WLA Scholarships Steer Diversity into Western Ranch Management

Santa Fe, NM (June 10, 2019) – Western Landowners Alliance (WLA) – a member-based nonprofit organization focused on advancing policies and practices that sustain working lands, connected landscapes, and native species – has announced the availability of $1,500 scholarships to those in need of financial assistance to attend the 2019 Western Ranch Management and Ecosystem Stewardship summer field course offered by the Department of Forest and Rangeland Stewardship at Colorado State University (CSU).  The course runs from July 14 – July 23 and July 28 – August 6, 2019 (attendance to both sessions is required).
 
“We recognize the inherent value of human diversity, broadly defined, and hope to encourage this diversity within the field of land and natural resources management,” said Lesli Allison, executive director at WLA.
 
“We also recognize the urgency in developing a new generation of individuals with the knowledge and skills needed to steward our land and natural resources,” said Allison.  “A pivotal shift is underway on ranches and farms across the country. As more land is developed, more pressure is put on remaining open lands to provide for everything from food, fiber and energy to wildlife, water and human recreation. Land managers today need to understand everything from ecology to livestock management to wildlife biology to GIS technology.”
 
In addition, we are on the cusp of a major transition in land ownership as the “gray wave” hits. According to the US Census of Agriculture, in 2017, the average age of farmers is 57.5 years old, nearly up one year from 56.3 years old in 2012. In California, the average age is 59 years old. More than a third of U.S. farmers are 65 or older.
 
“Succession and the ongoing loss of our finest working lands to development are urgent topics, affecting America’s future in ways the public may not fully understand,” continued Allison.
 
“For several years now, WLA has worked with landowners, partners and public agencies to keep working lands intact, ecologically healthy and economically successful so we can hold onto the West we love for current and future generations,” added Allison.  “This scholarship supports this effort by ensuring we are recruiting, training and mentoring the next generation of dedicated and highly skilled land stewards,” she added. “We want to ensure these students get real-world experience and mentorship. We commend Colorado State University for launching this program and are grateful to generous donors to be able to offer scholarship assistance to enable women and individuals from underrepresented groups to benefit.”
 
Preference for WLA scholarships will be given to women and other individuals from groups underrepresented in ranch management in the American West, including ethnic and racial minorities. Eligible applicants include undergraduate and graduate students from CSU or any other academic institution, as well as non-degree seeking students who intend to pursue a career in ranch management.
 
Through the course, students will be exposed to established practices and emerging ideas to build a toolbox of techniques and programs that will help them have successful careers working with western ranches. By the end of the course, students will also have an understanding of the range of career paths available in ranch management.
 
Supplemental financial support may be available on a limited basis through CSU to defray out-of-state tuition costs for individuals selected for this scholarship opportunity. For further information on eligibility and supplemental assistance, please refer to the course website and check with the program coordinator.
 
Interested applicants should download the application and send the following materials to Jennifer Lind (jlind@westernlandowners.org) with the subject line “Summer Field Course Scholarship”:

  • One-page cover letter describing the applicant’s interest and experience in ranch management,

  • Why they are a good candidate for the scholarship

  • Resume

  • Three professional references with current contact information.

To be considered, applications must be received no later than June 16, 2019. Scholarships will be distributed directly to students halfway through the course.

For more information about the progam, please visit the course website.

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About Western Landowners Alliance
Western Landowners Alliance (WLA) was established by landowners in 2011 to advance policies and practices that sustain working lands, connected landscapes and native species. WLA members steward approximately 14 million acres of deeded and leased public land in the American West. Through policy reform and on-the-ground stewardship, they are working to protect land and wildlife, restore watershed health, maintain wildlife corridors, promote economically vibrant rural communities and to keep working lands working. Learn more at westernlandowners.org.