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Reaching across cultures: comparing local community perceptions toward a national park in Colorado and Tanzania




Wilkins, Kate, speaker

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Parks and protected areas around the world are beginning to realize the importance of practicing collaborative conservation with various stakeholders, especially people living near their borders. Focusing on human interactions with the environment is crucial for finding effective solutions to environmental issues. Conducting comparisons of collaborative research may enable different communities to learn from each other's experiences. Kate used open-ended interviews and Photovoice to collect information about the attitudes and perceptions of local communities toward Great Sand Dunes National Park in the San Luis Valley of Colorado. She also assisted Gloria Sumay with similar interviews conducted with villagers living near Tarangire National Park in Tanzania. They compared responses from both communities in an effort to explore what researchers and various stakeholders can learn from conducting cross-cultural comparisons of collaborative conservation research.


Presented at the Spring 2013 Center for Collaborative Conservation ( Seminar and Discussion Series, "Collaborative Conservation in Practice: Innovations in Communities around the World", January 29, 2013, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado. This series focused on the work that the CCC's Collaborative Conservation Fellows have been doing across the Western U.S. and around the world.
Kate Wilkins received her M.S. in Ecology in Fall 2012. Her Master's research focused on sandhill crane behavior in response to birdwatchers on a national wildlife refuge in Colorado's San Luis Valley. In addition to her Master's research, Kate also worked with Great Sand Dunes National Park to interview local community members about their attitudes and perceptions toward the park's wildlife management practices. She partnered with fellow graduate student, Gloria Sumay, for the 2011 Center for Collaborative Conservation Fellowship and assisted Gloria in conducting interviews with people living near a national park in Tanzania. Kate began the Ph.D. program in Ecology this spring, and hopes to pursue her research interest in social-ecological systems, specifically with regard to human resilience and adaptation to climate change.

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wildlife management
U.S. parks
African parks
elk management
riparian areas
migratory animals


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