HDNR hosts two fall conferences, focus on diversity and sustainability

The Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources co-hosted two conferences in the month of October, one in-person at Wageningen University & Research in The Netherlands, and one virtually that reached a global audience.

Pathways Europe 2022

Pathways Europe 2022
A group of presenters at Pathways Europe 2022

In conjunction with Wageningen University & Research’s Cultural Geography Group, HDNR hosted the 12th annual Pathways conference, Pathways Europe 2022, at the Aurora building on the Wageningen University & Research campus October 19-21. The Pathways conference series previously hosted events in the U.S., Europe, and Africa, and was founded in 2008 by HDNR Department Head, Michael Manfredo, and retired HDNR professor, Jerry Vaske. In pursuit of Pathways’ mission of increasing the professionalism and effectiveness in the human dimensions of wildlife management field, the Pathways conference continues to address the most pressing issues facing conservation, wildlife, and management in today’s world.

The need for humans and wildlife to co-exist sustainably, while understanding those human-wildlife interactions in complex spatial contexts, especially in Europe, presents a major societal challenge. The theme of Pathways Europe 2022 was “Sharing Landscapes,” featuring over 100 presentations and plenary talks during the three-day conference.

Plenary speakers included:

  • Michael J. Manfredo, Colorado State University
  • Jana Malin, Independent researcher working with wild wolf populations
  • Arie Trouwborst, Tilburg Law School
  • Raquel Filgueiras, Rewilding Europe
  • Maarten Jacobs, Wageningen University & Research

One full day of the conference was dedicated to workshop sessions aimed at practitioners, which were focused on dealing with polarization and wildlife management models in Europe. The workshops aimed to help government and agency officials gain more knowledge on shared landscapes and how to structure future programs.

Wageningen University & Research
Wageningen University & Research

Sustainability Highlights

  • Wageningen University & Research was named the greenest and most sustainable university in the world by GreenMetric’s 2020 ranking.
  • Name badges were printed on plantable seed paper with recycled badge holders and lanyards.
  • The conference program was accessible in a digital version and an app version to reduce paper usage.
  • All conference lunches and breaks were vegan to reduce carbon outputs.
  • To offset carbon further, the conference team encouraged participants to consider purchasing carbon offsets when purchasing registration.

Lower registration fees allowed  for a more inclusive conference, reaching its maximum registration capacity of 200 attendees a month in advance.

For more information about the Pathways conference and to learn about future conferences, visit the Pathways website: https://sites.warnercnr.colostate.edu/pathways/

Tourism Naturally 2022 

HDNR and the Center for Protected Area Management at Colorado State University hosted the Tourism Naturally Conference virtually October 26-27. Since its beginning in 2016, The Tourism Naturally Foundational Consortium has hosted five successful global conferences in Italy, Austria, England, Germany, and the United States. The 2022 conference was the first in the series hosted by a U.S. institution, bringing in over 1,100 attendees who represented 52 countries around the world.

Tourism Naturally 2022’s theme, “Protected Areas, Tourism, and a Changing World,” focused on the future of nature tourism, industry trends throughout COVID, sustainability, and diversity. Students, researchers, and practitioners discussed improvements that can be made to improve the tourism industry and the world at large. The conference featured 27 speakers, six of which were student presenters.

A Focus on Sustainability

By having the conference virtually, 55 countries were able to come together without the carbon emissions from flights. A key theme throughout the online presentations was acting now to make sustainable changes in the tourism industry.

Stanley Rowland, CEO of Blue Climate Initiative, shared the sustainable actions being taken at The Brando Resort and the Tetiaroa Society in French Polynesia, citing how The Brando should be seen as a case study for global sustainability efforts.

Watch Rowland’s presentation

Empowering Diversity

From Tourism Naturally 2022’s early planning phases, diversity in voices was a top priority. Kelly Bricker, speaker and an advisory board member for the conference, involved the

Tourism Naturally 2022, Stefanie Benjamin and Alana Dillette
Tourism Naturally 2022, Stefanie Benjamin and Alana Dillette

Merle Pledge, an initiative to increase the number of women in conferences and events. Tourism Naturally 2022 featured several sessions that were based on diversity, equity, and inclusion, bringing in diverse voices from the nature tourism field.

Stefanie Benjamin and Alana Dillette, Co-Directors of Tourism RESET (Race, Ethnicity and Social Equity in Tourism), presented on the experiences of black travelers and black tourists. In an article co-authored by Benjamin and Dillette, which cited extensive research on the hashtag #TravelingWhileBlack, Dillette stated that their research was “just scratching the surface” on black experiences and insights within the nature tourism field.

Watch Benjamin and Dillette’s presentation

Tourism Naturally 2022, David Buggs
Tourism Naturally 2022, David Buggs

In another talk, David Buggs, the Chief Diversity Officer at Texas Parks and Wildlife, presented on how to create more diverse workspaces in the natural resources field and help underrepresented groups through difficult situations. While Buggs acknowledged that there needs to be more work done around DEI in natural resources, he did report that the percentage of women and other underrepresented groups pursuing degrees in natural resource tourism is growing particularly fast compared with other groups.

Watch Buggs’ presentation

Encouraging Student and Early Career Professional Engagement

With a focus on encouraging attendance among students and young professionals, the conference was free of charge to all attendees. Two speed-networking sessions were hosted at different times of the day, encouraging global involvement.

During the Industry Trends Panel discussion, presenters shared valuable tips and tricks for young professionals looking to start their careers in the nature tourism field. A recent CSU graduate led the CSU Masters of Tourism Management Panel Discussion, answering questions for young professionals who are job-searching.

Looking Back

View all of the Tourism Naturally 2022 presentations

Future Conferences from the Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources

  • As the department continues to host conferences, a focus on sustainability will remain. The Pathways 2023 Conference, to be held on May 31 – June 3, 2023, at Colorado State University, will be another opportunity to conduct sustainable event practices and promote sustainable research.
  • The next Tourism Naturally conference will be held in 2024 at the University of Pisa. Visit the Tourism Naturally website to stay updated.