Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory

EA-IRES Fellows

Congratulations Fellows!

2017-18 Fellows          2016-17 Fellows          2015-16 Fellows


** Cohort #1: 2015-16 **


Holly CoxHolly Cox
Junior - Ecosystem Science and Sustainability

Holly is a junior majoring in Ecosystem Science and Sustainability. Her focuses include water availability in developing regions, pastoral land use patterns and social ecological systems. Her interests are water management, dryland ecology and riparian systems.  She has worked with nonprofit organizations raising awareness and funding to aide families affected by war in Uganda.  Her hobbies include hiking, white-water rafting, traveling and volunteering.   

Holly's Research Project: "Water Availability: A Study on Household Water in Samburu, Kenya"

Summary: For people living in developed areas such as the United States, access to clean and pure water is typically 10 steps or less from multiple sources in a home or in public; worrying about access to water or availability of clean sources is not typically on the forefront of issues. However, in most of Eastern Africa, this privilege is not an option. Women and children include collection of water in their daily chores, a task that depends on water available and if they have access to it and the policies surrounding retrieval. I will be interviewing with local Samburu women to understand the distances they travel for their household water and from which sources, and what implications they face.


Ashley FosterAshley Foster 
Junior - Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology

Ashley transferred to Colorado State University last year from Chicago in order to study Ecosystem Sciences and Sustainability.  She grew up surrounded by many different types of animals, which inspired her to study wildlife. Ashley volunteered at a wildlife sanctuary in Namibia for three weeks in year 2012, where she was able to work with many different species of animals, including lions, cheetahs, baboons and more. These experiences have led her to this fellowship opportunity where she hopes to learn more about human-wildlife interactions in African drylands. 

Ashley's Research Project: "People and Wildlife in Samburu, Kenya" 

Summary: Interactions between people and wildlife have influenced conservation policies worldwide. Human wildlife conflict is one of the major concerns in terms of wildlife conservation policies. Conservancies in Samburu County Kenya are working to protect wildlife and provide local people with increased income. I will study the benefits and burdens of wildlife for local Samburu communities, and how wildlife conservation rules and policies affect them, across seasons. I will also investigate how the local people’s and local wildlife practitioners’ views on wildlife and wildlife conservation differ and relate to each other.


Sara HinesSara Hines 
Sophomore - Ecosystem Science and Sustainability

Sara is a sophomore studying Ecosystem Science and Sustainability at Colorado State University. Sara’s biological research experiences and aspirations for environmental justice led her to an interest in ecological research. She looks forward to researching drylands and social-ecological systems in Colorado and Kenya to benefit dryland communities and ecosystems. A believer in integrative learning, Sara’s passions include biology, ecology, anthropology, nutrition, fitness, visual arts, singing, and playing the ukulele.

Sara's Research Project: "Women’s Health in Samburu, Kenya: Social and Ecological Drivers"

Summary: In three villages in Samburu, Kenya, I will talk with local women about their health concerns. I hope to learn of social and ecological drivers of Samburu women’s health issues, including maternal health, sexually transmitted diseases, malaria, and diarrheal diseases. I will identify the ways in which Samburu women decide whether to consult a traditional healer or a modern dispensary or hospital. After talking with local women, I will compare and contrast perceptions of traditional versus modern medical approaches to treating health conditions. I will present my findings to stakeholders including: Samburu women and Samburu citizens at large, people in governance, traditional medical practitioners, modern medical practitioners, non-governmental organizations, and the research community.


Amanda InterpreterAmanda Interpreter
Junior - Forest and Rangeland Stewardship

Amanda Interpreter of the Navajo Nation is a junior at Colorado State University studying Rangeland Ecology and Forestry management. Her particular interests are environmental preservation while promoting sustainable resource use to the betterment of hers and other native cultures.

Amanda's Research Project: "Important livestock forage species and commonly-used medicinal plants in Samburu County, Kenya"

Summary: For this project I propose to identify key vegetation, specifically forage species and medicinal plants that are used for livestock management, production and health in Samburu County, Kenya. I will look at social and ecological drivers that affect availability and access to these forgeable species. Examples of forage species I will be investigating are Kedrostis sp., Delonix elata and Loranthus sp. which are consumed by domestic goats, cattle, donkeys and camels. In this project, I will catalog, with local rules and norms in mind, the most important forage and medicinal species used for livestock management and the season of availability, climate variability affects, habitat, the distance traveled to obtain the plant, and whether the plant is brought to the animal or the animal is brought to the plant. I will be working with my instructor Stacy Lynn and four other undergraduate students, Hollie Skibstead, Ashley Foster, Sara Hines, and Holly Cox in Samburu County, Kenya. Ecological knowledge about medicinal and other beneficial plants for livestock species is important for herd managers, natural resource managers, researchers, and medical professionals.


Hollie SkibsteadHollie Skibstead 
Junior, International Crop and Soil Science

Hollie is a junior at Colorado State University majoring in International Crop and Soil Science with minors in Global Environmental Sustainability (GES) and Sustainable Water Interdisciplinary Minor (SWIM). She transferred to CSU last fall with an associate’s degree in agriculture and has experience with research involving agriculture, soil science, and water quality. Hollie’s interests and passions include sustainable agriculture, ecology, international travel and development, volunteering, and hiking. Her future career goals are to focus on research that combines her background in agriculture with the management and improvement of local and global ecosystems.

Hollie's Research Project: "Influence of climate variability on Samburu pastoralism"

Summary: As an EA-IRES fellow, I will interview pastoralists in Samburu county of Kenya. I hope to determine how the variability of Samburu’s dry climate and land use changes can impact interactions of Samburu pastoralists. Some topics that I will focus on involve pastoral herd management, variable water availability, cultivation practices, and conflicts under resource scarcity. By examining how climate affects land use by pastoralists in East Africa, I hope to gain more understanding of how climate variability may indirectly influence conflicts for Samburu communities.