MEM Projects

MEM students Summer of 2016

Masters in Environmental Management Community Forum

Crawford Hall 119 May 2- May 4, Time 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Join us from anywhere! 

For project descriptions, go here.

 Wednesday May 2ndThursday, May 3rdFriday, May 4th
8-9:30 A.M.

Landscape Scale Conservation in a Rapidly Changing World

Ryan Walker, Matthew Quinn & Lucas Mattson 

Different Stages of Monitoring

Douglas Shaw, Sam Newman, & Carlo Demma

Collaborating in the Corporate World

Taylor Asao, Erin Norton & Amanda Turner

9:45 - 11:15 A.M

Using science based management techniques to restore ecosystems in the Midwest

James Trudell & Cameron Ruyle

Land, Water & Rural Community Resiliency

Alexa Weiand, Jessica Noelke & Julie Russell

Protecting SocioEnvironmental Resources

Darius West, Christian Arel & Phillip Keim 

12:30 - 2:30 P.M

Healing Communities Interdependently

Cathleen Anthony, Ian Basco, Lucy Flores & Lance Kittel

Managing Ecosystems on Working Landscapes

Ashley Kumburis, Jake Courkamp, Marissa Markus & Jodi Elam

Adaptive Management for the Changing West

Pryce Hadley, Carissa Callison, Hedda Peterson & Alison Yeates 

2:30 - 2:45 P.MBREAK  
2:45 - 4:45 P.M.

Carbon, Culture & Cost: Holistic Approaches to Sustainable Community Energy

Loren Ahonen, Francis Mitalo, Richard Stromberg & Aurora Flynn 



For project descriptions, go here.



Maasai Drought Relief for cultural and ecological sovereignty in the face of climate change


The drought stricken Maasai community of Enkutoto in Kajiado County, Kenya, is seeking emergency funding for water relief to save their pastoral way of life in the face of climate change. Aurora Flynn, Francis Mitalo, Phil Keim, graduate students in the MEM program at Western, are spearheading this funding effort and strategy development. Jo Raetzel, an undergraduate student in the Anthropology and Education departments, is acting intern.

Needed is $60,000 (USD) in emergency funding to provide the Enkutoto community with a solar-powered borehole and emergency feed for the livestock. This will allow them to utilize their training in holistic management and regenerative grazing to begin the restoration of the surrounding ecosystems.

Cattle during the drought.

Recent drought and deadened soils are devastating the Enkutoto community's pastoral way of life. The wildlife, once thriving amongst the Massai and their livestock, have vanished. These pastoralists must now travel long distances with their livestock to find grass and water. Many of the livestock are emaciated as the grass has been displaced by desert succulents.

Dalmas Tiampati, a Maasai leader of the Enkutoto community in Kajiado County and his NGO, the Maasai Center for Regenerative Pastoralism, is leading the charge for his community’s cultural and ecological sovereignty in the face of climate change.

Dalmas is working in direct partnership with Seth Itzkan and Karl Thidemann at Soil4Climate, a US-based NGO that advocates for soil restoration as a mitigation solution, to coordinate, plan, and execute the water relief and ecological restoration for his people in Kenya.

Joining the Maasai Center for Regenerative Pastoralism and Soil4Climate in a global effort, multiple institutions and organizations (including the MEM program of Western State Colorado University, NorthernDawn Consulting LLC, the University of Nairobi [LARMAT], Mara Conservation Centre, and Sustainable Partnerships LLC), are working together to achieve a common goal.

For ecological vitality and restoration to occur, the health of the desertified soils must be regenerated. With fertile soils comes a fertile land able to support the lives of people, wildlife, and livestock. Vibrant life-giving soils allow the waters from the rains to be stored, replenished deep within the earth, and for the forage and habitat of the livestock and wildlife to thrive. To resuscitate the land while meeting a triple-bottom line for the people and economy, Dalmas and his people are being trained in holistic management at the Mara Conservation Centre, a Savory Institute hub in Kenya, that began training in December 2017. At the Mara Centre they are learning how to graze in a regenerative capacity as a collective community, by mimicking the restorative grazing patterns of the wild animals. The University of Nairobi [LARMAT] is providing the ecological and soil health baselines to guarantee the further long-term restoration and study.

To our global family: we ask you all to join the effort in providing life-saving waters for this Maasai community while supporting them in their move towards long-term regenerative pastoralism.

You can go here to give in the name of the Maasai Drought Relief


Dalmas holding water sign
Dalmas and his family at home

To the left: Dalmas and his family.                                                                                                                                   

To the right: Dalmas holding a water sign. 





2016 Schedule





8:30 - 10:00 AM

The Crooked Spoke Adjacent: Approaches to Multi-Modal Transportation Planning in Rural Mountain Communities.
Dominique Naccarato; Murtaza Naqvi; Liz Weiss

Forest Ecology and Land Management for Resilient Landscapes
Trent Lieber; Elizabeth Moore; Bradley Wigginton

10:00 - 10:30 AM
10:30 - 12:00 PM

Collaborative Resource Management & Planning: Managing Trails, Wildlife, and Recreation Areas
Megan Mast; Neil McNutt; Ryan Wilbur

Identifying and Overcoming Barriers to Community Solar: An International Comparison
Sam Kozel; Chelsah Sigurdson; Alyssa Vogan

Methods for Building Resilience Across Varying Management Processes and Scales
Rachel Estrada; Briant Wiles; Mary Young

12:00 - 1:00 PM
1:00 - 2:30 PM

Promoting Social Change Through Education and Communication
Cassidy Brush; Paul Bryan Jones; Tyler Morrison

Changing Cultural Landscapes: Integrating Diverse Perspectives in the Environmental Movement
Stephanie Aubert; Cassidy Tawse-Garcia; Andrés Esparza

Social Impacts and Implications Across Scales
Tyler Grimes; Ryan Kelly; Diego Plata

2:30 - 3:00 PM
3:00 - 4:30 PM

Navigating Change: Shifting Socio-Economic Landscapes in Land Management
John Gioia; Chloe Lewis; Brian Lieberman

Watershed Health & Restoration
Ross Mittleman; Samm Rowland; Zach Vaughter

Agricultural Land Management: Social and Ecological Solutions
Erin Griffin; Sarah Peters; Amber Swinney

Printable Schedule

More detailed Project Defense Schedule