Salazar Center joins CSU’s Office of Engagement and Extension

Salazar Center Logo

The CSU Salazar Center for North American Conservation will join CSU’s Office of Engagement and Extension on July 1, Vice President Blake Naughton announced today.

Naughton, CSU’s vice president for engagement and extension, said he is excited to bring the Center into the engagement umbrella at the university and particularly looking forward to working closely with Center Director Beth Conover.

“Beth has spent her entire career working at the intersection of environmental policy and community development,” said Naughton. “We will benefit from her experience and expertise in expanding connections to CSU’s conservation research and understanding the innovative work underway across the continent.”

Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests
The Center envisions a future where healthy, connected landscapes in North America support community wellness and equity.

Founded in 2018 with the leadership of former U.S. Secretary of Interior, U.S. Senator, and Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar and then-CSU President and CSU System Chancellor, and current now Chancellor Tony Frank, the Center envisions a future where healthy, connected landscapes in North America support community wellness and equity through the production of clean air and water alongside economic benefits; play a critical role in responding to climate change; support a rich diversity of life; and are conserved and protected across political borders on the continent.

“The Salazar Center’s mission to support and advance the health and resilience of the natural landscapes and human communities of North America is well-aligned with the Office of Engagement and Extension,” said CSU President Joyce McConnell. “They share a commitment to building partnerships that connect education, research, and community impact to address emerging issues. Vice President Naughton and Director Beth Conover are also both visionary, collaborative leaders. I’m excited for them to work together in this new relationship.”

“Joining the Office of Engagement and Extension extends our reach and relationships,” said Conover. “We look forward to finding new ways to partner for the benefit of the communities we serve.”

The Office of Engagement and Extension reaches across all of Colorado and beyond through CSU Extension, CSU Extended Campus and the Colorado Water Center. The units work in partnership with individuals, communities, organizations, policymakers and many others to co-create solutions to the diverse needs of Colorado communities.

Bisons in a field with mountains in the background

“For more than 100 years, we’ve brought CSU’s resources to communities across Colorado,” Naughton said. “We are energized to support and promote the work and outreach of the Salazar Center through our networks across the state and the continent.”

The Center will continue its connection with the School for Global Environmental Sustainability’s mission of engagement as part of addressing complex, interrelated sustainability challenges.

Learn more about the Salazar Center

The Center hosts an annual international symposium on conservation impact, which will take place this year on September 28-30 in Denver. The symposium convenes leaders from throughout the continent to explore major conservation challenges, with themes that alternate from year to year between a focus on large landscape conservation and conservation in and around urban areas. Alongside the symposium, the Center offers an annual incentive challenge. In 2019-2020, the Connectivity Challenge engaged 45 communities from throughout the continent to propose innovative ways to advance landscape connectivity.

In 2020-21, the Center is offering the Thriving Cities Challenge, and recently announced 15 finalists selected for the pitchfest in September, where as many as five teams will receive implementation awards to pursue their proposed ideas. “We’re excited to have such a strong group of finalists focused on innovative work in cities all over North America,” says Center Director Beth Conover, “and we look forward to building a community of interest focused on urban climate resilience, green space, and racial equity.”

The Center’s headquarters will ultimately be based at the new CSU Spur campus in Denver, and the Center has an Intergovernmental Agreement with the City and County of Denver to support the city’s goals on climate resilience and green infrastructure, in part through engaging CSU faculty in city-based research work.

Finally, the Center’s work also includes the development and sharing of information resources, such as webinars, case studies and reports. In early 2021, the Center published Weaving Strands Together: Case Studies in Inclusive and Equitable Landscape Conservation, in partnership with the Network for Landscape Conservation.

Learn more at