Emma Rocio Fajardo from Cohort 4 completed her final capstone project in Nicaragua where she worked with rural landowners to identify motivations and barriers to participation in conservation projects being proposed by a local nonprofit organization. Her results and experience inspired her to keep looking at the issue of participation in natural resource conservation, especially when it came to lack of representation of marginalized communities. As an immigrant to the US herself, she became particularly interested in addressing the lack of representation of under-served communities.
Emma is now the Bilingual Conservation Coordinator for Sky Island Alliance, a bi-national nonprofit organization in Tucson that works to connect wildlife pathways, discover new species, establish protected areas, restore healthy landscapes and promote public appreciation of the Madrean Sky Island region in the US and Mexico border region. She uses her facilitation skills to promote volunteerism, collaboration and stewardship of public lands in Southern Arizona, with a focus on creating opportunities for under-represented audiences to connect with existing volunteer organizations. She also utilizes her collaboration skills to work collectively with diverse stakeholders and applies the leadership and flexibility skills learned in Conservation Leadership to work in a dynamic and often-changing environment where collaboration is key in a context of trans-boundary politics.