Alumni Spotlight: Ying Lee, Class of 1973

Ying Lee may live on the other side of the world in Singapore, but her spirit of generosity and innovation resonates strongly at Colorado State University, where her support of the Warner College of Natural Resources and other diverse areas has made a major impact.

Lee was born and raised in Singapore and developed a fascination for forestry while helping out on the family-owned rubber plantation. She followed in the footsteps of her siblings and traveled to the United States for a higher education. After two years at Illinois Wesleyan University pursuing a medical degree, Lee transferred to CSU and changed her major to forest management science.

Lee’s experience at CSU further established her passion for forestry and influenced her entire career. She earned a master’s degree in natural resource management at the University of Georgia in 1976 and, after returning to Singapore, worked in a leadership position with the National Parks Board from 1979-1987 and later as a successful investment adviser and business leader. She continues to lead in her field and enjoys her free time with her husband and family.

Throughout her successful career, CSU has always been close to Lee’s heart. In 2010, her support helped build the foundation of the Conservation Leadership Through Learning initiative, an innovative graduate program led by Warner College’s Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources. The program provides real-world and cross-cultural training that empowers students to meaningfully contribute to solving the environmental challenges of our time.
In 2013, the program was awarded the Western Association of Graduate Schools Award for Excellence and Innovation in Graduate Education.
Posted October 10, 2015

Alumni Spotlight: Joyce Berry, Class of 1976

Joyce Berry has served as Colorado State University’s dean of the Warner College of Natural Resources twice, as well as CSU’s vice president for Advancement and Strategic Initiatives and director of the Environment and Natural Resource Policy Institute. Earlier in her career, she was a research associate and administrator at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, where she created the school’s first Student Affairs and Career Office, and co-developed student and women’s leadership programs and the Professional Life-Long Learning Program.

Berry received her bachelor’s degree in political science and graduate degree in education from the University of California at Berkeley. She also received her master’s degree in regional resources planning from CSU and Ph.D. from Yale University.

Her research, teaching, and outreach focuses on the integration of science, policy and management, public involvement strategies, public attitudes and values toward natural resources, and leadership and organizational change – areas in which she’s co-authored/edited four books.

Berry has been involved throughout her career with several environmental groups, serving in various committee capacities. She is currently serving on the CSU External Advisory Board of School of Global Environment Sustainability and served for many years on the CSU Alumni Board. Both Berry and her husband, Joe, are lifelong Alumni Association members, as well as avid Rams fans. Although they have recently moved to Pennsylvania to be with their daughter and her family, the Warner College of Natural Resources and CSU will always be a part of the Berry family – as evidenced by a CSU flag flying proudly in front of their Pennsylvania home.

Posted October 10, 2015

Alumni Spotlight: Donald Bock, Class of 1954

Donald Bock Class of 1954 Colorado A&M School of Forestry, Forest Recreation Major
Donald Bock, forest recreation, 54’, recalled many outdoor adventures in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. Accompanied by his best friend, Al Spencer (also a CSU alum), Bock collected snakes, spiders, mice, and turtles, among other wild creatures. This early interest in nature foreshadowed his choice of higher education. After his freshman year at the University of Omaha, Bock was accepted into the Colorado A&M School of Forestry and started classes in the fall of 1950.

During the summer of 1951, Bock enjoyed participating in the Forestry Summer Camp at Pingree Park, now known as the CSU Mountain Campus. Later he joined the advanced Reserve Officers Training Corps. He especially remembers Professor J.V.K. Wagar as a mentor who instilled a conservation-based environmental ethic in the forestry students whose lives he touched.

During the summer breaks of 1952 and 1953 Don worked as a seasonal ranger at Yellowstone National Park. He was stationed at the historic Lake Ranger Station, and recalls an interesting experience when Horace Albright, the second Director of the National Park Service (and former Superintendent of Yellowstone), stormed into the station while Bock was manning the front desk. Albright was “mad as a hornet” that the ranger at Yellowstone’s south entrance failed to recognize him and asked him to pay the $3 entrance fee. Bock recognized Albright immediately, and made a point of repeating his name several times while assuring the Director that the rangers of Yellowstone did in fact know his identity. His efforts helped smooth Albright’s ruffled feathers, and the Director left Lake Ranger Station in a much calmer frame of mind.

Following seasonal employment as a ranger at Rocky Mountain National Park in the summer of 1954, Bock graduated from Colorado A&M with a degree in Forest Recreation and the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. As the only seasonal ranger at the Grand Lake entrance with a full uniform, he frequently found himself lending items of clothing to the other seasonal employees. He relates, “Almost every day when I was off shift, someone would borrow my hat, belt, or tie. At least I did not have to loan out my pants!” The living quarters at Grand Lake were primitive; Bock lived in a cabin with a dirt floor and no electricity.

In October of 1954, Bock reported for active duty and ordnance school at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. Three months later he flew to Germany for duty near Nurnberg. His assigned duties included oversight of the Ordnance Inspection Unit and roving inspection team, as well as roles as Evacuation Officer, Escort Officer, and Scoutmaster to a group of the sons of U.S. officers stationed there. During his service in Europe, Bock met Anne Huson of Seattle, who became his wife in 1956.

Bock and Huson returned to Fort Collins in January of 1957 and Bock completed two quarters of study toward a graduate degree in Forest Recreation.

In 1957, CSU forestry students were actively recruited by officials from the US Forest Service regional office in Denver, and Bock accepted a position as Recreation Forester for the Gunnison and Grand Mesa-Uncompahgre National Forests. His work involved the initiation of Operation Outdoors, the first fully-planned and funded recreation improvement program for national forests since the Civilian Conservation Corps.

In June of 1958, Bock was given the opportunity to move from Gunnison to Delta and concentrate his efforts on the Grand Mesa-Uncompahgre National Forests. During his five years as Recreation Forester for Grand Mesa – Uncompahgre, Don supervised the design and construction of recreation sites, including the first information center on Grand Mesa. He also illustrated the publication, Forest Progress Reports and led a National Forest recreation site survey.


Dr. Alonso Aguirre Wins Warner College Distinguished Alumni Award

Warner College of Natural Resources Honor Alumnus
A. Alonso Aguirre, D.V.M., M.S., Ph.D.
M.S., ’87, Fishery and Wildlife Biology
Ph.D., ’90, Fishery and Wildlife Biology
Front Royal, Virginia

Dr. Alonso Aguirre, a veterinarian by training, received his M.S. and Ph.D. in wildlife biology and protected-area management from Colorado State University. He is associate professor at the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at George Mason University, where he heads a program of collaborative research that focuses on the ecology of wildlife disease and the links to human health and conservation of biodiversity. His research has been instrumental in revealing the impact of emerging diseases of marine wildlife populations. Until recently, he served as the executive director of the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation and director of the Mason Center for Conservation Studies. Previously, he was senior vice president at EcoHealth Alliance (formerly known as Wildlife Trust) in New York, also holding appointments at the Consortium for Conservation Medicine, the Center for Environmental Research and Conservation at Columbia University, and Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.

He cofounded the emerging discipline of conservation medicine and authored both seminal books on the topic, and has published more than 160 papers.He has advised governments of several countries in the Americas, Southeast Asia, and Western Europe. Dr. Aguirre has briefed both the U.S. and Mexican congresses. His work has been the focus of extensive media coverage including Bioscience, Conservation In Practice, E-Magazine, Science News, Environmental Health Perspectives, the New York Times, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Newsweek, National Public Radio, Al Jazzera Stream TV, CBS, LTV,and other international magazines, TV and radio shows. 

Dr. Aguirre has received numerous awards including the Harry Jalanka Memorial Medal from Finland for outstanding contributions to wildlife medicine and the Conservation Award of the Year from the Mexico State Commission of Natural Parks and Wildlife for his role in conserving protected areas for monarch butterflies. Dr. Aguirre and his wife, Hannia, live in a farmhouse in Front Royal, Virginia, with their two spoiled Birman cats and 13 chickens.

Posted September 26, 2014


Alumni Spotlight: Isaac Manobla and Heinrich Flaig, '13 B.S. Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism

CSU Grads Bike to World Cup and Promote Sustainability
Isaac Manobla and Heinrich Flaig, '13 B.S. Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism
After graduating from Colorado State University, Isaac Manobla and Heinrich Flaig wanted to do something epic while serving a good cause. So, they decided to travel from San Diego, Calif. to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil in the most environmentally friendly way they knew how - by bicycle.
biking downhill“The speed of bike travel actually allows you to see, feel and smell the place you’re traveling through. This is often missed when traveling in a car or bus,” Flaig said.

Armed with Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism degrees from CSU’s Warner College of Natural Resources, the pair embarked on a 225 day journey through 12 countries with a mission of sharing knowledge and building support for a more sustainable way of life. They rode bikes for most of the way, and traveled by boat when needed and plane for one small section from Panama to Ecuador. They immersed themselves in different cultures along the way by staying with local families and helping out in the communities they visited.

Fresh out of Warner College, the pair felt their expedition was perfect timing. “To go from learning about these things at school to using them in the field was massive,” Flaig said.

Two-Way Education
During their journey, the pair taught people about sustainable living and low-impact lifestyles while also learning about the local culture themselves.
Flaig and Cisse studying a map
Manobla feels that traveling by bicycle showed both locals and tourists that a bicycle is an amazing means of transportation not only locally but internationally as well. “It’s the best way to travel because you see every little village and every little crack in the road,” Manobla said. “It’s slow but cheap and the best adrenaline rush you can find!”

The cycling duo also educated people they met about the importance of locally grown foods with the help of their pet chicken named Cisse. They noticed that some people had never seen or touched a live chicken before. By letting them hold Cisse, they were able to show people where their meat and eggs came from.

The education was reciprocated, as the pair learned from the locals as well. In addition to cultural norms and traditions, Manobla and Flaig also learned new agriculture techniques from the local permaculturist farmers. “They work with their hands and let nature guide their process,” Manobla said. “From companion planting to mulching trees for moisture to using compost made from their waste, the locals were teaching us all sorts of things.”

The Future and Their Organization

Manobla and Flaig run an organization called Sustainably South. Their bike tour to the World Cup doubled as a great adventure and a business trip. It allowed them to raise awareness for their organization and message as well as scout out locations to start up a sustainable permaculture farm where people can volunteer and work the land. 

They strive to develop a sense of community by meeting people from all over the world who share their interests—farming, conserving natural landscapes and promoting ecotourism.

The pair hopes to inspire people to rethink the way they are living and do things that are out of the ordinary, like biking 5,592 miles to 
watch an internationally recognized sporting event. “If we can ride bikes to Brazil, then you can ride your bike to wherever you want to,” Flaig said. 

Posted September 10, 2014
Written by Marissa Isgreen