New SNRE program is bringing conservation to campus

Feb. 7, 2024

Dave Ziegler, former director of the Tahoe Regional Planning agency, brings decades of experience to the University of Arizona to kick off the Conservationist-in-Residency program

A photo of a person looking out over Lake Tahoe with mountains on the horizon

To give students a new perspective on conservation, the School of Natural Resources and the Environment is bringing in seasoned professionals from throughout the field to stay and teach on University of Arizona campus during the entirety of a semester.

The Conservationist-in-Residency program is a new program where SNRE will bring in a late-stage or retired professional in for a semester to teach a weekly seminar and connect with students outside of the classroom for networking and career development opportunities.

Katy Prudic, an assistant professor in SNRE and leading the Conservationist-in-Residency program, said it is vital to give students more opportunities than the traditional classroom offers.

“As a land-grant institution, I think it is always important we connect our students with real-lived experiences to help guide their professional development and community engagement,” Prudic said. “It is another body of knowledge they can draw from and utilize moving forward.”

For the spring 2024 semester, the Conservationist-in-Residency is Dave Ziegler, former director of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. Ziegler said he decided to participate in this program because he is passionate about setting up the next generation of conservationists by sharing his experiences.

“In the day-to-day working world, you apply the knowledge you gained in college or university,” Ziegler said. “You're also involved in budgeting, management, decision-making, legal and political matters and many other things.  It's important to get some exposure to these subjects early on.”

With decades of experience overseeing conservation programs with a focus on water resources, Ziegler will bring lessons on the challenges he faced and the solutions he implemented. While he also brings knowledge from extensive work in the EPA and Nevada legislature, the weekly seminar will focus on how he directed conservation efforts in the Tahoe region while the area was also booming in development and urbanization.

While the Conservationist-in-Residency is an SNRE-directed program, all College of Agriculture, Life and Environmental Sciences students are encouraged to work with Ziegler during the semester. He will also be giving an open seminar presentation on February 28th.

For more information, please reach out to Katy Prudic