about Melinda’s current project mapping and investigating second-order impacts of COVID-19 around the globe. We also discuss her reflections on her career as a geographer,  the role of western researchers working  in communities around the world, and the shifts she thinks academia needs to make in terms of how we evaluate success and the role of higher education in society. 

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Reflections on a career as a geographer: A conversation with Dr. Melinda Laituri

In this instalment of Field Notes is an interview with Dr. Melinda Laituri, a soon-to-be retired professor in the department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability. Dr. Laituri is a geographer, a geospatial analysis specialist and the Director of the Geospatial Centroid at Colorado State University. In our conversation, we’ll talk about Melinda’s current project mapping and investigating second-order impacts of COVID-19 around the globe. We also discuss her reflections on her career as a geographer,  the role of western researchers working  in communities around the world, and the shifts she thinks academia needs to make in terms of how we evaluate success and the role of higher education in society.

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Humans, Livestock, and the Land

A discussion with Dr. Kevin Jablonski and Jasmine Bruno

Please take a listen to a discussion with two social-ecological rangeland researchers, Kevin Jablonski and Jasmine Bruno, hosted by the Africa Center’s Tomas Pickering. In part 1 of our interview, we talk about some of the misconceptions and opportunities for livestock-wildlife landscapes, the positive role of pastoralism, new strategies for pastoralists and conservation, and more. 

In part 2, both Kevin and Jasmine provide some quick advice for graduate students interested in rangeland-pastoral systems.

Part 1: Humans, livestock and land

Part 2: Advice for graduate students interested in rangeland-pastoral systems

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A Kenyan researcher's reflections on elephant and wildlife conservation

An Interview with Nelson Mwangi

Nelson Mwangi works for Save the Elephants in Samburu, Kenya. Here Tomas Pickering interviews him about his work in elephant conservation, working across cultures and knowledge, and advice for researchers working in Kenya.

We have broken the interview into two sections for easier listening. Enjoy!!

Section 1: Conservation across countries and cultures

Section 2: Personal experiences with wildlife conservation

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Reducing malaria by making your blood an insecticide

An Interview with Dr. Brian Foy

Dr. Brian Foy is a professor in the department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology at Colorado State University (website). He and his coauthors recently published their research studying the use of a drug called Ivermectin to help kill mosquitoes transmitting malaria in Burkina Faso (Foy et al. 2019). The drug works as insecticide that is carried in people’s blood, but its effectiveness, risks, and best use practices need to be better understood. Brian met with Tomas Pickering, from the Africa Center, to discuss this research and their findings from this initial study. It is exciting work with the potential to be a new tool in the efforts to eliminate malaria and save many many lives. 

We have broken the interview into three sections for easier listening. Enjoy!!

Section 1: Introduces Brian and he explains the origins and challenges of malaria.

Section 2: Covers the first cluster-randomized study of Ivermectin and its potential to improve people’s lives.

Section 3: Brian gives advice for those entering the field through a few short-answer questions.

All photos provided by Dr. Brian Foy and show the study communities, participants, and health workers in Burkina Faso.
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Elephant conservation and research - perspectives on the current situation and strategies in Kenya

A discussion with Jenna Parker and Nathan Hahn

Please listen to the interview, conducted by Tomas Pickering, with Jenna Parker (personal website) and Nathan Hahn (lab website) about their research and thoughts on elephant conservation efforts. Jenna and Nathan are both Ph.D. students with Dr. George Wittemyer in the department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology at CSU.

We get into an enjoyable conversation about the important role of elephants in shaping ecosystems, the possible moral obligations in conserving a species that has high-complex levels of thought and emotion, current conservation challenges and successes, best research practices, and more!

Related to what we speak about, you might find this article suggested by Nathan of value for more information on how elephants shape their environments and how their populations might be better managed.

Also, here is a nice quote by Nathan from Toomey et al. (2017) that makes him reflect on how to better collaborate on elephant conservation and research.

Jenna Parker, out in Samburu National Reserve!
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Social equity in conservation - Research and challenges in Ethiopia

A discussion-interview with Bethlehem Astella

August 9th, 2019

Tomas Pickering met with Bethy Astella, a graduate student in the Human Dimension of Natural Resources department, to discuss her work on social equity in conservation. Bethy works in the Bale Mountains of Ethiopia studying the distribution of benefits in communities supporting a controlled hunting program. The discussion is covers many research and ethical questions and challenges in conservation.

We’ve divided the discussion into two parts. Listen below for the first part where Bethy talks about her research and introduces many of the challenges related to social equity in conservation.

The second portion of the interview goes into a greater discussion around social equity issues in conservation. Please listen below.

Here is a short, 3 minute, highlighted section about the challenges of integrating conservation costs and benefits with other social systems in a socially equitable way.

This photo and the title-photo are of Bethy’s focus group discussions with members of a controlled hunting program around the Bale Mountains.

 

 

 

 

  This picture shows some of the human-dominated landscapes adjacent to the forested controlled hunting areas in the Bale Mountains of Ethiopia.

 

 

 

 

Photo of the endemic, endangered mountain nyala (referenced in the interview).

 

 

 

 

 

All photos were provided by Bethy Astella