From the Crested Butte News
I am writing to voice my support for the Gunnison Public Lands Initiative (GPLI) as a first-year student in Western’s new Masters of Environmental Management (MEM) program, studying Integrative Land Management.
When considering where to study for my degree, I had the choice of many excellent MEM programs. Most of these programs, like Western, offered exceptional academic study, engaging professors, and the opportunity to connect with green businesses and non-profits. What these programs didn’t have was Western’s living laboratory and the amazing scenery and recreation afforded by attending a school where I have access to pristine public lands right out my back door.
As a Western student, I am able to take advantage of Gunnison County’s more than 1.5 million acres of public lands. Gunnison County is the perfect case study for Integrative Land Management program – I have the opportunity to study native plants and animals, healthy waterways, and the diverse community of users who enjoy the backcountry.
This incredible academic opportunity is made sweeter by the fact that I can ride my bike, catch fish in healthy streams, and go for hike in some of Colorado’s best scenery right here in Gunnison. As a lifelong hunter, I also appreciate the opportunity to pursue elk and deer through wild lands.
GPLI is vital in ensuring that the natural resources that draw students to the Gunnison Valley and that Western’s academic programs rely upon will remain intact. I hope that future Western students will have the opportunity to study these incredible lands – and this community who so deeply values them – as I have. Please join me in supporting the Gunnison Public Lands Initiative.