Beth Conover

A vision for 2020

Our work at the Salazar Center is motivated by a shared understanding that healthy natural systems—big or small, in cities or in the wilderness, protected or otherwise—are vital to the survival of our planet and all the life it supports.

The challenges and threats to these landscapes are increasingly complex, urgent, and global. While our Center is modest in size, we’re mighty in vision, skills, and partners. We are lucky to have great supporters and advocates in our corner, from a robust board and expert CSU advisors to an international network of partner organizations and agencies—and you. And we’ve got some really exciting things in the pipeline.

All of this gives me hope and energizes me and my team to contribute meaningfully and thoughtfully to the conservation conversation, and to amplify the most promising and innovative solutions we find to the challenges we face.

We envision a future in which healthy, connected landscapes in North America support biodiversity; play a critical role in climate adaptation and resilience; ensure the production of clean air, water and other economic benefits for everyone; and are conserved and protected with the buy-in and for the benefit of diverse communities.

In 2020, this means continuing to foster new conversations, broader networks, and stronger partnerships. Our second annual Symposium on Conservation Impact (focused in 2020 on urban environments) is just one of the ways we’re fulfilling this goal. A partnership with the City and County of Denver on natural solutions to climate resilience and health equity and convening interests statewide on wildlife and recreational connectivity in Colorado are other opportunities.

In 2020, it also means that we’ll provide substantive support for innovation in landscape connectivity. Our inaugural incentive prize—aka the Connectivity Challenge—will be awarded to a multi-disciplinary team from somewhere in the US, Canada, or Mexico in September. The winning team will receive $100,000 to execute a project that drives landscape-scale connectivity for both habitat and community benefit. Our hope is that the winning project will remove barriers (though not necessarily physical ones), build capacity, catalyze change, or scale impact. With dozens of registrations received, we’re excited to see what members of the conservation community will propose! After this prize is awarded, we hope to launch a second prize opportunity focused on innovation in urban areas.

In 2020, we will also focus on elevating more diverse voices in conservation through creating new and better opportunities for dialogue, community building, and leadership. As part of this endeavor, and in partnership with the Network for Landscape Conservation, we are producing case studies to highlight how diversity, equity, and inclusion principles have enhanced or advanced large landscape conservation efforts in the US. This research will serve as part of a broader toolkit designed to help support other organizations’ efforts to approach conservation more equitably and inclusively.

The Salazar Center in 2020 will succeed if we inspire new collaborations, bring different voices to the call for a healthier and more sustainable North America, and strengthen the links between research, policy, and practice. We hope to have an impact that’s felt across sectors and political, geographical, and cultural borders. It’s a tall order—but an appropriate one at the dawn of a new decade. Thanks for your support.