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Western Sustainable Communities Project

Western Sustainable Communities SEEDS field trip, Havasupai Nation, May 16 – 20, 2012

As part of the ESA SEEDS program’s Western Sustainable Communities project, we will be visiting the Havasupai Nation in western Grand Canyon from May 16 – 20, 2012.  During this field trip, we will be studying water sustainability, usage, and policy for the Colorado River basin from a scientific and traditional ecological perspective.  This is an all expenses paid opportunity and will include meals, transportation, and camping gear. We will hike a total of 20 miles, spend three days, and two nights camping in Havasupai.  Undergraduate and graduate students from SEEDS Chapter schools in the Western region (Colorado Plateau and California) are eligible to apply.

Field trip flyer with full field trip details

PROJECT UPDATE: Two important products of the Western Leadership Meeting, April 7 – 10, 2011 in Flagstaff, AZ: student participants sent a statement to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar opposing the proposed uranium mines near Grand Canyon. What is more, students prompted ESA leadership to take action as well. ESA President Terry Chapin weighed in on behalf of our Society on the severe ecological implications of uranium mining. Click here for the student letter, and here from the ESA President’s letter.

Western Sustainable Communities Project

Preparing Diverse Students in our Nation’s West to Lead Sustainable Communities

IMG_0076The Colorado Plateau and California region of the Western US embrace some of our nation’s most famous natural landscapes on massive expanses of tribal, public, and private lands.  Indeed, in this region are located, the greatest concentrations of national parks, national monuments, protected wilderness areas and areas that bear a rich historical and cultural importance in the country.

With elevations ranging from 2,000 feet to 13,000 feet above sea level, its towering mountains, breath-taking desert basins, and resilient arid woodlands and grasslands, the Colorado Plateau comprises the Four Corners of southeast Utah, southwest Colorado, northwest New Mexico, and northeast Arizona.  California’s unique ecology ranges from the coastal chaparral and marine kelp forests, dry steppes, vernal pools and temperate forests to its dry deserts, holding within the state, tremendous biological diversity.  The striking and diverse landscapes of the Western region are matched only by the dramatic diversity of cultures and the rich traditions of its inhabitants.

This reality urgently calls for the preparation of a diverse and motivated generation of stewards skilled in understanding, managing, and sustaining the ecological and societal changes sweeping the region.   Conservation efforts require the recognition of the interplay between social and ecological change.

The goal is to promote leadership and collaboration among students in the west who are underrepresented in the environmental sciences, joining the forces of culturally-rich diverse communities in the sustainability of equally diverse and incredible landscapes.  To accomplish this goal we will be:

  1. Funding SEEDS Chapter sustainability projects, up to $5,000, to carry out local or regional projects that: (1) build upon the strengths of the chapter and the community, (2) have a twin ecological-cultural conservation focus, and (3) engage new local and/or regional partners.  Examples of projects may include expanding biodiversity estuarine or migratory species corridors along the coast of CA for ecotourism; creating a community or school food garden combined with fun activities to fight childhood obesity; or exploring food and water flowpaths and ways to reduce the watershed footprint.  SEEDS staff or alumni will schedule site visits to Chapters hosting projects to lend support.  Ten to fifteen project grants are available. Grant proposal guidelines can be found here (docx), and the budget worksheet here (xlsx).
  2. Hosting a SEEDS Western Region Leadership Meeting in Flagstaff AZ, for up to 40 SEEDS Chapter participants (advisors and students) from Thursday April 7 (evening arrival) to Sunday April 10 (morning departure).  All participant expenses will be paid by the grant.  The purpose of the meeting is to create connections among SEEDS chapters in the western region, discuss what we mean by sustainable communities, and learn how to forward our ideas both locally and regionally.  SEEDS staff will work with a planning committee of students to finalize the meeting theme and central questions.
  3. Providing amble opportunities for SEEDS student leadership.  With the project’s focus on preparing students to lead in the western region, we will be hosting a strengths-based leadership event for students, and encouraging student leadership at every turn.  This is actually a strength of the SEEDS program, and we’re excited for this opportunity to intentionally connect a network of student leaders in the name of sustainable communities.

Colorado Plateau Chapters (including nearby schools)

Arizona State University
Diné College, Shiprock Campus
Fort Lewis College
Northern Arizona University
Southwest Indian Polytechnic Institute
University of New Mexico
Ponderosa High School

California Chapters

San Diego City College
San Jose State University
Stanford University
University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Davis
University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, San Diego
Redwood High School
Wilcox High School