Salazar Center seeks proposals to advance climate resilience, racial equity

Colorado State University’s Salazar Center for North American Conservation is currently accepting applications for its second-annual incentive prize competition: the Thriving Cities Challenge, the first of its kind to be offered by the center.

“Our cities are facing the effects of climate change and confronting policies that often leave communities of color more vulnerable to the heat, rising seas and extreme weather climate change brings,” said Salazar Center Director Beth Conover. “But there is hope. Nature-based solutions can not only make communities more resilient to these changes, they can offer myriad additional benefits and improve the collective health of our cities and their residents.”

The Thriving Cities Challenge invites teams to submit proposals that aim to improve equity, resilience and health in their community in the face of climate change. Any project that applies a nature-based solution to provide community benefit and advance climate resilience is eligible. Projects should aim to remove key barriers to health and equity in urban areas, support racial equity and inclusivity, and prevent or mitigate the destructive impacts of climate change. The deadline to submit applications is no later than Thursday, April 15, at 5 p.m. Mountain Time.

A team’s members should be unique to the place they are working and may include representatives from nonprofit organizations, academic institutions (including CSU), local governments, community groups and any other relevant interests. Interested teams can learn more about eligibility criteria on the Challenge website.

The Salazar Center’s first incentive challenge — the Connectivity Challenge —focused on large landscape connectivity and its benefits for habitats and communities alike. The center received nearly 50 applications from teams whose work represented a range of conservation efforts across the United States, Canada and Mexico.

In September 2020, Borderlands Restoration Network won $100,000 for their innovative proposal to conserve agaves, increase agricultural sustainability and protect bats in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands.

How to apply

Interested applicants are encouraged to review eligibility criteria and FAQ, see examples of this kind of work happening across the continent by visiting thrivingcitieschallenge.org/applicant-resources. Applicants are also encouraged to attend an informational webinar on Feb. 22 or March 15.

Applications must be submitted online at thrivingcitieschallenge.org/apply-now. The complete application is also available to review in advance. The deadline to submit applications is no later than Thursday, April 15, at 5 p.m. MST.

Questions may be directed to the Salazar Center via catie.boehmer@colostate.edu.