a man in blue and red plaid in the forest

Jim Barborak


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.

a man in a blue plaid in the forest

Ryan Finchum


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.

a portrait of a woman in front of mountains

Erin Hicks

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.

Jim Wurz

Jim Wurz

Founder, Associate & Instructor

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.

A man smiling with a llama

Craig MacFarland

Founder and Associate

Craig MacFarland, PhD, is a founder and affiliate of the Center for Management and Training in Protected Areas at Colorado State University (CSU). He has more than 40 years of experience working in Latin America in the areas of planning, management and training in protected areas, watershed management, strategic regional and national biodiversity planning, natural resources, and wildlife. Most of his work has included training of professionals, technicians, park rangers, and community leaders and groups; and technical cooperation around protected areas, buffer zones and communities.

a portrait of a woman in green with trees in the background

Rosa Maria Vidal

Senior Advisor

Rosa Maria Vidal is a Mexican conservationist, with more than 30 years of experience working in conservation. In 1993 she established Pronatura Sur, a conservation non-profit in Mexico, where she lead a team of 70 professionals  and was its Director until 2014.  From 2014-2016 she was the Executive Director of the Governors´Climate and Forests Fund, an initiative that led to the mobilization of funding for efforts to reduce deforestation in subnational entities in tropical countries. Her areas of expertise are institutional development, capacity building, REDD+ and climate change, protected areas management, community based conservation, forests governance, gender mainstreaming in conservation, networks and partnerships.

a burnette smiling in the forest

Dominique Ashe

Student Assistant

Dominique is a student at Colorado State University learning about communication and environmental studies. She is originally from San Francisco, California and has a lot of passion for nature and interconnecting ecosystems. She is working with CPAM to continue to learn how to communicate the importance of sustainability, and about how to manage protected areas to benefit the public, plants, and animals. She has traveled to many national parks with conservation groups and as a citizen scientist volunteer.

a portrait of a woman with black hair

Valeria Cintora

Student Assistant

Valeria is a second year student at Colorado State University and is majoring in Ecosystem Science and Sustainability with a minor in Watershed Science. She is originally from Kansas City, Kansas, but chose to move to Colorado because of her love for the outdoors. She is passionate about sustainable water and being an advocate for promoting clean water to countries that don’t have it. CPAM has helped build her communication skills and about the importance of protected areas and the work that goes into managing and promoting them. Valeria is currently working on evapotranspiration research and how it has been affected due to climate change with Dr. Ojima.