BRI Wins International Grant for Chihuahuan Desert Conservation Program

2020 Mexico Save the date Dec9

ALPINE TX – The Borderlands Research Institute (BRI) at Sul Ross State University has been awarded a $25,000 grant from the 100,000 Strong in the Americas (100K) Innovation Fund. The grant will facilitate an enhanced partnership between the Borderlands Research Institute at Sul Ross State University and the Facultad de Zootecnia y Ecología at the Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua. The collaboration will provide opportunities for students and faculty from both universities to learn to effectively manage shared natural resources in the Chihuahuan Desert through workshops and academic courses within BRI’s grassland bird research project.

“We’ve had an informal partnership with the University of Chihuahua for several years now,” said BRI’s Bird Conservation Specialist, Dr. Mieke Titulaer, who is also a faculty member at the University of Chihuahua. “This grant will allow us to involve even more students from both sides of the border on these projects, and explore other research questions.”

Through this grant, students from the University of Chihuahua will have the opportunity to visit a higher education institution in the US and learn about agricultural education on the other side of the border. These students will also learn about agricultural, management, and conservation practices in the US that affect the shared natural resources along the Mexico-US border, and will offer them a hands-on experience with research being conducted that addresses a wildlife management issue relevant in both Mexico and the US. The project will also promote collaborative efforts between both institutions in research projects relevant for the conservation of shared natural resources through the involvement of students and their advisors in thesis projects, promoting the collaboration between professionals from both institutions.

The 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund is the public-private sector collaboration between the U.S. Department of State, U.S. embassies, and Partners of the Americas working with companies, foundations, and academic networks to stimulate and support higher education partnerships between the United States and the rest of the Western Hemisphere.

The Innovation Fund inspires U.S. universities and colleges to work in teams with higher education institutions in Latin America to design and implement new models of academic exchange and workforce development programs throughout the Americas.

“We’re thrilled to be selected for this prestigious grant, and we look forward to enhancing the educational opportunities for students on both sides of the border,” said Dr. Louis Harveson, who is the Dan Allen Hughes, Jr., BRI Endowed Director and Regents’ Professor of Wildlife Management at Sul Ross State University. “Wildlife knows no borders, so finding new ways to work together to protect the precious natural resources of the Chihuahuan Desert is a wonderful opportunity.”

Innovation Fund partnerships between higher education institutions ensure that students will gain access to new academic training programs to work in teams, solve real-world problems, research, and gain technical and linguistic skills imperative for today’s workforce. Since its inception in 2014, and as of December 2020, the Innovation Fund has awarded 243 grants to 491 higher education institutions working in teams in 25 countries and in 49 U.S. states.

The grant provided to the Borderlands Research Institute at Sul Ross State University is one of eleven recipients of this year’s grants. Find out more about the program and the other grant winners at: https://www.100kstrongamericas.org/mexico-winners-2020/

For more than a decade, the Borderlands Research Institute has encouraged effective land stewardship of the Chihuahuan Desert. Housed at Sul Ross State University, the Borderlands Research Institute builds on a long-lasting partnership with private landowners, the university’s Range and Wildlife Program, and cooperating state, federal, and non-governmental organizations. Through research, education, and outreach, the Borderlands Research Institute is helping to conserve the last frontier of Texas and the Southwest.