The Center for Protected Area Management’s core team of trainers for this seminar includes Jim Barborak, Ryan Finchum, Jim Wurz, and Larry Lechner, who have over 150 years of combined experience directly living and working around the world with a focus on protected area management, planning and managing public use of parks and reserves, and sustainable rural development. In addition to the Center’s staff, a variety of professionals, including protected area personnel, and other conservation and tourism practitioners serve as guest lecturers and provide valuable insights during the seminar.




Jim Barborak is Co-director of the Colorado State University Center for Protected Area Management. Previously he worked for Conservation International for 4 years as Coordinator of the Protected Areas and Corridors Unit in Mexico and Central America, and previously for 15 years as a specialist in protected areas for the Wildlife Conservation Society. He has his B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Natural Resources and studied at Ohio State University and Yale. His areas of interest include staff training, planning and management of protected areas, corridors and buffer zones, development of financial strategies, public use and institutional strengthening for parks and reserves, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, and conservation and management of wildlife.



Ryan Finchum is Co-director of the Center for Protected Area Management.  His B.S. in Environmental Science (from LSU) and an M.S. focused on Protected Area Management (from CSU).  Between 2008-2014 he led an initiative to design and launch a new master’s program in Conservation Leadership which uses a trans-disciplinary, problem-based curriculum.  Ryan’s areas of interest include public use & ecotourism, interpretation & environmental communication, protected area management, capacity development, and conservation leadership.  He has over a decade of experience as an ecotourism guide and business owner.  He has worked in over a dozen countries and has participated in the training of over 1000 conservation professionals from over 50 countries.


Affiliate of the Center for Protected Area Management and Affiliated Professor of the Natural Resources Recreation and Tourism Department of the Colorado State University, School of Natural Resources

Larry Lechner, M.Sc., is a member of the Center for Protected Area Management and an affiliated professor in the Natural Resources Recreation and Tourism Department of Colorado State University’s School of Natural Resources (CSU). He works internationally in the development and evaluation of projects, preparation of financial proposals, planning and management of protected areas, and training in situ. Larry has extensive experience in project development (World Bank, GEF) and evaluation, planning and evaluation of infrastructure projects, tourism, information management, and on-site training within marine and terrestrial protected areas. He is fluent in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.


Specialist in Protected Area Management

Jim Wurz, M.Sc. in the management of protected areas, is a co- founder and affiliate of the Center for Protected Area Management at Colorado State University (CSU) and is an instructor of a variety of courses in the Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources in the same university. He has provided and continues to provide training and technical support to numerous protected area officials, government institutions, and NGOs in the U.S., Latin America, and other parts of the world. His main areas of expertise include planning in protected areas and surrounding lands, tourism management and public use, conservation at the community level, project evaluation, and field management skills.


Center for Protected Area Management Associate

Steve is Professor Emeritus of Wildland Recreation Management in the Department of Society and Conservation of the College of Forestry and Conservation in the University of Montana. He focuses on complex issues associated with protected area planning, including the conflicts between recreation opportunities, integrated resource management, and application of frameworks to resolve competing demands. Recent publications include those focusing on reframing the notion of sustainable tourism, approaches to enhance the performance of protected area managers, frameworks for thinking about protected area management, an assessment of various visitor planning frameworks, and discussions about the relationships between tourism and protected areas. He has authored over 200 publications dealing with protected area management and provided advice and service to a number of park and protected area agencies in the U.S. and abroad including Canada, South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, Belize, Brazil, Iceland, Croatia, China, and New Zealand.



Training Coordinator

Erin Hicks has a Bachelor’s Degree in Illustration from California State University of Fullerton and a MSc degree in Conservation Leadership from Colorado State University.  She conducted her thesis in Belize, looking at perceptions of ecotourism amongst Maya communities. She is passionate about art (illustration and photography), conservation, and working with Latin American communities. Her professional interests include community based conservation, sustainable community development, and social science.