Melisa P. Danho
New Mexico State University
A visiting professor from Belize recently arrived at New Mexico State University and will head the Gerald Thomas Chair in the college of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. The chair rotates between different departments and this year’s chair is in the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology.
Ed Boles, brings with him international connections and opportunities for professors and students alike to have more global experiences. Boles is an aquatic ecologist who has been teaching field courses in Belize since 1992. He has been involved with NMSU’s Belize field school for the last five years and is using his time in Las Cruces to explore the possibility of expanding the school to a Center for Tropical Field Studies.
“We want to expose our students to experiences in other countries and expand the range of course topics offered beyond science and agriculture,” Boles said. “We would like to build courses around projects of need identified by government agencies, NGOs and community groups of host countries.”
Boles said he is also looking to create opportunities for student groups from host countries to engage in field courses within desert and dry land environments in New Mexico.
Las Crucens themselves have an opportunity to learn about worldwide environmental and conservation issues through the Gerald Thomas Chair International Seminar Series. All of the seminars will be held at 4 p.m. in Gerald Thomas Hall, Room 336.
The first guest will be Isabelle Paquet-Durand, administrator for the Belize Wildlife Conservation Network. Her seminar titled “Wildlife of Belize – issues, threats and approaches to conservation,” will be given Wednesday, Feb. 29.
Next to speak will be Gerald Thomas Chair Ed Boles, Wednesday, March 14. Boles will discuss community-based conservation and co-management of natural resource areas in Belize.
Third in the series is Ralph Kuhn, professor of molecular zoology at Technical University of Munich. He will speak Sunday, March 25, about conservation genetics in the area of next-generation technologies.
Wednesday, April 4, Rony Garcia Anleu of the Wildlife Conservation Society in Guatemala will discuss the utility of using wide-ranging, large-bodied wildlife species for identifying, implementing and evaluating conservation interventions at the landscape level.
One week later, April 11, Norman Owen-Smith, professor emeritus of the University of Witwatersrand South Africa will speak about establishing the causes of declining rare antelope populations in Kruger National Park.
Closing the series Wednesday, April 25, will be Claude Gascon, executive vice president and chief science officer at the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in Washington, D.C. Gascon’s seminar is titled “Conserving biodiversity: from species to ecosystems.”
“We’re excited be able to expose our students and the community to researchers from other countries who are involved in a variety of conservation issues,” said Martha Desmond, head of NMSU’s Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology. “We’re also excited to have Dr. Boles help us provide global opportunities to students and promote not only international classes, but research projects, internships and community service projects.”