Salazar Center launches the Connectivity Challenge prize

The challenge was first announced by CSU President Joyce McConnell  during the Salazar Center International Symposium on Conservation Impact in September 2019 in Denver. Video: FiresideProduction

The Salazar Center for North American Conservation at Colorado State University is seeking proposals for a $100,000 incentive prize, to fund meaningful change in the field of conservation.

The Connectivity Challenge is  the first prize of its kind. The challenge was announced by CSU President Joyce McConnell  during the first Salazar Center International Symposium on Conservation Impact in September 2019 in Denver.

“Unlike many prizes that recognize work that’s been done in the past, this impact prize is an incentive award to do great work,” said McConnell. “It’s designed to encourage new and creative thinking to solve big challenges in North American conservation.”

The theme of the prize is landscape connectivity, and the winning team will be selected based on the proposal with the greatest potential to realize landscape-scale conservation impact.

“The Salazar Center has launched this prize with the understanding that human activities are fragmenting North America’s wild places and green spaces,” said center founder and former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. “Extraordinary innovation is needed to protect and enhance our most beloved landscapes and to support community health and resilience.”

logo for Connectivity Challenge

Seeking proposals

Beth Conover, center director, said a panel of internationally recognized judges, respected experts from a variety of background, will give extra weight to ideas that combine research, policy and practice. The center also encourages non-traditional applicants and ideas. Projects should be collaborative in nature, address a landscape-scale conservation challenge on the North American continent, and ultimately provide measurable habitat and community benefit. Teams must register online by March 12, 2020.

While judges will award the prize to only one team, the application process is designed to build a community of interest and provide tangible benefit to all applicants. Applicants will receive feedback from the judges, who will select a group of finalists to participate in a pitch event in Denver in September 2020. This will also give finalists the opportunity to present in front of peers and funding organizations.

To learn about the impact prize, please visit


Registration/Application Opens: Dec. 12, 2019

Registration Deadline: March 12, 2020

Application Deadline: April 16

Designation of Finalists: June

Pitch Event and Award Decision: Fall 2020

About the Salazar Center

The CSU Salazar Center for North American Conservation supports and advances the health and connectivity of the natural systems and landscapes of North America – be they urban or rural; working or wildlands; public or private. We know that healthy natural systems bolster climate adaptation and resilience, protect biodiversity, and sustain long-term human health. Our intersectional approach builds bridges that connect academic research, community practice, and policy development.