Engaging the community in land conservation and preservation, CU Boulder professor honored with Chase Faculty Community Service Award

Volunteerism of Timothy Seastedt, Ph.D., provides learning opportunities for Colorado middle-and high-school students
By Staff

Timothy Seastedt

A University of Colorado Boulder professor’s passion for smart land management and community engagement have earned him recognition as the 2019 Chase Faculty Community Service Award winner.

Timothy Seastedt, Ph.D., is an INSTAAR (Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research) fellow and professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at CU Boulder.

The Chase Faculty Community Service Award is presented annually to a full-time CU faculty member who provides exceptional service to the community. An advisory council recommends an award-winner to CU President Bruce D. Benson, who bestows the honor, which includes a $10,000 grant sponsored by an endowment from JPMorgan Chase through the CU Foundation.

Seastedt will be formally recognized for his Chase Award during a reception on May 8 at CU Boulder.

At CU since 1991, Seastedt leads outreach activities that engage youth from Front Range communities, CU students, and stakeholders in active conservation and restoration efforts. This work enhances the resilience of the Front Range as it responds to climate change and other environmental drivers. Seastedt is a frequent partner of Wildlands Restoration Volunteers, Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks, and the U.S. Forest Service in science outreach to K-12 students in the Front Range and beyond.

A typical outreach activity in 2018 found Seastedt engaged in a program for a group of middle- and high-school students working on wildland restoration projects through Wildlands Restoration Volunteers. Seastedt and CU graduate students demonstrated the conservation and ecosystem service values of activities that mitigate threats to the sustainability of the Front Range related to environmental and climate change, and showed how restoring a landscape can benefit human well-being.

Seastedt hopes to build on that activity this spring by sponsoring youth leadership training that will enable 10 high school juniors and seniors to be crew leaders of a riparian restoration project carried out by Wildlands Restoration Volunteers. Emphasizing diversity, the project offers student leaders experiential learning, mentorship, skills and resources as they direct groups of fellow students through restoring a floodplain. If the project proceeds as planned, it will restore a section of floodplain on public lands damaged by the 2013 floods.

“It’s a great honor to be given this award. To me it is a message from my colleagues that what we’re doing is important,” Seastedt said. “Our activities with youth and environmental volunteers are something that embodies the ideas of Jane Goodall and others to ‘act local,’ but attempt to do this in a way that doesn’t rearrange deck chairs on the Titanic. The way forward is to conduct projects that mitigate past and current damages from natural and human events and generate a more resilient and sustainable future. We work one-on-one with students and stakeholders and mix science with activities that have both ecological and human well-being benefits.”

The Chase Faculty Community Service Award – established in 1991 with a $100,000 donation – is funded annually by an endowment from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation through the CU Foundation. The endowment provides an annual award of $10,000 to a full-time faculty member at the University of Colorado who has rendered exceptional service in his or her community.

“Dr. Seastedt personifies teaching excellence with a profound commitment to community service,” said Joseph Coleman, Business Banking Market Manager for Chase in Colorado. “His leadership in conservation and restoration projects, combined with his passion for teaching our youth in a stimulating matter that offers valuable educational experiences, will have a long-lasting impact in creating a sustainable, healthy future for many in Colorado. He’s a deserving recipient of the Chase Faculty Community Service Award.”