‘It’s our land-grant mission’: CSU experts to talk about the future of sustainability

Buffalo Bayou Park Bicycle Path
Buffalo Bayou Park is a 160-acre green space featuring views of the Houston skyline.

A panel of scientists from Colorado State University will talk about research on urban green spaces, resilience, and equity in North America on Sept. 17 during the 2020 virtual Salazar Symposium.

Melissa McHale, associate professor in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability, will serve as moderator. She said the aim of the session is to highlight the work of CSU researchers on these topics, and that they are committed to making the world a better place through urban conservation.

More than half of the global population, or more than 4 billion people, is living in cities, according to McHale.

“Urbanization is not expected to slow down in the near future,” she said. “That means that in 30 years, we expect that there will be more people living in cities across Africa than there are living in cities around the world right now. It is mind-boggling.”

McHale said that while these changes occur, there is an overuse of resources that encroaches on biodiversity.

“People are planting invasive species, sometimes without knowing it,” she said. “But these urban areas are also centers of innovation. There are ways that humans can make ecosystems that support more services than they would originally.”

McHale launched the Fort Collins Urban Sustainability Research Network several years ago. Through the network, which now includes more than 150 people, she started working with staff and leaders at agencies within the city of Fort Collins.

“We have two major institutions known worldwide for a sustainability mission – CSU and the city of Fort Collins – especially in relationship to urban management,” she said. “If we can build more on each other’s work, we could do so much more for people. It’s our land-grant mission to contribute to the future sustainability of our place.”

Panelists during the “State of the Research” session include:

Jeni Cross, associate professor of sociology and director of research for the Institute for the Built Environment

Kelly Curl, associate professor, Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture

Gene Kelly, deputy director, Agricultural Experiment Station

Liba Pejchar, associate professor, Department of Fish, Wildlife & Conservation Biology

Matthew Ross portrait

Matthew Ross, assistant professor, Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability

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Register for the symposium: col.st/VxZdH.