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Transferring environmental knowledge in Colorado

From an interview with Soren Larsen, Assistant Professor, Geography

Larsen’s newest project is located just north of Canyon City, Colorado, where the ranches that dominated the area since the late 1800s have been subdivided into parcels of 35 acres or more, creating a residential rural sprawl. Working at a field school facility that overlooks the valleys, Larsen and his research team have been interviewing the residents of this area “on the fringe, where residential development interfaces with wildlife.” The interviews reveal that “these ex-urban residents actually knew very little about the dangers, the environmental limitations, and issues that they were going to face”—from wildfire, bears, and rattlesnakes to how to deal with erosion and localized rain events that turn suddenly into flooding. As such, the residents were engaged in a process of knowledge transmission in order to learn about the environment. Larsen seeks to understand how this informal transmission of environmental knowledge might impact the future landscape.