Sharon K. Collinge, Professor and Director, Environmental Studies Program, University of Colorado-Boulder
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Dr. Sharon K. Collinge is Professor and Director of the Environmental Studies Program at the University of Colorado-Boulder. From 2012-2015, she led the effort to envision and implement plans for a new school of the environment and sustainability at CU-Boulder. Her leadership experience includes directing a large interdisciplinary environmental studies program and integrating research, teaching, and community engagement activities across campus to enhance educational experiences and increase visibility of interdisciplinary environment and sustainability programs.

Dr. Collinge’s interdisciplinary scholarship and teaching focus on human-environment interactions in urban and wild landscapes.  Her research emphasizes the impacts of habitat loss, fragmentation, and restoration on the persistence of native species, communities, and ecosystems, and is particularly relevant to the interface between environmental science and policy regarding endangered species and habitat protection. Collinge’s 2009 book, Ecology of Fragmented Landscapes, synthesizes research on the ecological consequences of habitat loss and fragmentation and reviews ways in which science can inform ecological restoration, landscape architecture and planning, and biological conservation in urban and wild landscapes. Her current research focuses on the use of ecological theory to guide efforts to conserve and restore vernal pool ecosystems in California.  At CU-Boulder, Dr. Collinge has taught courses in Conservation Biology, Food and the Environment, Disease Ecology, and Restoration Ecology.

Dr. Collinge earned a doctorate in landscape ecology from Harvard University in 1995, and in 1998 she became an assistant professor of biology and environmental studies at the University of Colorado-Boulder. She was selected as a 2004 Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow in recognition of her outstanding leadership ability and desire to communicate scientific issues beyond academic audiences, and was elected to serve as the Ecological Society of America’s Vice President for Public Affairs from 2011-2014. Sharon has shared her expertise in environmental issues as a lecturer on trips sponsored by the Harvard Museum of Natural History to Costa Rica, the United Kingdom, and China.

Akasha Faist
Ph.D. candidate, EBIO
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For my dissertation I am broadly interested in plant community dynamics as they relate to restoration success.  Specifically,  I am looking at the role invasive species play in altering native plant communities in a restored vernal pool setting.  I also spend my summers working for the Rocky Mountain Research Station in Fort Collins, CO as a seasonal botanist.


Chris Javornik
B.A.-M.A. student, EBIO

My areas of focus include: restoration ecology, plant ecology, and climate change ecology. My research examines how changing climatic activities have acted upon plant population dynamics in restored vernal pools. With the findings that I have made I hope to gain a better understanding of how projected climatic conditions will affect future vernal pool restoration efforts.

Karen SchlatterKaren field photo
Masters student, ENVS

I am researching riparian habitat restoration strategies in the Colorado River Delta. Specifically, my Master’s research is focused on the vegetative response to different restoration treatments including environmental flow releases (Colorado River pulse flow of spring 2014 and base flows), nonnative plant species removal, and seeding with native plant species. In addition, I am evaluating restoration success parameters used in vernal pool mitigation projects in California. I work for the Colorado River Delta Program at Sonoran Institute.


Nifer Wilkening
Ph.D. candidate, EBIO
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I am interested in climate change impacts on alpine ecosystems.  More specifically, I am investigating the physiological stress response of an alpine mammal, the American pika, to differences in micro-climate and micro-habitat.  I am also currently working with the National Park Service on Pikas in Peril, a research project designed to assess the vulnerability of pikas to predicted changes in climate.