Huston-Tillotson University Environmental Studies Program

Background:

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is working with Huston-Tillotson University, with the significant partnership of Texas A&M University’s Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences Extension Unit, to create an urban wildlife research program for its primarily African-American and Hispanic students to increase awareness of environmental issues relevant to communities of color and to increase funding of activities addressing those priorities. The project will also focus on increasing the diversity of the pool of emerging wildlife professionals and provide students with relevant, marketable skills and relationships that will strengthen their career potential. The partnership was initiated in August 2017 with an offer to begin the process of funding an urban carnivore project through the HT Environmental Studies program. The first research study funded through the partnership began in March 2018 and will continue through 2021.

Project:

This project aims to add significance and sustainability that makes Texas Parks and Wildlife more relevant to the diverse people and communities they serve. Huston-Tillotson University (HT) is a private, Historically Black University (HBCU) in the vibrant urban center of Austin, Texas that serves a student population of about 1,000 predominantly African American and Hispanic students, most of whom qualify as high financial need and many of whom are the first in their families to attend college.

The Environmental Studies program is a promising area of career growth with a glaring diversity gap and important implications locally and globally for communities, governments, and individuals. HT recently began the Environmental Studies course of study, guiding students through coursework in ecology, environmental law, conservation biology, descriptive writing, environmental history, environmental literature, environmental sociology, chemistry, climate science, and economics.

Community Impact:

The goals of this program are to:

  • Increase TPWD’s awareness of environmental issues relevant to a more diverse cross-section of Texas residents.
  • Promote increased diversity of emerging wildlife professionals to more closely match the demographics of Texas.
  • Provide HT students with relevant, marketable skills and relationships that will strengthen their career potential.
  • Encourage future funding of conservation priorities that are important to more diverse audiences through TPWD and other conservation organizations.

HT also connects to the local community through their award-winning student group Green is the New Black. The group engages their peers and is involved in education and outreach initiatives that link HT’s sustainability efforts to environmental groups and schools throughout Austin.

Learn more about this project

Visit the project website

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